Ryan Genn & Dieta Save the Best for Last to Win $35K Bluegrass Grand Prix in Kentucky

The final day of the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded jumper competition in the Rolex Stadium with the $35,000 Bluegrass Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. Thirty horse-and-rider combinations tested Kelvin Bywater’s (GBR) 16-effort first-round track where eight pairs returned to challenge the abridged jump-off phase. Athletes chased a double-clear finish, but Sunday’s finale saved the best for last as Ryan Genn (USA) and Dieta stopped the timers fault-free in 38.234 seconds to clinch the grand prix victory.

Ryan Genn and Dieta. Photo by Phelps Sports

The first entry, Nicholas Dello Joio (USA), was the early pathfinder for a clear round to return as the first to contest the 8-effort jump-off round. Schuyler Riley (USA) and Kevin Babington (IRL) followed, but a double-clear finish was not seen until Juan Manuel Gallego Martinez (COL) entered aboard his own Kayack to produce a clear jump-off round in 41.904 seconds.

Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) challenged his finish, riding Southern Arches LLC’s Cassandra F to a clear time of 40.010 seconds to take over the temporary lead. Hayley Barnhill (USA) would try her hand with a fault-free finish, but fell just short of Gallagher with a time of 40.658 seconds. Genn returned as the final contender in the jump-off and flew to the quickest time of 38.234 seconds to best all three double-clear efforts and capture the win.

Genn’s grand prix lap of honor was followed by the presentation for the Leading Open Jumper Rider Award, sponsored by Envisian Products, which he earned in part with Alex Granato (USA). Both athletes tied for points to share the award after Granato rode to first place in Saturday night’s $134,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3* with Carlchen W.

Genn and Dieta concluded a successful week of competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic after finishing in second place in Friday’s $5,000 1.45m Open Jumpers.

Ryan Genn and Dieta. Photo by Phelps Sports

“She’s a really special horse to our family because she is one that we have had since she was 6 and trained her up – she was doing the 1.0m classes when we got her,” Genn shared. “We developed her to doing smaller grand prix classes and my dad [Wilhelm] won a ton of 1.40m [classes] with her, but he had an injury and because of that she developed a little bit late. Theo [Genn, my brother] started showing her eventually in the grand prix classes and he loved her too, but he went to California so I started riding her last fall. She ended up being really good for me and I just never gave her back. She’s just coming into her prime.”

Gallagher ultimately earned the second place award with the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, Cassandra F, which he just began riding in March 2019. Barnhill rounded out the top three with Ecanto J, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Barnhill and Cheska.