VICTORIA COLVIN AND FLINT CAPTURE EARLY LEAD AT PLATINUM PERFORMANCE/USHJA GREEN HUNTER INCENTIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS
More than 140 qualified horses and riders took to the famed Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park Tuesday, each aiming to lead the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship at the conclusion of the first round of competition. Course designer Patrick Rodes tested entries over a series of obstacles measuring in at either 3' or 3'3", with riders using their discretion to determine which fence height was optimal for their mount. Riding at the 3'3" height, Victoria Colvin and Flint, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC, navigated a masterful round to earn the highest score of the day and claim the lion's share of the prize money.
The 2016 Green Hunter Incentive Champion, Scott Stewart, with the ride on Fashion Farm's Playbook, set the bar high at the onset of the day with scores from the judges of 87, 88 and 88 for a cumulative tally of 263.00. Hopeful riders and their horses chased Stewart all day to no avail. Entering the final ten rides of the day, it looked like Stewart and Playbook's high score would hold, until Colvin and Flint, a 6-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding, took to the ring for their turn over Rodes' course. Colvin had ridden four horses previously, but saved the best for last, earning marks of 90, 90 and 92 from the judges panel for a total score of 272.00, an impressive 9 points ahead of Stewart and Playbook.
Colvin and the grey gelding separated themselves by a fair amount to sweep the lead, but it was a close race for the top positions behind the leading pair. Stewart and Playbook maintained the runner-up position with their score of 263.00, and Jennifer Alfano and Stardust, owned by SBS Farms Inc., sit just one point behind with marks of 262.00 in third position. Tracy Fenney and MTM Silver Alert, owned by MTM Farm, earned a score of 261.50 to claim fourth, trailed by Stewart, who rode to another top placing with a score of 260.50 aboard Rivers Edge's Harvard Hall. Colvin will return Wednesday with another mount in the running, tied for ninth place on Antinori, another John & Stephanie Ingram, LLC ride, with three other pairs with scores of 257.00.
The 2017 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships will continue through the evening of Thursday, August 17. All competitors will return to the ring Wednesday for another chance at making the top thirty on the leaderboard, as those horses and riders will return for the third and final phase of competition with a blank slate Thursday to determine the 2017 Champion. The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show will continue throughout the week, with the USHJA International Derby taking place Friday and Saturday, as well as two highlight grand prix events. The $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic will bring riders to the Rolex Stadium Friday evening, with the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix sponsored by Audi of Lexington taking place Sunday afternoon.
Photo by Barre Dukes / Phelps Sports