Darragh Kenny has done it again. For the third day in a row, the talented Irish athlete made headlines at the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W, this time after clinching the victory in the $34,000 Fidelity Investments Speed Derby CSI4*. The Speed Derby victory comes amidst an unbelievable American Gold Cup winning streak for Kenny. On Thursday, he blew the competition out of the water to claim victory in the $34,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome aboard Gatsby. On Friday, the pair did it again, turning in the fastest clear jump off time to win the $100,000 Hermès American Gold Cup Qualifier. A third victory for Kenny however, would not come without a hard earned fight for the fastest finish.
Fellow Irishman, Ronan McGuigan galloped into the Speed Derby course aboard Capall Zidane with guns blazing. McGuigan successfully navigated the rolling terrain and the 14 obstacles of the Alan Wade designed course set on the grass grand prix field of Old Salem Farm, to turn in a clear ride in 79.890 seconds.
Fifteen more horse and rider combinations completed the course that wound around the Old Salem Farm grand prix field. None would come close to matching or besting McGuigan's time. But Kenny was determined to keep his phenomenal win streak alive and not even a downed rail would stop him from doing just that.
Aboard Prof De La Roque, owned by Postage Stamp Farm, LLC of Wellington, FL, Kenny flew over the course, up and down the tabletop fences and down a slight grassy embankment at an impressive clip. The speed caught up to the pair at one fence as a rail rolled out of the cups and hit the grass, but at the end, Kenny and Prof De La Roque blazed through the finish line timers in 75.850 seconds.
That time was just four-hundredths of a second fast enough to earn the victory, even with the additional four seconds added for the rail penalties, relegating McGuigan to second place. Rounding out the top three were Peter Lutz and Robin De Ponthual who finished clear in a time of 81.170 seconds.
The victory on Saturday with Prof De La Roque is not only the third major victory in the same number of days at the American Gold Cup for Kenny, it comes in the midst of what has been a year of incredible success for Kenny. Most recently, he earned back-to-back wins at the Hampton Classic Horse Show before immediately boarding a plane to France for the World Equestrian Games where he was named 12th in the world.
"It's been going amazing. I've had an incredible year" Kenny said. "To be honest, it's very little to do with me. It has to do with the horses that I have, the people that are behind me and the staff that work with me. The team behind all of me is all of them. That's what makes everything go so well."
Kenny and his team will now set their sights on the feature event of the 2014 American Gold Cup: the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*-W Grand Prix. He and Gatsby will join some of the world's top competitors on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Results - Class 102, $34,000 FIDELITY INVESTMENTS SPEED DERBY CSI
1/427/PROF DE LA ROQUE /DARRAGH KENNY /0/0/0/79.850/
2/276/CAPALL ZIDANE /RONAN MC GUIGAN /0/0/0/79.890/
3/756/ROBIN DE PONTHUAL /PETER LUTZ /0/0/0/81.170/
4/258/ZERO /JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN /0/0/0/81.210/
5/159/CYKLON 1083 /SHANE SWEETNAM /0/0/0/81.340/
6/168/ALSVID /RICHIE MOLONEY /0/0/0/83.600/
7/128/CASSINJA S /CHARLES JACOBS /0/0/0/83.720/
8/481/KM WHAT EVER RV /JEFFERY WELLES /0/0/0/85.330/
9/310/ARTEMIS /ALI WOLFF /0/0/0/85.350/
10/266/RIVIERRA /SCHUYLER RILEY /0/0/0/85.430
11/104/SOUTH STREET /GEORGINA BLOOMBERG /0/0/0/85.570/
12/264/KAID DU RY /ALISE OKEN /0/0/0/87.620/
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc.
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