Argentine rider Ramiro Quintana has been partnered with Whitney for two years, but their hot streak just began this summer. After winning their first grand prix together two weeks ago in New Jersey, they traveled to the Kentucky Summer Horse Show to showcase their winning ways. In front of a packed house at the Kentucky Horse Park for Hats Off Day, the pair raced away with the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix victory against an international field.
Thirty-eight entries took their turn over Steve Stephen's technical and large track this evening, but only five managed to have a perfect round and advance to the jump-off. "I was expecting a little bit softer," admitted Quintana. "It was quite big. I thought it was a really, really big 1.50m. The triple combination was quite scopey and careful. That got a lot of people. Whitney has a lot of experience though, so she was fine, but there were a lot of big jumps."
The jump-off included the end of the triple combination, as well as multiple sharp rollbacks. The first to return was Great Britain's Gemma Paternoster with Osiris, owned by Julia Harrison-Lee. They were the pathfinders, leaving each rail intact as they stopped the clock in a tidy 40.926 seconds to set the time to beat. Venezuela's Emanuel Andrade tried to catch Paternoster's effort with Hardrock Z, owned by Hollow Creek Farm, but their attempt led to a rail in the combination for four faults and the fourth place award. Paulo Santana of Brazil was even less lucky, bringing down all of the final oxer in the combination and having to retire from the round with Taloubet, owned by Santana Stables, taking home fifth place.
Quintana was prepared to face the challenge at hand with his experienced mount Whitney, owned by St. Bride's Farm. Tight turns at the end of his round and a stride left out to the final oxer paid off when he dashed across the finish line in a speedy 38.008 seconds with all the fences up to take over the top spot. Venezuela's Juan Ortiz was the only remaining contestant with Tina De Noyelles, owned by the Synchronicity Group. He gave it his all, but one extra stride to the final fence proved costly when he stopped the timers at 38.700 seconds, just 7/10ths of a second shy of Quintana for second place.
"I was second in this same class last year, and I sold that horse because of that placing to Jenny Booth," said Ortiz. "She's become a big part of my support team and family. Thanks to her we were able to acquire this mare and develop her with the goal of going to the Pan Am Games next year."
Talking about the jump-off, Ortiz noted, "Because of my Latin blood, I tend to get too greedy. Tonight I tried to be very efficient through the beginning of the track so that I could slow it down and not take any chances at the end. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going a little wider than I should have to roll back. That's where I lost the class."
Quintana said regarding the jump-off, "My mare is naturally fast. I thought if I stayed tighter on my track and kept the natural pace that she likes to have that she was going to get ahead of Gemma. Whitney left the last jump up, which was kind of nice. I've lost a lot of classes with her at the last fence trying to chase. I stayed calm and just gave her a better ride and the jump stayed up. It worked out well."
Quintana continued, "I was nervous watching Juan because he was on it for awhile. He went a little bit wider on the rollback to the second to last fence. I think that's where he put one more stride there than I did, and I got him there."
Quintana is thrilled with Whitney's performance today. He has owned the 11-year-old mare for the last two years and has been working hard to get her in top form. "This is her second win with me at the grand prix level," he said. "She's had a lot of ribbons, a lot of good results, but not a win. Now this is her second grand prix win back-to-back which is quite exciting."
RESULTS: $50,000 Rood and Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix
1 1191 WHITNEY RAMIRO QUINTANA 0 83.818 0 38.008
2 344 TINA DE NOYELLES JUAN ORTIZ 0 83.010 0 38.700
3 872 OSIRIS GEMMA PATERNOSTER 0 80.642 0 40.926
4 1833 HARDROCK Z EMANUEL ANDRADE 0 80.355 4 41.728
5 1245 TALOUBET PAULO SANTANA 0 84.657 Withdr
6 724 VENTURO 9 SHANE SWEETNAM 1 86.592
7 1514 BULL RUN'S ETERNAL KRISTEN VANDERVEEN 4 77.414
8 19 GELEDIMAR HANNAH VON HEIDEGGER 4 79.750
9 699 DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE LORCAN GALLAGHER 4 79.758
10 1142 TWISTER SHAWN CASADY 4 80.180
11 25 WARRANT WILL SIMPSON 4 80.384
12 716 SHIVER LIZA FINSNESS 4 80.665
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc. International.
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