Lexington, Kentucky, USA May – 13, 2023 – Saturday night marked the first grand prix of the season at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. As the sun went down and jumper competition came to a head, a beautiful evening set the scene for the $145,100 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI3* in the illustrious Rolex Stadium, where 35 horse-and-rider athlete combinations faced off to claim the blue ribbon and lion’s share of the prize money. At the conclusion of the highly competitive class that saw 10 partnerships in the jump off, it was Quentin Judge (USA) aboard HH Zorro Z who grabbed the top spot on the leaderboard with a stellar double clear effort, crossing the wire just 0.52 seconds faster than the next duo in the jump off.
Grand Prix is the highest level of showjumping and the pinnacle event at any horse show competition. Run under International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) rules, the horse and riders are challenged to a course of 10 to 16 obstacles, with heights up to 1.6m (5’3”) and spreads of up to 2.0m (6’7”), depending on the level of competition. At the CSI3* level, the jumps are set to a max height of 1.45m with a total prize pot of $100,000 to $249,000.
The 35 horse and rider combinations entered in the class were challenged to an expertly laid out course by designer Guilherme Jorge (USA). Jorge forced the riders to navigate their mounts through a technical first round course in order to advance to the jump off round. The shortened jump-off track proved to be just as challenging, as only 6 of the 10 that qualified went clear.
Judge and Double H Farm’s Zangersheide gelding got off to a great start in the class, tying for the third fastest time of their fellow clear competitors at 77.990 seconds. Jorge’s course put the horses agility and endurance to the test, utilizing every inch of the expansive ring at the Rolex Stadium. No fear of the big stage, HH Zorro Z looked confident under the commands of Judge, hitting each jump in stride. Competing together since 2019, the veteran duo used their experience to their advantage to edge out the competition. Judge did not hold up in the jump off round, pushing HH Zorro Z’s limits that proved to pay off at the conclusion of the class.
Jessica Mendoza (GBR) and I-Cap CL Z put together a solid effort of their own, holding the top spot for the majority of the jump off round until Judge and HH Zorro Z entered the ring. Mendoza and her won 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding took a great pace in the first round, crossing the wire with the second fastest time in the class. The duo showed their comfortability with one another, maneuvering through the obstacles and bending lines with ease. Although the pair has only been working together since 2020, their ability to spend everyday together has proved to be an advantage for them in the show ring. Mendoza and I-Cap CL Z partrolled the grounds of the Winter Equestrian Festival, building on their partnership before heading to Kentucky this spring.
Rounding out the leaderboard was Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) and Miguel Madero’s Chacco Bumpy. Each horse and rider duo was pushed to the limits in the highly talented class, with less than a second separating the top three. Biraben and the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare laid a double clear effort, crossing the wire at 78.750 and 39.610 in the two rounds respectively. The duo added yet another podium finish to their already lengthy resume.
Final Results – $145,100 Hagyard Lexington Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Quentin Judge (USA) & HH Zorro Z – 0 / 0 – 38.760
2) Jessica Mendoza (GBR) & I-Cap CL Z – 0 / 0 –39.280
3) Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) & Chacco Bumpy – 0 / 0 – 39.610
Source: Press Release by Sydney Jones / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Shawn McMillen Photography