Jessica Mendoza wins FEI Grand Prix at Kentucky Horse Park

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Jessica Mendoza of Great Britain rode Dublin to victory Sunday in the $75,000 FEI Grand Prix Presented by the Kentucky Invitational to culminate the Split Rock Jumping Tour’s (SRJT) Lexington International CSI2*. Mendoza’s win comes two days after placing second and third in Friday’s $37,000 Restylane® 1.45m FEI Welcome class.

The Grand Prix closed a successful week for one of the first events operating under COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Strong cooperation by the event’s participants, officials and staff made for an outstanding week at the Kentucky Horse Park, according to event organizers.

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Split Rock Jumping Tour Founder and CEO Derek Braun was thrilled with everyone’s cooperation in helping the event to proceed successfully. “I want to thank and congratulate everyone for making an effort to ensure that our horse show ran in a way that was completely safe for all,” Braun said. “This was one of the first events to be held since the outbreak of the pandemic and I think we succeeded in showing that working together, our sport can run in a way that is safe for all!”

Of the field of 58 horses in the Grand Prix, 19, representing nine countries, qualified for the jump-off by riding without penalty over the 16-effort, first-round course designed by 2016 Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge.  Each of the first four who returned for the 8-jump, tiebreaker course rode clean and each went faster than the previous rider. Holding the lead after those four was 18-year-old Brian Moggre of the United States who finished clean in 36.340 seconds on Nikita Jolie.

Moggre’s lead held for six rides till Mendoza entered the ring on Dublin. She moved into the lead with another clean ride and a time of 36.240 seconds. None of the remaining entries could catch her with the closest being Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam who finished clean in 37.670 seconds on Alejandro which was good for fifth place. Moggre’s time proved good enough for second with third going to Christian Heineking who finished clean in 37.380 seconds on NKH Darco Son and fourth going to Friday’s Restylane® 1.45m FEI Welcome class winner, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Akuna Mattata who were clean in 37.600 seconds.

Continuing a Split Rock Jumping Tour tradition, $500 was awarded to Luis Fernando Larrazabal of Venezuela as winner of the Horseflight Fist Pump Award.

In addition to the Grand Prix, Sunday also featured the $5,000 Animo Youngster Bowl which was won by Shane Sweetnam on Idool and the $2,500 Human Touch 1.25m Mini Prix which was won by Jenna Vanerstrom on Tinka Lady.

*Note:  The action photo of Jessica Mendoza aboard ‘Dublin,’ is courtesy of Winslow Photography LLC

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.