Jessica Mendoza wins FEI Grand Prix at Kentucky Horse Park

Jessica Mendoza, aboard 'Dublin,' wins FEI Grand Prix presented by the Kentucky Invitational at the Split Rock Jumping Tour competition at the Kentucky Horse Park on 6-21-20. (Photo courtesy: Winslow Photograpy LLC)

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