Lexington, Ky. – Aug. 5, 2018 – The final day of competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic concluded Sunday with the presentation of the Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Champion, generously sponsored by Visse Wedell. Nearly sweeping the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 36 and Over Hunter division by winning four of their five classes, Daryl Portela and Argentus captured the division championship before ultimately riding to the grand title overall.
Coming off an injury and over a year and a half of time off, Argentus first returned to the show ring with Portela’s trainer, Jimmy Torano, for the fifth week of Tryon Spring, where the 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding rode to the USHJA 2’9” Hunter championship. Argentus continued his return in top form and went on to claim the Performance 3’3” Hunter championship with Torano during Tryon Spring Week VI, as well as at the Lake Placid Horse Show. In his second show back with Portela, Argentus captured yet another championship title as the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 35 and Over Hunter reserve champion at the I Love New York Horse Show in Lake Placid, New York.
Argentus always proved a reliable mount for Portela as the pair rode to countless blue ribbons and division championships before the gelding’s break from competition at the end of 2016. At the pair’s final shows of 2016, they navigated their way to the reserve champion award in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 36 and Over Hunter division at both the Washington International Horse Show in October and the CP National Horse Show in November.
During the Kentucky Summer Classic, Argentus and Portela claimed four wins out of the five classes in the Amateur Owner 3’3” 36 and Over, winning two over fences, the handy round and the under saddle. The pair finished in second place in Saturday’s over fences, only once bested by Portela’s other mount, Exclusive. Next, the pair hopes to continue their success at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, beginning Aug. 14 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The Kentucky Horse Shows Grand Hunter Champion Awards are presented by Visse Wedell with champions awarded in the Professional, Amateur-Owner, Junior, Pony, Adult Amateur and Children’s Divisions.
Competition will return to the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday, Aug. 7, for the 2018 USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, and will run through Sunday, Aug. 12. The following week will host the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show from Aug. 14 through 19, where hunter competition will be highlighted with the USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship and the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, where the final rounds will take place on Thursday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 18 respectively.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Alex Vespico – Manager of JET Show Stable with trainer Jimmy Torano
“I have worked with him for the last three and half years, and I ride him when Daryl isn’t around. I also get him ready on show days. I work with a lot of nice horses but he is probably my favorite horse that I have ever worked with. He is a big puppy dog – in the barn, at the ring. He is really sweet.”
On Argentus’ return:
“Daryl showed him two years ago in the 3’3” amateurs. After the National Horse Show he was injured and took almost a year and a half off. This is actually only his second show back after all that time off. We did Lake Placid and then we came here. I am just happy that Daryl has this horse back. She had another horse that is bigger but a bit green, and Jimmy has taken over the ride on him for Derby Finals, so it’s nice that she has Argentus back and they can continue to be successful together.”
On future plans for Argentus:
“We will stay in Kentucky through the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show and then go to the Hamptons. Since he started showing again so late in the summer, he probably won’t make it [for points] into indoors.”