Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito are Best in $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge at WEF

Jan 11, 2019 - 6:43 PM

For Immediate Release

Summer Grace and Emily Riden for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.


Wellington, FL— January 11, 2019 — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and his mount, Billy Dorito, bested a field of 68 entries to win the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge by a margin of more than three seconds on Friday, January 11, during the first week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

WEF continues with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition through March 31, 2019. The first week of competition at WEF is sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center and features the crowd favorite $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center, during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 12 at 7 p.m. in the International Arena.


Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito by Sportfot_387_8648


In Friday’s featured $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge, Kenny and Billy Dorito were the seventh entry to contest the Eric Hasbrouck-designed track, stopping the clock in a quick and clear 71.221 seconds. While 21 entries would jump clear throughout the class, none would catch the early time to beat set by Kenny and the nine-year-old bay Anglo European Studbook gelding (Billy Mexico x Vechta) owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC.

Coming the closest and ultimately taking second with a time of 74.482 seconds were James Chawke – also of Ireland – and Valentino D’Elte, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Vanessa Mannix. Proving to be quick across the board, Kenny also finished in third with a time of 74.691 seconds aboard Kavalli di Magico, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Clear Ride LLC.


Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito by Sportfot_387_8181


“I actually didn’t think I was going to be that fast!” said Kenny of his round with Billy Dorito. “He’s just a very quick horse. He’s very careful, so you can keep him going at the jumps very fast. The course suited very well to him. Eric does a great job with the courses here; he’s done a great job all week. I just started in a quick rhythm and then kept going, and the horse jumped super.”

Kenny has had the ride on Billy Dorito since the gelding was seven and has been bringing the horse along for young amateur competitor Teddy Vlock.

“I’ll probably ride him for another year, and then Teddy will ride him himself,” said Kenny of the gelding that he hopes to aim at 1.45m and 1.50m classes throughout the 12-week WEF circuit. “I think it’s a really talented horse. He’s really scopey, really careful, and really competitive. I think he should just get better and better as the circuit goes on.”

With an initial 2019 WEF victory under his belt, Kenny is looking forward to continuing a strong season – and to being in Wellington for the duration.

“I’m happy to be here in one place for a long period of time,” concluded Kenny. “I have a house here; we have a farm here, so it’s very nice. It’s easy to be here in one place. All of my clients are here; all of the sales horses are here, so we’re busy with that. WEF does a good job. The big jumping is very good as well as the management and everything else, so it’s enjoyable to be here.”


Final Results: $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge

1 BILLY DORITO: 2010 Anglo European Studbook gelding by Billy Mexico x Vechta DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Vlock Show Stables LLC: 0/71.221

2 VALENTINO D’ELTE: 2009 Selle Français gelding by Castronom Z de Hus x Windsor JAMES CHAWKE (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/74.482

3 KAVALLI DI MAGICO: 2010 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Emerald Van ’T Ruytershof x Flamenco de Semilly

DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Clear Ride LLC: 0/74.691

4 WALNUT: 2010 Colombian Sport Horse mare by Costello x Potomac

JUAN PABLO BETANCOURT (COL), Juan Pablo Betancourt: 0/74.765

5 ALETTA: 2005 KWPN mare by Sydney x Guidam

MARIA BRUGAL (DOM), Maria Brugal: 0/74.839

6 CALUMPI: 2005 Holsteiner gelding by Casado x Lacantus

ALBERTO MICHAN (ISR), Sara McCloskey: 0/75.321

7 TYROL D’ANTO: 2007 Selle Français gelding by L’Arc de Triomphe x Alligator Fontaine

ALEXA LOWE (USA), Tyrol Group: 0/75.508

8 HH VENICE BEACH: 2009 Hanoverian mare by Voltaire x Escudo I

ALI WOLFF (USA), Double H Farm: 0/76.085

9 INNOVATION: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Skippy II x Lauriston

PAIGE JOHNSON (USA), Salamander Farm: 0/76.209

10 CHABLISE: 2010 gelding

BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Cristobal Collado: 0/76.905

11 FAIR PLAY: 2010 KWPN gelding by Gaillard de la Pomme

AIDEN KILLEEN (IRL), Andrea Vogel: 0/77.899

12 UN SOIR DE SION: 2008 Selle Français gelding by Calvaro x Leprince de Thurin REBECCA CONWAY (USA), Blue Hill Farm LLC: 0/78.119


Laurie Stevens and Santiago Return to WEF to Win the Adult Amateur Hunter Older Grand Champion

After a year-long hiatus from the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Laurie Stevens and her own Santiago returned ready to win. The pair performed consistently throughout the division with two firsts, a second, a third, and fifth to capture the grand championship title during Week 1 of the Winter Equestrian Festival.


09/01/2019 ; Wellington FL ; Winter Equestrian Festival - Week 1


“Two years ago, I was reserve champion for the entire circuit, but then I had an accident in July of 2017 that forced me to take the entire last year off,” Stevens said. “So, I haven’t even been in this ring in two years.”

The pair made their first debut back into the Adult Amateur division in July and have been working hard to be ready for the winter season since.

Stevens and the coming 12-year-old Bavarian gelding (San Romantiko x La Crima) have been partners ever since she purchased him from trainer Lainie Wimberly when he was imported as a young dressage horse.

“The second I saw him I said, ‘I want that horse,’” she recalled. “It took me eight months, but I finally managed to convince her to sell him to me.”


09/01/2019 ; Wellington FL ; Winter Equestrian Festival - Week 1


Stevens plans to continue to compete in the Adult Amateur Hunter Older division and has high hopes for the rest of the circuit.

“He’s just so beautiful, and if you see him in a crowd of horses he always has his ears forward. From the dressage breeding he’s an amazing mover, so it’s easy to pick him out of a crowd,” she said of Santiago.

Wellington, FL, resident Margaret O’Meara and Woodland Way, Inc.’s 11-year-old gelding, Just Nick, tallied a first, two seconds, and a fourth over fences to procure the reserve champion title behind Stevens.

Week 1 of the Winter Equestrian Festival will continue Saturday with competition heating up in both the hunter and jumper rings. The E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring will highlight the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” division; the International Ring will feature the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.45m Classic and the much-anticipated $75,000 Battle of the Sexes presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center. For a full list of results, please visit


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