For Immediate Release: April 27, 2023

Virginia Horse Center Foundation

Media Contact: Lisa Davis Engel



Lexington Premiere Opening Day

The Lexington Spring Premiere kicked off the first installment of the Virginia Festival of Champions yesterday at the Virginia Horse Center under sunny skies at the beautiful Virginia Horse Center.

Jackpower wins the 3'6” Green Hunter

Tom Brennan rode the JP Group’s Jackpower to the win yesterday in the 3’6” Green Hunters besting a field of eight horse and rider teams. Brennan picked up the ride from Katie Cooper of Caves Farm.

Cooper commented, “Jackpower is owned by a syndicate and there’s lots of us; Tom [Brennan] has been part of that process. It's been about a year since his transition from jumpers to hunters and today he continued to show his ability and affinity for his new career.”

“We bought him last March as an 8-year-old. He was being competed as a jumper in Europe until we bought him. When we got him back to the US, we introduced him to the hunters here at the Lexington Premiere. We started him in the 3’3” s and moved him up to the 3’6” s. We bought him as a Derby prospect and so far, he’s done 2 international derbies and one national derby over the winter.”

“JP [Jackpower] is quite special and his journey has been a collaborative effort among owners, colleagues and supporters. He’s super sweet and with kind of a plain look to him that makes him very handsome all at once. He loves his carrots and grass but we think he’s pretty organic as he does not care for peppermints,” laughed Cooper. “He’s a very cool horse that has become even sweeter with all of the attention he gets. He has amazing power, scope, stride and has been a pleasure. We’re looking forward to great things for him,” she added.

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Malibu Ken Shines in the Hunters

Malibu Ken, owned by Kym K. Smith and ridden by Tiffany Cambria won the 3’9” Green/High Performance Hunters yesterday.

"Malibu Ken [aka Kenny] has been a great horse for us. We bought him last February for his owner Kym K. Smith to be a jumper-so a bit over a year ago. He was a little green when we got him, so we put him in the hunters as a way for him to figure it out. He really took to it and just shined. Once we realized he would probably be a hunter, we kept him in the hunters. We started out in the 3’3” s, then moved him into 3’6” and we’ve just started him in the 3’9” s and he’s doing well. The bigger the jumps, the better he jumps,” said Cambria.

“We’re hoping he’ll develop into a very nice international derby horse after he’s done doing all the Green Hunters,” she said. “He is such a great horse and Kym is a super owner and we have a very supportive team." Tiffany and her husband Guy Cambria run Code Four Show Stables out of Upperville, Virginia.

“The Lexington Premiere is a nice show to come to after Florida and the horses do really well here. I think the quality of hunters here is quite nice. We have good competition, and the classes are competitive for sure,” said Cambria.

The venue is beautiful, the stabling and rings are great and it’s just a fun place to be. It’s especially nice to have the complimentary hospitality. The food is good, and coffee is always a must!” she added.

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Brooke Kemper Off to a Winning Week

Brooke Kemper rode Mackensie Bowles’ Land Van De Oude to the win yesterday in the 1.20m Open Jumper, besting a field of eighteen horse and rider teams. 

With a second-round time allowed of 48 seconds, Kemper and Land Van De Oude had to beat Marylisa Leffler and Raf LLC’s Stardust’s clear second round time of 38.713 seconds. Sitting in the last to go position, Kemper and Land Van De Oude turned in double clear rounds with a second round time of 37.598 seconds, securing the win.

“He’s a very good horse and naturally fast and careful. He is deceptively quick. I thought Marylisa was very fast and I didn’t think I could beat her. I was honestly surprised we won,” she said.

Bowles’ Land Van De Oude is currently for sale and Kemper and Bowles alternate rides with him.

Kemper also placed third behind Leffler and Stardust with Andrew Bourns’ Renkum Overdrive. “He is also a very quick horse, but I was trying to keep him a little bit calmer today to warm him up and hopefully, we’ll see him go faster later in the week,” Kemper commented.

Kemper and Shadow Pond Group’s Be Inspired R&DZ took home a seventh place finish. They started together last fall and she commented, “We’ve been working on his rideability and earning some mileage and hopefully, we’ll see him doing bigger things in the future.”

Kemper grew up in Virginia and said, “We are having a good time here. It’s good to be back in Virginia.” Kemper is based out of Ocala in the winter and relocates to Keswick in the summer.

To complete a very good opening day, Kemper also rode Be Inspired to a blue ribbon in the 1.15m and Seaview Demonstration to a win in the 1.30m today. “It was a very good day!” added Kemper.

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Hospitality is Back!

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, everyone is invited to enjoy daily complimentary breakfast, lunch and snacks in the hospitality tent. In addition, today's hospitality includes appetizers and drinks during the $15,000 Welcome Stake. 

On Deck!

The Lexington Spring Premiere is underway and wraps up on Sunday, April 30th. Immediately following is the Lexington Spring Encore, the second installment of the Virginia Festival of Champions, May 3-7th. Entries are still being accepted and you can enter online.

The final installment of the Festival of Champions is the Lexington National August 9-13, so mark your calendars now.

Sponsorship opportunities and vendor applications are available. Vendors-reserve your space soon before they are all gone! 

The Festival of Champions benefits the Virginia Horse Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Thank you to our Festival of Champions Sponsors

About the Virginia Horse Center Foundation

The Virginia Horse Center Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides a world-class facility hosting regional, national, and international equestrian events. The Virginia Horse Center Foundation envisions a unique, bucolic landmark to honor and celebrate the timeless, special bond between mankind and the horse through safe, fair and spirited equestrian competition.

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