Lexington, KY - May 10, 2014 - When speed is key to winning an event, it helps to be riding one of the fastest horses in the world. LaGran was the fastest horse at the 2010 World Equestrian Games with Pablo Barrios, and today he was the fastest horse in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic with Mark Bluman of Colombia. The pair outraced a starting field of 38 competitors during the speed event with a blazing clear round three seconds ahead of the closest finisher.
"LaGran is a very fast horse," smiled Bluman after his victory. "He's been fast all his life. He was the fastest horse in the WEG in 2010 with my mate Pablo. He's just fast. I went for it the whole way around, and it worked out well."
Twelve competitors bested Richard Jeffery's track, but it was Bluman who was the quickest over the course, breaking the beam at 69.989 seconds under rainy skies. Emanuel Andrade tried to catch him aboard Hollow Creek Farm's Fananka A, but their time of 72.704 seconds would only hold up for second. Pablo Barrios set the time to beat early in the class with Romeo, finishing in 73.979 seconds, which would eventually claim fourth, while Barrios' second mount Crossfire 10 slipped into third with a time of 73.775 seconds.
Andrade was pleased with his mounts efforts saying, "I think she's amazing. I got her two months ago, and I've only shown her three times. She's really a winner, and I think she's going to be a good one. She's a big, old fashioned horse with a big stride, and I thought the course was really good for her today."
The course proved to be the best for Bluman though. "LaGran is actually better on the left lead, so every left turn that we made I would go a little inside," he explained. "I have to be careful on the right because he twists a little, but to the left I really went inside."
The pair is just getting back in a rhythm after some issues toward the end of the Winter Equestrian Festival. "I had a few problems with him in Florida after the Nations Cup," admitted Bluman. "I was riding him in a way that he doesn't like. I was trying to collect him and make him round, and he doesn't like that. He just wants to go fast. He wants you to leave him alone and let him go."
Bluman took over the ride of the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding two years ago after Pablo Barrios and G & C Farm parted ways. "I started working for Gustavo [Mirabal] and got the ride on LaGran," he noted. "When Gustavo and I parted ways, he gave me the horse as a gift, and it was a very nice gift. It's a great horse with lots of experience."
The 23-year-old is continuing to further his career, aiming LaGran for the Central American Games in November. "I think WEG would be too much for him," admitted Bluman. "He was good in this class, so next week I am going to aim him toward it again. We'll stay in the 1.45m classes, and then maybe this summer move him up to the grand prix."
Bluman will be based in Kentucky throughout the summer and is excited to have the opportunity to continue to show at the Kentucky Horse Park. "The venue is amazing," he said. "It pours rain, and the footing is great. The horses love it here. This is the place to come in the summer if you are staying the States."