Anna Wilks and French Kiss Claim Charitable Win in $5,000 Kevin Babington Benefit Classic

Anna Wilks and French Kiss

Traverse City, Mich. – Sept. 11, 2021 – The penultimate day of show jumping competition at the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, presented by The Davis McCullough Foundation, brought riding for a cause to the forefront Saturday afternoon. The $5,000 1.25m Kevin Babington Benefit Classic, presented by Greenberg Traurig, brought horse-and-rider pairs to the ring for a chance at the blue ribbon in the most charitable contest of the week, with the prize money donated to Irish rider Kevin Babington’s recovery efforts following a fall during competition at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in 2019. Emerging at the top of the leaderboard was Anna Wilks (CAN) and French Kiss, owned by Bucking Amazing LLC.

Anna Wilks and French Kiss

Run under an immediate jump-off format, Anderson De Moura Lima’s 12-obstacle course set at the 1.25m heigh offered a welcoming track that utilized the entire arena. Only a total of five pairs would clear the first round in order to advance on to nine-fence jump-off. Emerging as the early pathfinders, Wilks and French Kiss were only the second pair to try their hand at the course. After clearing all of the fences, the duo advanced on to complete a fault-free jump-off in a time of 35.842 seconds. The remaining contenders in the lineup would try, but none could produce a quick enough round to unseat her lead.

Second place honors would be awarded to Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Zandora D, owned by Elise Haas. Driscoll took to the arena just one round after Wilks, finishing three-tenths of a second behind the leading time in 36.149 seconds to ultimately claim the red ribbon. One additional round later, Jennifer Waxman (USA) and Divine Andalouse, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, slipped into the top three after navigating a fault-free jump-off in 38.509 seconds to ultimately earn them the third place spot on the podium at the conclusion of the class.

Cathleen Driscoll with Zandora D

Immediately following, 29 athletes made their way through the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel archway for one final shot to clinch the championship in the $7,500 Rood & Riddle 1.35m Jumper division. After taking an early lead, Driscoll and Rice Show Stables’ Blue Diamant were eventually awarded for their fast pace and accuracy with a blue ribbon. Blue Diamant was one of only three horses Driscoll piloted over the course of the 31-round class. The pair were the first to move on to the jump off, completing it swiftly in 36.034 seconds and remaining at the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the class. Their win Saturday garnered bonus points towards the championship, ultimately paying off as the duo donned the tri-color sash to recognize their distinction as division champion.

Cathleen Driscoll and Blue Diamant

Kim Prince of Upperville, Virginia did her best to catch Driscoll’s early lead aboard Guusje. She piloted the 10-year-old mare, owned by Windmill Ranch, LLC, over a fault free jump-off, falling just seconds short of the win and stopping the timers in 38.001 seconds. Nicholas Dello Joio rounded out the top three finishers Saturday afternoon riding Amelia Reigel’s Fivanta. In the end, Irish rider Cormac Hanley was awarded the reserve champion title for his efforts aboard Quitara, owned by Barbara Smith, in the competitive division as it officially came to a close for the week.

Kim Prince with Gussje

Show jumping competition during Week II of the Traverse City Tournament of Champions and the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament will conclude Sunday, September 12, coming to a pinnacle for the $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI3* Sunday afternoon.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

On her win:
“It is just amazing and it is great that this is organized on behalf of the Babington family and it is good as well that everyone gets involved. It is a super fun class and prize giving, we all just love to help and it is such a fun class to do and a great way to raise money for the Babington Foundation. To win it with everything else just makes it all the more better.”

On French Kiss:
“She is owned by [Bucking Amazing LLC] She is like a speed pony, who can just run and gallop and jump! She is a real winner and a machine. She is so much fun.” 



On the jump-off:
“For me, where she wins is the turn backs. She does not have the biggest stride so when I get to the jump-off I just have to try and save the time in the turns because I know I can’t do the leave-out down the lines, and so it becomes all about the tight turns and speed across the ground with her.”

On Traverse City and the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament:
“It is such a beautiful show. I moved over to the states earlier this year, in May, and I have been in Traverse City quite a lot and it is beautiful. Silver Oaks has done an amazing job with all the prize givings, which makes it nice to be placed and makes it a big deal and I love being here.” 

RESULTS

$5,000 Kevin’s Benefit Classic, presented by Greenberg Traurig:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time

1. French Kiss / Anna Wilks / CAN / Bucking Amazing LLC / 0 | 74.604 / 0 | 35.842
2. Zandora D / Cathleen Driscoll / USA / Elise Haas / 0 | 76.797 / 0 | 36.149
3. Divine Andalouse / Jennifer Waxman / USA / Sweet Oak Farm / 0 | 72.416 / 0 | 38.509
4. Damzelle STE Hermelle / Lacey Gilbertson / Seabrook LLC / 0 | 77.053 / 0 | 41.973
5. Primo Troy / Andrew Welles / USA / Itasca Group LLC / 0 | 76.99 / 0 | 47.189
6. Neville / Ed Copeland / USA / John Wolff / 4 | 75.556
7. Orchid B / Taylor Flury / USA / Madison Gordon / 4 | 76.301
8. Never Ever 2 / Craig Starr / USA / Catherine Chicotka / 4 | 78.644
9. Chellasco Z / Vasco Flores / PUR / Hillside Farm LLC / 4 | 78.972
10. Arius / Victoria Herran / USA / Victisa LLC / 5 | 80.987
11. Crispy Crumble / Filippo Pignatti / ITA / Take the High Road LLC / 8 | 76.980
12. Heart On Fire / Daneli Miron / USA / Sweet Oak Farm / 12 | 87.606

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