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Lenkart Survives Mother Nature’s Onslaught to Win $60,000 AGA Grand Prix

Parker, CO, July 19, 2003— The ominous, dark sky prior to the start of the $60,000 AGA Grand Prix of Denver presented by Dillards and Ariat gave some indication of weather to come. Horses and riders from five countries and 10 states faced not only large and technical obstacles designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Noguiera-Jorge, but had the added handicap of gusts of wind, a downpour and a light show courtesy of mother nature.

Of the thirty-six entrants, only four advanced to the jump-off. Jorge Zavala, of El Contadero, Mexico, proved that the shortened course could be jumped without error, but his time was quickly cut by more than two seconds by Enrique Gonzalez, also of Mexico.

Local favorite John McConnell, of Elizabeth, Colorado, sprinted around the course, but a miscommunication with his beautiful mare Spanish Eyes resulted in a refusal that dashed any hopes of a victory.

While lightning illuminated the sky overhead, Renee Lenkart, of Delano, Minnesota, proved once again the ladies could beat the boys. Lenkart blazed around the course and stopped the clock more than a half of a second faster than Gonzalez. Lenkart’s mount Opal is only in her first year of competing at the grand prix level, but coped with the added weather elements like a true professional.

Renee Lenkart and Opal accept the trophy for first place in the $60,000 Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Dillards and Ariat.
Photo by Horse and Ryder Photography

“She’s a winner,” Lenkart said of her nine-year-old mare. “She likes the jump-off because she likes to run. Going fast makes her braver.”

Winning was all in the family for Lenkart. Her husband Scott won the $25,000 High Prairie Grand Prix on July 5. “We’ll definitely be coming back next year,” Scott Lenkart said.

Second-placed Gonzalez was the team and individual silver medalist at the 2002 Central American Games and represented his country at the 2002 World Championship. He also finished second in last week’s $40,000 AGA Rocky Mountain Grand Prix presented by American Sport Horse Stables.

The $60,000 AGA Grand Prix of Denver presented by Dillards and Ariat is the highlight of four weeks of horse shows that offer greater than $490,000 in prize money. More than 700 horses and thousands of riders, trainers, grooms and spectators descended upon the Colorado Horse Park at High Prairie Farms.

Mexico’s Lorenza O’Farrill braves the weather in the $60,000 Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Dillards and Ariat.
Photo by Horse and Ryder Photography

For a complete schedule of upcoming events check out

Results of the $60,000 AGA Grand Prix of Denver Presented by Dillards and Ariat

Opal Renee Lenkart (Minnesota)
Guajillo Enrique Gonzalez (Mexico)
Capricho Jorge Zavala (Mexico)
Spanish Eyes John McConnell (Elizabeth, Colorado)
Maximillian Juan Jose Bancalari (Dominican Republic)
Alibi Erynn Ballard (Canada)
Castana Susan Kjaergaard (Larkspur, Colorado)
Modra Donald Cheska (Wisconsin)


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