Lexington, KY - August 3, 2013 - The first and second place line-up of this week's $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic bore a striking resemblance to that of last week's class. Colin Syquia and Apropos took the first place position in the derby just six days ago, and they returned to do so again today. Last week's second place finisher, Meredith Darst, was once again number two, this time aboard Capstone.
Today's hunter derby was the fourth event in the seven-part Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series, which features the $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Awards. This week's class saw 52 entries competing over the first round course designed by Bobby Murphy. Following the completion of the first course, the top 12 riders returned for the handy round. Both courses presented riders with options to take four higher fences, and riders added one point to their score for each successfully cleared high option. For the handy round, Murphy also presented riders with a trot jump and tested them with a hand gallop to the opening oxer.
Molly Sewell and Zin Zin, owned by Travis Lingenfelter of Saginaw, MI, were early to go in the opening order, and they maneuvered the course beautifully, electing to take all four high options for a total first round score of 91. Sewell's score would remain well out of reach for much of the class, until finally being bested by Shawn Casady and Sedona, owned by Susan Stanley of Delray Beach, FL. Casady and Sedona also opted to take each of the higher options, earning a score of 92.
Following the completion of the first round, Casady and Sewell were the clear front runners, while Bruce Christison and Apalachicola, owned by Heather Conder of Lugoff, SC, sat in third with a total score of 87. Syquia and Apropos, owned by Chiddingstone Farms LCC of New York, NY, were close behind in fourth place with a score of 86.5, and Darst and Capstone, owned by Norgan, Inc. of Wellington, FL, went into the second round in fifth place with a score of 86.25.
Unfortunately for all three of the first round leading riders, their handy rounds would go as smoothly. Riders returned in reverse order of their first round standings, working backward from the twelfth place rider until finishing with Casady and Sedona in the first place position. Christison and Apalachicola therefore were the first of the top three to return, but a disappointing handy round saw him drop quickly down the leader board to the eventual eleventh place position.
To the disappointment of Sewell, that trend continued as she returned with Zin Zin. Sewell and Zin Zin's second round total score of 64 moved them down the list from second to tenth with a grand total score of 155. The current Hallway Feed Series Leading Rider, Casady, was the last to return on Sedona, and as they seamlessly made tight turns and maneuvered the handy round it appeared as though they had the win all sewn up. The crowd gathered at the Stonelea Ring had already begun to applaud his gorgeous course and almost surefire win, but a devastating light bump over the final fence knocked the rail out of the cup and moved Casady and Sedona to the twelfth place spot.
The disappointing handy rounds for Christison, Sewell and Casady, combined with beautiful second rounds for Syquia and Darst shot them to the top. Syqui and Apropos handled the hand gallop, tight turns and trot fence of the handy round flawlessly, and with four points added for the high options, they earned a second round score of 92 and a winning grand total of 178.50.
"He went really nicely in the first round, but he just wasn't as inspired as he was last week," Syquia explained. "He hasn't shown as much recently, so he wasn't quite as fit, and it was hard going back-to-back weeks. So when it came down to the handy, I figured I'd just turn tighter and steer him a little bit more, and he really responded. He jumped beautifully in the second round."
Syquia continued: "It's amazing. You don't want to think that you could possibly win it two weeks in a row, but I was hoping to. He's such a good boy; I thought I'd have a chance. Hopefully we'll be back in September to try it again."
Darst and Capstone earned a second round score of 90 after jumping each fence brilliantly and flowing through the handy course. With a grand total of 176.25 they captured the second place honors.
While Casady did not see a top finish with Sedona, the talented young rider did nab both the third and fourth place positions aboard Stars Go Blue, owned by Marigot Bay Farm LLC of Dover, MA, and Vogue, owned by Georgia Saad of Lexington, KY, respectively. Casady has been extremely successful throughout the series, winning the first event aboard Stars Go Blue and placing third and fourth during each of the following events, securing his position as the current Hallway Feeds Leading Rider.
The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Awards will present a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the seven classes that make up the Series. The amateur rider and junior rider accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Kentucky National Horse Show on September 21, 2013.
Hallway Feeds' close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides the opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advances. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the Formula for Success.
For more information on Hallway Feeds please visit www.hallwayfeeds.com.
The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series would not be possible without many generous sponsors including Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Central Equipment, Alfagreen Supreme, Sweet PDZ Horse Stall Refresher, Caddel Equine Therapy Center, KER Sport Horse Nutrition, The Tack Shop of Lexington, Turf Town Properties, Trouw Nutrition and PNC Bank.
The Kentucky Summer Classic will conclude tomorrow with the Pony Hunter and Amateur-Owner Hunter Championships. Next week, the 2013 USEF Pony Finals will take center stage, followed by the Bluegrass Classic Horse Show and the 2013 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Series, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.