Lexington, KY - August 19, 2012 - Along the fence line of the Stonelea Arena, people watched as the first competitor entered the ring for the $5,000 Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby. In the fourth week of the Kentucky Summer Series, the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show welcomed riders of all experience to a challenging course, and a chance to earn qualifying points to win the Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus.
At the end of two rounds, Kelley Farmer and Act of Valor rose to the occasion seizing the win, and the blue ribbon. Kelli Cruciotti and Promo put forth a determined effort to earn high scores and the red ribbon. Shawn Casady and Bolero rightfully claimed a score among the great, placing in the top three.
Participants definitely had their work cut out for them as they took on this week's hunter derby course. Designed by Patrick Rodes, the top 12 horse and rider combinations qualified from the first round, returned to the ring to ride the skillful handy course and compete for the chance at the top honors. The course contained four option fences where the rider could navigate their horse to the higher option and receive additional points. The short course options where presented at the first, second, sixth and ninth fences while the trot jump presented itself later.
Kelley Farmer set the pace early, earning a notable score of 91 in the first round. Judges and fans alike praised Act of Valor's finesse as Farmer guided the horse to his high score. Louise Serio and Bonaparte, owned by Annette Lauer of Sag Harbor, NY, were the only other pair to also break 90, still catching the judges eye and proving to be stiff competition. Shawn Casady and Without Question, owned by Ponies and Palms of Boca Raton, FL, and leased by Marigot Bay Farm of Dover, MA, followed close behind, receiving an 89 for their showmanship in the first round.
The short course thrived with intensity as all riders chose high options to supplement their scores. Famer and Act of Valor, owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber of Keswich, VA, put forth the best performance of the evening, proudly displaying commendable and refined style. The duo earned a second round score of 85 with the addition of the four option fences chosen. Their total of 176 points gave them the top score and $5,000 Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby top honors.
"I feel really good about everything," Farmer explained about Act of Valor's promising future. "He's really brave, real straight forward, and a great jumper. He's done two of these classes and this is the second one he has won. I think when he comes out he'll be a really good derby horse, too."
"He has only been in this country for a month now," Farmer continued. "We'll do Capital Challenge and then wait to bring him out next year in First Years. He's quiet and easy. So far every time he walks into a ring and he wants to win. He's a simple sweetheart. He wants to play, wants treats, and is a people pleaser."
Kelli Cruciotti and Promo, owned by Nicole Lyvere of Lakewood, CO, excelled in their overall performance, scoring a 175.50. Coming in just half a point behind Farmer and Act of Valor. The pair completed showing the first course with a score of 85.50. The handy round brought on new opportunity. Cruciotti and Promo obtained all four bonus points equaling a round high score of 90 and placed them second in the final rankings.
"I really liked all of the courses, they gave you a lot of great options," Cruciotti happily divulged. "You could either go out or be really neat and tidy. I am on a great horse, and I think his style is what really gave us an edge. The weather is gorgeous and the facility is amazing. I would show here all summer, I love it. This was our first time showing in Kentucky and doing the Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby, but it was definitely a great way to end the week."
Landing in the third place spot, Shawn Casady stepped up with Bolero. Taking an 88 in the first round, a point under his other horse Without Question, Shawn Casady and Bolero, owned by Marigot Bay Farm LLC, laid down a honed handy score of 87. The team set to gain the four optional points, succeeding and equaling an overall score of 175 to take the third place among the top ranked.
Casady now takes the lead in the Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Series with 1050 points, 75 points over professional rider Louise Serio, who previously held the position at the top of the leaderboard since the derby's premiere in the spring. Both riders will have the opportunity to compete against other professional riders, amateurs and juniors for the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonus.
Rider Molly Sewell of Florida, guided Larkspur to the fourth place award with a score of 173 points, and was followed closely by Shawn Casady of Memphis, TN, aboard Without Question, who posted a score of 171 points. It was Kelly Arani who picked up the sixth place award riding Stars Go Blue, owned by Marigot Farm LLC, to the overall score of 165 points.
This was the fifth of six National Hunter Derbies sponsored by Hallway Feeds, and the anticipation is rising as the riders prepare for the final week of competition. The competitors can look forward to the one more chance to participate, where they can aspire to climb the ranks and claim the Leading Rider Bonus.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.KentuckyHorseShows.com.
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA NATIONAL HUNTER DERBY
ORD # Horse Name Rider Name Score Score 2 Total Score
1 297 ACT OF VALOR KELLEY FARMER 91.000 85.000 176.000%
2 123 PROMO KELLI CRUCIOTTI 85.500 90.000 175.500%
3 988 BOLERO SHAWN CASADY 88.000 87.000 175.000%
4 1335 LARKSPUR MOLLY SEWELL 86.000 87.000 173.000%
5 990 WITHOUT QUESTION SHAWN CASADY 89.000 82.000 171.000%
6 989 STARS GO BLUE KELLY ARANI 85.000 80.000 165.000%
7 413 CELEBRATE KATIE LAMBERT BOONE 83.000 81.000 164.000%
8 619 BONAPARTE LOUISE SERIO 90.000 69.000 159.000%
9 306 SO LUCKY STEVE HEINECKE 86.000 72.000 158.000%
10 525 HUDSON BAY SUSAN L. PELLETIER 86.500 69.000 155.500%
11 408 SHADE KATIE LAMBERT BOONE 84.000 62.000 146.000%
12 429 TO THE NINES LOUISE SERIO 84.500 44.000 128.500%
Photo Credit: Kelley Farmer and Act of Valor won the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show of Kentucky Summer Series. Photo By: Ashley N. Williams/PMG