Lexington, KY - Saturday night at the Kentucky Horse Park ushered in hundreds of spectators for Hats Off Day and one of Sydney Shulman's biggest career grand prix wins. The 20-year-old and her mount Venice bested a field of 36 horse-and-rider combinations to win the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. "I've had a really good couple of weeks," Shulman said. "I won the Ox Ridge [Hunt Club] and Fairfield [County Hunt Club] grand prix two weeks ago and the week before on two of my other horses, so it's pretty cool to come here and do it on my favorite one!"
From the original starting field, only three riders successfully maneuvered the first round, Alan Wade-designed course without penalty to advance to the jump-off. The others all fell victim to faults both over the fences and on the clock - including 15 combinations who finished with at least one time fault. Three riders, including Alison Robitaille, Conor O'Regan and Ansgar Holtgers, all finished clear over the fences but faced heartbreaking time faults as they tripped the timers, keeping them from the second round.
It was only Shane Sweetnam and Easy Contact Humlan, Shulman and Venice, and Sharn Wordley and Corino who would successfully advance to the jump-off and vie for the lion shares of the prize money in front of the packed stands in Rolex Stadium. As the early pathfinders, Sweetnam and Easy Contact Humlan, owned by Sweet Oak Farm, were the first to contest the short course, and they turned in an impressive double clear effort to finish on a time of 47.238 seconds.
Shulman and Venice, owned by Jill Shulman, returned next, and from halfway through the course it was apparent that they were gunning for it. As they crossed the finish, their time flashed 44.823 seconds, nearly three full seconds ahead of Sweetnam's time to move them into the lead. From there it all came down to Wordley and his own Corino. But as a rail fell out of the cups, Wordley elected to retire, knowing that he would still finish in third, and the victory was Shulman's.
"Venice is just the best. She's so quick off the ground. She's so careful," Shulman said. "We try to do the opposite of any other horse. We jump really small in the schooling ring. We jump small classes to gear her up for a big one. She knows her job." Shulman looks forward to coming to the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows every year, and she and Venice will return to competition next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic.
"It's my favorite horse show. It's my 12th year coming here every year for three or four weeks," Shulman said. "The facility is unbelievable. The show is run so well. You have permanent stabling which is nice. You have more than six rings to ride in everyday with great footing, and I think all of my horses jump great here. I love it. There's always atmosphere."
Jumper Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday
On the first day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, it was the first horses in the ring that dominated the competition. Both Derek Braun and David Blake led their classes at the Kentucky Horse Park wire-to-wire to win the 1.40m Open Jumpers and the 7-Year-Old Jumpers, respectively.
As the first pair to go in the one round 1.40m Open Jumpers in the Rolex Stadium, Braun and MRN Family Corp's Lacarolus laid down a quick and clear round to set the early pace-to-beat at 64.028 seconds. A few of the 28 additional competitors came close, including Sharn Wordley on Ashland Stables' Popstar Lozonais and Alfonso Diaz and his own Virginia, but their times of 65.082 seconds and 65.290 seconds would only be good enough for second and third. "I went first, so I just thought I'd kind of go for it a little bit. It was fun," Braun said. "I thought it was a great first day for us. He has the Grand Prix tomorrow, so I just wanted him to look for the next jump. I didn't want him to run too fast. He was great; he was really on."
Immediately preceding the 1.40m Open Jumpers, the 7-Year-Old Jumpers had their go in the Rolex Stadium, where David Blake and Pine Hollow Farm's Dinozo demonstrated another commanding wire-to-wire victory. Blake and Dinozo went clear over the Alan Wade-designed course and advanced to the jump-phase where they turned in a second clear effort, with a quick time of 35.261 seconds.
Benjamin Meredith and Thalys Z, Jordan Gilchrist and Happyboy Van De Doornakkers, Martin Mallo and Tao and Blake and his second mount, Freeman, all also produced double clear efforts, but Blake and Dinozo's time would hold out as the best all the way through to the end. Finishing in second were Benjamin Meredith and Thalys Z, owned by The Thalys Group, on a jump-off time of 35.332 seconds, and third went to Blake and Freeman, owned by Pine Hollow Farm.
Thursday - $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Standing at 18 hands with a large stride to match his height, Daniel Bedoya's Quattro has the ability to leave strides out all over the course, and that is exactly what he did on Thursday night at the Kentucky Horse Park. Bedoya and Quattro bested 10 other contenders in the jump-off in Rolex Stadium to win the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic. A total of 42 horse-and-rider combinations competed over the first round, Alan Wade-designed course, and of them 11 advanced to the short course.
Rebecca Conway and Little Gancho, owned by Moonlite Beach, were the third to return for the jump-off, and they were the first to produce a double clear effort, setting the time to beat at 50.490 seconds. Sydney Shulman with Quidam 13 and Lorcan Gallagher with Casper were the next two to return, and, while they both had the time, they fell victim to one rail apiece.
Colin Syquia and Adventure E, owned by Eurasia Inc., came next and mimicked Conway and Little Gancho's performance with a double clear round. While Syquia rode the same strides as Conway down the lines, he shaved corners and in return also shaved time, finishing in 47.572 seconds. While Syquia cut his corners, two trips later Bedoya came in and did what none of the riders before him had attempted: leaving out strides down three of the lines.
"From number three to the combination, everybody did nine strides; I did eight," Bedoya said. "And then I was able to go inside, and from nine to the liverpool everybody did nine, and again I did eight. The next line everybody did nine; I did eight. I could have done eight again to the last line, but then I got a little a chicken. I already got lucky enough before that, so I didn't want to push it."
Leaving the stride out at the last proved unnecessary as Bedoya had already made up the time, but it was cutting it close. Bedoya and Quattro tripped the timers less than one-tenth of a second behind Syquia and Adventure E to finish on 47.514 seconds and take the victory.
Blythe Marano would return two trips after Bedoya aboard Quabelle, owned by Riverview Farm, to finish in a time of 48.844 seconds, which would hold up to be good enough for third, with Syquia taking the second-place spot.
Wilton Porter and longtime partner Patriot are no strangers to success in the Rolex Stadium the Kentucky Horse Park. On Friday, the pair again found themselves at the top of the leaderboard, besting the field of 31 to take home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers.
However, it was Shane Sweetnam and Beluga who took the early lead in the power-and-speed class, clocking a seemingly unbeatable jump-off time of 28.148 seconds. As competitor after competitor attempted the Alan Wade-designed course, Sweetnam's time remained unchallenged until Sharn Wordley stepped up to the plate on Popstar Lozonais, tripping the timers in 28.673 seconds - just half of a second behind Sweetnam's lead.
With only a handful of riders left to jump, Porter and Patriot entered the ring and delivered a flawless power round to advance to the speed portion. While the turn to the final single-to-oxer combination proved fatal for the majority of riders, Porter's effective ride kept the duo in the clear, surpassing Sweetnam with a time of 26.809 seconds.
One final challenger, Adam Prudent, came close to Porter's blazing time with Si Bella, clocking in at 28.659 seconds and falling short by 1.85 seconds to settle for third place, leaving Wordley in fourth, Sweetnam in second and Porter and Patriot with the top spot.
Patriot has been a favorite of the Porter family for years, having brought both Wilton and younger brother Lucas Porter up the ranks. "He's been an awesome Young Rider horse," Porter said. "He got a lot of results at Tryon this summer in the Under 25 classes, and he's just been so consistent throughout the years."
The summer jumper action continued on Friday with the 1.35m Open Jumpers, which saw 24 entries over the Alan Wade designed course. Third in the order of go, Hayley Iannotti and Carlos G delivered the second clear round, immediately advancing to the short course. The duo went double clear, stopping the clock at 33.461 seconds in the jump off.
Challengers Andrew Welles and Crimana also went double clear to clock the second fastest time, coming in just .23 seconds behind Iannotti with a time of 33.691 seconds. Conor O'Regan and Salome De Mars secured third place with their assertive effort, finishing just a tenth of a second behind Welles, and .33 seconds behind Iannotti.
The young rider's early effort held fast throughout the close race, securing the win for Iannotti and Carlos G. "He's just naturally a really fast horse, and he doesn't like to get rails," Iannotti said. "If I ever do get rails, it's my fault, not his. I really tried to stay on the pace, and I took a stride out down the first two lines, so that was to my advantage. He was amazing, and he jumped really well."
Sunday - $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix
Fresh off a successful week at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), rising star Brett Burlington returned to the Rolex Stadium ready to give it her all during Sunday's $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.
Out of 24 horse-and-rider combinations that attempted the Alan Wade-designed course, Burlington and Anders Wictor L were one of only three entries to advance to the jump off. Burlington was the final rider to go clear, joining previous qualifiers David Blake and Lorcan Gallagher. Blake and Pine Hollow Farm's Baron were the first to attempt the short course, clocking a time of 39.932 seconds and lowering two heights to earn the third-place spot. Gallagher and Esquina Van Klapscheut stepped up to the plate next, delivering the fastest round with a time of 39.093 seconds, but clipping an unfortunate rail on the final fence to finish with four faults and the second-place ribbon.
Hunter Highlights: Wednesday - Sunday
Veteran hunter rider Kelley Farmer is back in Kentucky preparing for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals and showcasing her winning ways atop her elite fleet of hunters to kick off day one at the 2015 Kentucky Summer Horse Show. As partial owner Larry Glefke watched from the sidelines, Farmer piloted Point Being to double blue ribbons and a third during the Second Year Green Hunters.
In the irons on Glefke's So To Speak, Farmer claimed the blue on the flat, also taking a second place ribbon over fences. Tim Goguen and Saddle Ridge LLC's Ransom were hot on her heels, finishing second and third over fences and third on the flat.
Earlier in the day, it was Goguen who claimed the top spots in the First Year Green Hunters. With Rookie, Goguen earned a blue on the flat and over fences, finishing second to himself in the third class. Goguen's other mount, Capella, took home that blue ribbon and a third in the flat class, marking a successful first day for the Lexington-based rider. During the Green Conformation Hunters, Winn Alden and her own Covert swept the field, taking home all three blue ribbons. Sarah Rice and Before Anything Else followed closely behind with two seconds and a third.
As the day came to a close with the High Performance Hunters, it was once again Farmer's name that topped the leaderboard. So To Speak's smooth rounds claimed him two out of three blue ribbons, with the talented Dalliance, owned by Avatar Real Estate LLC, taking two seconds and a third. Point Being earned a first and third, and Symbolic rounded out the lineup with two fourths.
As the second day of the professional hunter divisions began at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, Winn Alden was sitting pretty with three blue ribbons under her belt from the previous day.
Alden returned with Elizabeth Nestor's Covert, again impressing the judges and claiming both blue ribbons in the Green Conformation Hunters on Thursday. The duo earned a perfect score of 60, taking home all five blue ribbons, the division championship and earning the overall grand champion title. The reserve championship in the Green Conformation Hunters went to Sarah Rice and Emily Schwing's Before Anything Else, who added another second and third to two seconds and third earned on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Tim Goguen's dark bay duo of Rookie and Capella again traded the top spot on the leaderboard in the First Year Green Hunters. Aboard Belhaven Stables LLC's Rookie, Goguen topped the handy round, while Garland Alban's Capella nabbed the blue in the classic round. Goguen and Rookie claimed the division championship, with Capella earning the reserve.
In the Second Year Green Hunters, Kelley Farmer and Point Being took home a first and second, earning enough points for the division championship. Goguen and Ransom also took home a first and second, but settled for the reserve championship. Rounding out the day were the High Performance Hunters, with Farmer and Point Being adding a third and fourth to the previous day's results to claim the division championship. Farmer rode Dalliance to the reserve with two additional second places finishes.
For amateur rider Kristen Schnelle and her mare Calena their time at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show could not be off to a better start. On Friday, Schnelle learned that a surrogate mare was successfully carrying Calena's first foal, and on Saturday, Schnelle and Calena swept all three classes of the 3'3" Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division.
Schnelle and her husband, Jason Schnelle, a professional out of Autumn Chase Farm in Collierville, Tennessee, imported Calena, a 7-year-old Oldenburg mare, from Germany in 2012, and Kristen has had the ride in the 3'3" Amateur-Owners just since March. Now Kristen is seeing continued success in the saddle aboard Calena, including on Saturday at the Kentucky Horse Park where she earned scores of 81 and 84 to win both of the 3'3" Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter over fences classes before also claiming the top call in the under saddle class.
Fellow amateur rider Dawn Fogel is no stranger to the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park and the top competition offered by the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. Residing not far from the Horse Park in Louisville, Kentucky, Fogel is a frequent competitor and winner at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. On Saturday, she earned back-to-back victories over fences in the 3'3" Amateur Owner Over 35 Hunters aboard her own Summer Catch. The 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding has been extremely consistent with Fogel in the irons, and the pair showed that constancy again on Saturday, earning scores of 84 in both over fences classes.
Young rider Vivian Yowan proves time after time that she can do it all, whether she's riding her way to individual gold at the North American and Junior Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC), winning in the jumper ring or claiming top honors in the hunters at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.
As the Small Junior 16-17 Hunters began, Yowan and her own Ransom came ready to win, delivering two smooth rounds to boost them to the top of the pack. Scores of 89 and 88 earned the duo both blue ribbons over fences, with a fifth place finish in the under saddle rounding out their score card. Yowan's second mount in the division, Anytime, is a new ride for her. Despite being new partners, Yowan and Anytime impressed the judges, finishing second and fourth with scores of 85 and 81.
Earlier in the day, the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters were underway in the Stonelea Ring, with rider Tyler Petrie outshining the field of top hunters on her two entries, Curious George and Quite Ruffy 840.
Petrie and Quite Ruffy 840, owned by Pamela Kahn, scored an 86 to collect the blue ribbon in the first over-fences class, with second place going to Yowan and Belhaven Stables LLC's Character. Petrie and Quite Ruffy 840 followed up with another 86 to finish second in the next round. A third place finish on the flat marked a successful day for the duo. The second class went to Petrie and Curious George, who Petrie is riding in place of his owner, Lucy Loper, who is recovering from a broken back. The duo's score of 87 gave them a slight edge over Quite Ruffy 840 to take the top spot.
When it comes to winning the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, Molly Sewell and EL Raymond are two-for-two. The pair won the class last year at the Kentucky Horse Park, and they returned on Sunday to do it again this year.
At 17 years old, the Warmblood gelding is owned and regularly competed in the Adult Amateurs by Leslie Campbell and can still out jump and outshine horses half his age, as he did on Sunday. Sewell and EL Raymond went early in the order over the Joseph Carnicom-designed course to earn a score of 90 plus four high option points for a 94. That score would hold up through the entire first round as the best in the class. Sitting in second going into the handy round were Emma Kurtz and VIP Z on a score of 92, while Lilly French and Candor rounded out the top three on a score of 91.
As the top 12 returned for the handy round in reverse order of their standings, it was Addison Piper and Billy the Kid, owned by Cory Olson, who made the biggest jump up the ranks. The pair came in to round two in seventh place on a score of 84.5, but seamless round utilizing great handiness and all four of the high options would earn them a score 88 and shoot them to an overall total of 172.5. That total would end up being good enough to capture the third place award.
Heading into the top three contenders, French and Candor, owned by Redfield Farm, were the first to return. They gave a second solid performance, earning a score of 89 for a two round total of 180, which would put them ahead of Piper and Billy the Kid by 7.5 points.
Following French's impressive performance, it all came down to Kurtz and VIP Z and Sewell and EL Raymond. Kurtz returned next, but a disappointing refusal at the trot fence dropped them from second to 12th with an overall total score of 136. Sewell and EL Raymond returned next, picked up an immediate and direct canter to the first jump and went straight to another score from the judges of 94. Together the pair's dual scores of 94 would give them a 188 total and clinch their victory.
EL Raymond, whose name stands for Everybody Loves Raymond, is extremely well loved in the barn and around the horse show, where Sewell says he has quite the fan club. "He just brings us a lot of joy - the whole barn," said owner Leslie Campbell. "He's got a huge personality and all this talent. He's just a treat. He's really a gift." Campbell forewent showing EL Raymond in the Adult Amateurs this week in order to save the horse for the derby with Sewell, and Sewell will return to the derby ring on him again during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Riders competing in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies held throughout the Kentucky Horse Show series are eligible for leading rider bonuses awarded to the leading professional, junior and amateur riders and sponsored by Hallway Feeds.
While Sunday marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, hunter/jumper competition at the Kentucky Horse Park continues on Tuesday with the start of the Kentucky Summer Classic.
Learn more about the Kentucky Horse Shows online at www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.