Halifax, MA - August 14, 2013 - It was only three short weeks ago that Penny Brennan was released from the hospital for a severe case of pneumonia, but no one would have known as she raced Japan to the top of the leader board during the $7,500 South Shore Equine Welcome Stake. Brennan and Japan posted the blazing time of 38.170 seconds, riding to the victory in the first day of the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I at the Fieldstone Show Park in Halifax, MA. Mattias Tromp rode to the second place finish, while his brother David Tromp rode Zidane Z to the third place.
Philip J. De Vita of Apopka, FL, created a welcoming course for the first day of the two-week competition. He utilized 11 obstacles to challenge horse and rider alike including bending lines, a vertical-oxer double combination, vertical-vertical double combination, oxer-vertical double combination, standalone oxers and a liverpool. Only five horse and rider combinations were able to master the first round track, with Brennan aboard three of them.
"I thought the course was very inviting," Brennan said. "There were a lot of spots where you were really able to run, and it had enough options that whether the horse was short or long-strided, there were places to make it count. For a welcome stake, I thought it was very welcoming."
Brennan was the first to clear the course with Greater Good and, although he is a more recent mount for her, they easily found the first spot into the jump-off. She continued her success while piloting Japan and Sun Tzu to two clear rounds.
Mattias Tromp duplicated Brennan's efforts aboard Casey, owned by Bayaert Farm, Inc. of North Salem, NY. He returned to the jump-off as the first in the order. Tromp picked up a quick pace, leaving out a stride in the opening oxer-vertical line, and made a quick turn to the third obstacle, a single vertical. He then completed the bending line, taking the Antarès oxer, and made a hard left rollback over the next obstacle, and toward the oxer-vertical in-and-out. It came down to seconds as Tromp landed and headed toward the final oxer, breaking the beam in 41.642 seconds without faults.
"I started showing him during Ocala, and we have been working on consistency," Tromp stated. "I thought the course was great, and the field rode really well. It was a great opening class for the week, and gave good confidence for all of the horses."
Mattias' brother, David Tromp, rode Zidane Z to the third place finish in a time of 42 seconds. He was able to post one of only three double-clear efforts of the class.
Brennan returned to the Grand Prix field aboard Greater Good, and although she sped around the all-grass field to the time of 41.396 seconds, she had an unlucky rail at the fourth obstacle on course. She guided Sun Tzu to a similar effort, opting for accuracy over speed. It seemed as though her plan would work, until she had a rail at the fifth effort of the jump-off. She finished in the eventual fourth place position with four faults and the time of 43.341 seconds.
It appeared as though Tromp would take the win; however, Brennan came back with a vengeance. She had her eye on the prize as she navigated Japan through the shortened track. They tackled the track with ease, with Japan's legs never once touching a rail. The jump-off offered numerous options, but, surprisingly enough, Brennan chose to ride the numbers through the first line. It was her slice to the third obstacle that shaved off the seconds, and she kept her speed throughout, especially during the tight left rollback to the vertical. Japan took the in-and-out without hesitation, and Brennan galloped him to the final oxer. They tripped the timers in a blazing 38.170 seconds.
"He felt amazing out there," Brennan exclaimed. "He always does. He jumps like a cat, and he was on out there today. I knew that I wanted to ride him fast, but I didn't want to go too hard. When he goes fast, he goes smoking fast. I wanted to save him and just go at a nice medium pace."
Brennan continued, "He is the only horse, probably in this world, that is not and never will be for sale. He is my best friend-my star-you don't sell your best friend. This horse makes me so happy. Every day I wake up smiling, and he is the reason."
Brennan picked up the fourth place with Greater Good, while also collecting the fifth place with Sun Tzu. Judy Torres and Quattro Queen, owned by Juan Torres of Wellington, FL, rounded out the top six. Brennan concluded, "Japan loves Fieldstone, and so do I. I go where he wants to go, and we couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now."
The Fieldstone Summer Showcase will continue tomorrow, where riders will gear up for the $7,500 EquiFit Open Speed Derby. All eyes will be on the Grand Prix Field this Saturday, Aug.17, for the $50,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix, presented by Gallo Dark Horse Wine, Samuel Adams and Ocean Spray. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the Fieldstone Summer Showcase,please visit www.showfieldstone.com . You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fieldstone.equestrian.