Lexington, KY - August 17, 2014 - He may be the smallest horse in the class, but do not let his size fool you. The just barely 16 hand stallion Ammeretto is a fierce competitor with rider David Beisel, and he makes up for what he lacks in height and galloping speed with nimble turns. It was just such a turn that clinched the top spot in Sunday's $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi. Beisel was able to beat out second place finisher Michael Dorman by taking a very tight inside turn in the jump-off that Dorman chose to forgo.
"He's a very nimble horse, and he's a very little guy," Beisel said of Ammeretto. "I think I was a little fortunate, two weeks in a row in Michigan I couldn't beat Michael [Dorman], he chased me down both times, and both courses were very long galloping courses."
Not to be out done a third time in a row, Beisel let the twisting jump off track work for him. "I was thinking maybe I could use the turns to my advantage, because he turns very well," Beisel continued. "I know when we turned after fence five [in the jump off] I stayed a good five feet inside of Michael's hoofprints back to the in and out, so I knew I was on the pace there, and then I just did the inside turn and it worked out."
Michael Dorman, Lorcan Gallagher and Jackson Brittan also posted double clear scores in the prix, though no one was able to catch Beisel's wicked fast time. Dorman went first in the jump off and chose not to do the inside turn available, leaving the door open for Beisel to take over the lead. Brittan and Gallagher were left to chase Beisel's time and track, and neither could catch him.
Beisel also competed in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Friday night, finishing up in ninth place with a much hotter horse on his hands.
"I had a horse fall on me Tuesday and smoosh my foot, so I didn't do a warm up class with [Ammeretto]," Beisel said. "So he was a little extra feisty in that prix. I was a little worried because he was so quiet on the way to the first jump today, but then he got into gear after he rubbed the first jump in the first round and he was even better than Friday."
Beisel has been developing a relationship with the 9-year-old stallion Ammeretto for six year now, bringing the horse along from his three year old stallion inspection to the grand prix level. In fact, Beisel said he first met the horse exactly six years ago, when his owner Dale Nielson purchased the stud at the Kentucky summer show before sending him to Beisel to prepare for stallion approvals.
"After the approvals he just stayed with me and did the Baby Green Hunters and developed from there," Beisel explained of Amaretto's training. "Two years ago at this show we had qualified for the international derby finals here, and I called Mr. Neilson and I said 'I know we're qualified for this hunter derby, but I think your horse really wants to do the grand prix', and he said great so we did the grand prix and jumped clear that night as a seven year old. He hasn't done hunter derbies since."
Beisel is quick to credit the horse's hunter background for his current success in the jumper ring. "I thought doing the hunters with him was a nice start in developing a nice canter and getting him comfortable going around the ring," Beisel said. "When he's quiet and going like a hunter he usually performs even better than if he's feisty.
He's more entertaining when he's spicy," Beisel continued with a laugh, "but he's just not quite as careful. He's so busy being spicy he doesn't focus on the jumps. When he's a little quiet I think he does a better job."
As a trainer Beisel rides all kinds of different horses, but there is only one Ammeretto. "He's very special to me, he's the best horse I've ever had, for sure," Beisel said of the stallion.
Finishing second to Beisel was Michael Dorman aboard the much larger chestnut gelding Zephyr. Dorman was the pathfinder in the jump off, laying down a quick and clear track but opting out of the inside turn to the second to last fence.
"My horse is a little stiff on the left turn, so I figured it might be quicker just to run around with him," Dorman said. "I think for my horse it was the right choice. He has a really big gallop and if it's an extra tight turn he has a tendency of cutting in on the left a little, so sometimes its take longer to organize the turn than just to run around."
Zephyr and Dorman have been a pair for three years now, and Dorman believes the horse is really starting to hit his stride this summer. "This is his first year being more of a seasoned grand prix horse," Dorman explained. "He's won three grand prixs this year, and he's still new at it but it's his turn to kind of step up. He's almost there."
Dorman said the horse has a lovable personality that makes him enjoyable to be around. "He's pretty easy to have a relationship with, he's like a big dog," Dorman said with a smile. "He's very sweet, he's an easy going horse and he's a pleaser, he's talented and he tries to please. He's a nice horse."
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1 JF2 TF2 AF2 Time 2
1 1158 AMMERETTO DAVID BEISEL 0 0 0 83.631 0 0 0 35.616
2 56 ZEPHYR MICHAEL DORMAN 0 0 0 84.821 0 0 0 36.646
3 763 DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE LORCAN GALLAGHER 0 0 0 86.850 0 0 0 38.152
4 1711 LITTLE GANCHO JACKSON BRITTAN 0 0 0 86.196 0 0 0 39.093
5 62 ANTARES PABLO BARRIOS 0 0 0 86.930 4 0 4 34.362
6 793 ORBETELLO CHRIS EWANOUSKI 0 0 0 85.817 4 0 4 36.103
7 1657 INDIANA 127 ANGEL KAROLYI 0 0 0 83.357 4 0 4 39.091
8 1313 FEDOR SCOTT KEACH 0 0 0 85.460 8 0 8 36.275
To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.