August 20, 2012 – It was a night that will be well remembered, and a win well deserved. The Rolex Stadium was packed at the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday night as the Handy Round brought the 2012 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals to a close during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. One of the industry’s most successful hunter professionals, Jennifer Alfano, led the victory gallop aboard her renowned mount Jersey Boy. Elizabeth Boyd and Brunello rode to the second place honors, while Scott Stewart and Garfield took the third place award.
Scott Stewart was the twenty-second in the order to take on the course; however, his finesse with Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown, made the pair truly shine. He posted scores of 88, 90 and 95 with all four high options and top handy points of 8, 10 and 8. It seemed as though no one would beat his high-scoring round, but with eight more to compete, the onlookers watched with anticipation.
Stewart’s score stood unyielding as each pair put out their best, but fell shy of the top tier. It wasn’t until Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms, Inc., took their turn at the course that the possibility of defeat seemed plausible.
The chestnut gelding strode into the Rolex Stadium and seemed to brighten beneath the lights. Although Alfano chose to avoid a risky turn to the first or third fences, she kept a pace that outshone all those prior. Jersey Boy is well known for his handiness, having competed with Alfano in the irons for the last three years, and earning prestigious titles including the 2012 Horse of the Year.
“Finally!” Alfano exclaimed as she exited the ring from her victory gallop. “I really am so happy to win because I have done it all four times and I feel like Jersey Boy really deserved to win this class. He was awesome, right from the minute I started schooling-tonight he just felt perfect. He was really loose and galloping, and sometimes he can be a little snarky in the schooling area, but tonight he was perfect; he was ready.”
The scores were tabulated, and Alfano took the lead from Stewart with scores of 92, 91 and 88.5 with a 9, 9 and 8 for their handiness. They also were recognized for their high options, choosing to take on all four of the possibilities. Their overall score of 588.25 points from their combined two-day total pushed them to the top of the leader board.
Following consecutively was Elizabeth Boyd with Brunello, owned by Janet Peterson. She piloted him to a stellar second round, falling just a hair shy of the top score by only a half-point difference. She was awarded the scores of 89, 89 and 94 from the judges, also taking additional points for her high options and a 9, 8 and 8 for their handiness.
Jumper Highlights: Wednesday – Sunday
It was the start of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park, and talented horse and rider combinations gathered at the Rolex Stadium to showcase their speed and agility in the 1.35m and 1.40m Open Jumpers. Wednesday was all about accuracy and tripping the timers with a blazing fast time. It was Shane Sweetnam and Kalle who delivered the 1.35m Open Jumper Victory, and later in the day Columbia’s Ilan Bluman rode to the top of the leaderboard in the 1.40 Open Jumpers.
The 1.40m Open Jumper class featured a one-round timed course, and gave competitors a real challenge with courses designed by Allen Rheinheimer. Kim Farlinger and Caprice Van De Brouwerhoeve laid down a competitive time to beat after clearing the course in a speedy 83.693 seconds. Although their time seemed as though it would be hard to beat, while still keeping all rails intact, Jorge Verswyvel aboard Victoria, owned by Louis Garcia of Mexico, stepped up to the plate. The pair posted a clean round more than ten seconds faster than Farlinger’s, proving that Rheinheimer’s course was built to test the strengths of horse and rider alike. Verswyvel’s time of 73.400 seconds proved good enough for the second place.
Jill Knowles and Condesa Z were the next to try to beat the newly set target time; however, their time of 82.166 seconds earned them the fourth place finish. Hector Florentino and Wauw, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms of Wellington, FL, rode to another dominating pace in only 74.836 seconds, picking up the third place prize.It was Ilan Bluman of Columbia, who showed Quatro, owned by Daniel Bluman LLC of Weston, FL, to a blazing fast time of 68.478 seconds. His time stood alone, with no other competitors coming less than 10 seconds within his time.
The morning was ablaze with fierce competition in the Rolex Stadium as the second day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show got underway at the Kentucky Horse Park. Time was the bottom line Thursday, with riders speeding to break the beam with both accuracy and an unsurpassed pace. Shane Sweetnam and Solerina exceeded expectations in the 1.40m Open Jumpers, capturing the victory with an insurmountable lead. It was Megan Moshontz-Bash and Pourkoipa Fontaine who emerged triumphant in the 1.35m Open Jumpers with a spectacular double-clear effort, and an outstanding time to beat.
The 1.35m Open Jumpers welcomed riders and their mounts to a challenging second-day course, designed by Allen Rheinheimer of the United States. Megan Moshontz-Bash and Pourkoipa Fontaine, owned by Cleveland Equestrian of Chagrin Falls, OH, were leaving nothing to chance Thursday morning as they entered the ring with the blue ribbon in mind. Shane Sweetnam had previously posted the target time of 32.301 seconds aboard Elastique, owned by Sweet Oak Farm of Wellington, FL. Moshontz-Bash had fallen into the second position during Wednesday’s division aboard Silver Spring, but Moshontz-Bash knew the speed Pourkoipa Fontaine possessed, and she laid down an impressive double-clear effort in a mere 29.738 seconds. Her name flashed at the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the class, with 28 horse and rider combinations attempting to best the pair.
Andrew Welles and XM came close to catching Bash; however, their time of 31.866 seconds proved good enough for the second place finish. Daniel Blake and Shalimar, owned by Pine Hollow Farm of Parkland, FL, rode to the third place award with a double-clear effort in 31.938 seconds. Sweetnam’s time held solid for the fourth place finish aboard Elastique, while Christoph Schroeder and Balette, owned by GK Performance Horse, LLC. of Andersonville, TN, secured the fifth place finish in 32.338 seconds.
The 1.40m Open Jumpers examined Rheinheimer’s newly set course, figuring out the best approach to deliver a dominating round. The 1.40m Open Jumpers was in the fault-converted format, with 21 entrants vying for the winning slot. It seemed as though Ilan Bluman of Columbia was going to succeed in the Open Jumpers, claiming the victory for the second consecutive day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. He entered the ring with nothing but speed and accuracy at the front of his mind as he piloted Quatro, owned by Daniel Bluman LLC of Weston, FL. Daring Rheinheimer’s course, Bluman blew through the obstacles in a seemingly easy fashion, leaving all rails in their cups as he tripped the timers in only 69.017 seconds.
Although the next three riders all posted clear efforts, Bluman’s time stood unyielding. Then Sweetnam emerged from the in gate in a flash aboard Solerina, also owned by Sweet Oak Farm. They sliced turns and moved with an unsurpassed agility, beating Bluman’s previous target time and taking the top honors in 67.038 seconds.
Jorge Verswyvel navigated his own Hold Me Now to a clear effort in 72.607 seconds, as well as the third place ribbon. Fatalis Fatum with Steven Bluman in the irons took the fourth place award in 73.580 seconds, with Verswyvel also nabbing the fifth place finish aboard Artifice L.S.
The lights were bright in the Rolex Stadium Friday night as the onlookers cheered on their favorite horse and rider combinations in a highly competitive 14-horse jump off. It was the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic that took center stage Friday, seeing a field of 50 entrants vie for the top prize and valuable series points. Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto D’Arco jumped to the fastest of only four double-clear efforts, leading the night’s victory gallop. Kaitlin Campbell was just a hair shy of Sweetnam’s time, finishing in the second place spot with Rocky W.
The short track became the true adversary Friday, with 14 riders competing over seven obstacles in an attempt to take the winning title. Rebecca Conway and Twister, owned by Blue Hill Farm, were the first to post a faultless second round. Conway had seen three other riders find fault, and took a more conservative approach as the fourth in the return order. She piloted Twister to a time of 46.529 seconds, eventually claiming the fourth place honors.
It was Rachel Udelson and VDL Wardolette who set the pace for the remainder of the contenders. Udelson rode VDL Wardolette to a brilliant round, making a fantastic turn to the vertical and galloping to a finish in 41.316 seconds. Her reign was short lived, however, as Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W followed with a faultless round in 40.235 seconds. It seemed as though Campbell would take the lead for the second consecutive event, but Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto D’Arco were prepared to give it their all for the victory.
Sweetnam moved veteran mount Amaretto D’Arco over the opening oxer at an angle, catching a speedy pace into the following vertical. Similar to that of Campbell, he sliced the turn to the Hagyard vertical and used his mount’s natural speed on the ground to his advantage. Sweetnam crossed the finish line in 39.947 seconds, only two-tenths of a second faster than Campbell to take the lead.
Udelson took the third place award for her efforts aboard VDL Wardolette, with Conway taking the fourth place. David Biesel and Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings, earned the fifth with two time faults factoring into their finish. Andrew Welles and XM, owned by Peter Welles, rode to the sixth place finish with the fastest four-fault effort in 40.596 seconds, lowering the final oxer as he tripped the timers.
It was a clear, crisp morning at the Kentucky Horse Park for the fourth day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. A select group of talented riders looked on to the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper course at the Rolex Stadium with anticipation in hopes of posting the best-marked time. Taking home the division’s blue ribbon, Megan Nusz outclassed other top riders with Vesuvius, riding to one of only two double-clear efforts. Placing the lead score until bested by Nusz was Alexandra Duval aboard Cipriani Z, who expertly navigated a faultless short course and received second place in the class.
Seventeen horse and rider combinations attempted the first round jump course; however only three pairs rode faultless and moved immediately to the challenge of the jump-off course. Meagan Nusz of The Woodlands, TX, aboard Vesuvius her second horse entry, conquered the first course with a qualifying time of 68.773. Last in the order of go, the pair again cleared the course, besting previous leader Duval and Ciprani Z’s time, tripping the short course timers at 38.077 seconds. Nusz and Vesuvius’s fierce finish earned them a first place victory in the division.
The first horse and rider team to take on the short course, Alexandra Duval of Huntington, NY, and Cipriani Z qualified with a clear first round and time of 72.906. In the jump-off, Duval piloted Cipriani Z’s strides to a competitive time of 41.966, also leaving the course free of dropped poles. Their lead was later taken, securing the pair the honor of second place.
From the tenth position in order of go, Rogelio Pellerano Heinsen of Miami, FL, and Precieuse Platiere clocked 69.304 seconds in the first round, advancing them to the jump-off round. With a swift time of 39.041, the fastest efforts up to that point, the duo found eight-faults. Heinsen and Precieuse Platiere were awarded the third place honors in the division.
It was the final day of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, and the excitement was high as the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix got underway in the Rolex Stadium. It was a bittersweet finale to the fourth week of the Kentucky Summer Series, with 41 entrants competing for the top prize. Paige Johnson and Chiron S were one of only four to move into the short course, stealing the show and riding to a double-clear effort with a blazing jump-off speed of 38.371 seconds. Although trailblazer Andrew Welles piloted Boo Van Het Kastanjehof to a clean short track, they fell a nick shy of the winning title to collect the second place award.
Each rider entered the Rolex Stadium with the hopes of securing the winning title on the final day; however, it was not until the eighteenth in the order, Andrew Welles and Boo Van Het Kastanjehof, that anyone was able to tackle the track. The only other rider to come close was Shane Sweetnam and Siri, owned by Spy Coast Farm. The pair had made it through the course with a clear effort, but a tick over the time earned them two time faults, and the eventual fifth place honors.
It was not until 11 rounds later that another rider stepped up and dominated the first round track. Paige Johnson and Chiron S, owned by Salamander Farm, maneuvered the course without fault, and promised the onlookers a jump-off round.
Following consecutively in the order was Patricia Griffith with Wieminka B. Their plan of attack was conservative, but they broke the beam with no fallen rails and within the time allowed becoming the third entry for the short course. Sweetnam returned to the ring once again, this time aboard his more recent mount, Solerina, owned by Sweet Oak Farm. He proved that although their partnership was recent, it was secure. Sweetnam navigated the course in exactly 90 seconds flat, leaving all rails in their cups, and joining the jump-off as the final of the four.
As the day’s trailblazer, Welles was at the helm of Boo Van Het Kastanjehof, taking the course first out of the four. The duo laid down an astounding round, using their turns to their advantage and staying clean and clear throughout. They crossed the timers at 39.808 seconds, seemingly a solid lead.
Johnson and Chiron S moved into the second course in a flash, using their natural fast pace to add speed. Although Johnson guided her mount with careful turns and tidy maneuvers, their speed on the ground won them the class. They were able to clear the course with no faults incurred, and break the beam in 38.371 seconds to take over the lead.
The next pair to post a competitive time was Griffith and Wieminka B. They also left all rails intact, crossing the finish line in 40.140 seconds. Sweetnam was awarded the fourth and fifth place efforts for the afternoon with Solerina and Siri, respectively. Griffith was rewarded with the third place ribbon as her solid round held its position in the standings, with Welles earning the second place finish. Hardin Towell and Nolde, owned by Jack H. Towell, finished as the fastest four-faulter from the first round in a time of 84.798 seconds.
Hunter Highlights: Wednesday-Sunday
It was a welcoming day for the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park show grounds where five divisions were set to display the top hunter horse and rider combinations. Wednesday morning started off with a variation of winners while the two divisions to emerge with double blue ribbons were Scott Stewart and Dedication for the Second Year Working Green Hunters and Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn in the High Performance Hunters.
The first division featured in the Stonelea Arena was the Green Conformation Hunters. Christopher Payne on his mount Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, took home the first and sixth place ribbons after a show of beautiful horsemanship on the course. Kelley Farmer aboard Lightning Z, owned by Lochmoore Stables of Lebanon, OH, took two third place ribbons in the over fences classes in the division.
The Second Year Green Working Hunter division was next to show as the afternoon progressed. While Havens Schatt and Valencia, along with Gary Young and Gold Coast, put up outstanding performances, it was Scott Stewart and Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm, who swept the ring with an astonishing set of rounds, bringing home two first place awards.
The Regular Conformation Hunters also saw consistent horses and determined riders. Cookie Beck and Last Call, owned by Lisa Cudahy, earned a first and second place for their notable efforts in the over fence classes. Following close behind came Hunt Tosh and Cold Harbor, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, Middleburg, VA, who scored high, taking the second and third awards.
A second sweep of the day’s classes was in the High Performance Hunter division. Hunt Tosh and mount, Rosalynn, also owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, demonstrated elegance and excellence, earning the duo the top call and awards in the two over fences rounds.
It was perfect weather at the Stonelea Arena for greeting champions into the winner’s circle Thursday at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Professional Hunters Divisions wrapped up the two-day competition with one name resounding above others. While, Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn earned an honorary moment of pinning in the High Performance Hunter division, it was Scott Stewart who brought an A-team of mounts who gave top-notch performances, all worthy of the championship tricolors in three of Thursday’s five hunter events.
The first of the elite team to make their mark was in the Green Working Hunter Conformation division, the second event to be seen in the Stonelea Arena. Scott Stewart rode Beholden, a dark brown gelding, owned by Fashion Farm of Philadelphia, PA, to a back-to-back class win in the over fences and handy class, as well as a second place in the under saddle class. The duo was awarded the championship honors, while Chris Payne and Lugano owned by Susan Moriconi of St. Louis, MO, also ranked high and took the reserve championship.
The Second Year Green Working Hunters saw a clear leader emerge as Stewart and Dedication, owned by Fashions Farm of Philadelphia, PA, swept the first day of competition. Without any reservations, Dedication, the bay gelding, again stole the show with a hat-trick performance across all classes, shutting out all competition and taking the division championship title. Valencia with Havens Schatt in the irons emerged victorious for their showmanship, receiving the reserve honors.
In the fourth division of the day, the Regular Conformation Hunters, Stewart and steed Showman, a bay gelding with a star marking his forehead, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA, worked their way to the top of the ranks. Receiving a first and fourth in the over fences classes Wednesday, the pair took first place in the over fences and handy class, to outshine Cookie Beck and Last Call’s finely tuned collaboration. Stewart and Showman stayed true to form, earning their ride to the center of the ring to be pinned with the Championship ribbon, concluding Stewart’s triumphant rein of the divisions. Beck and Last Call were presented with the reserve championship award.
The next division welcomed another foreseen champion. Hunt Tosh and Rosalynn, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker of Middleburg, VA, were entitled to their ranks after a double blue ribbon effort in Wednesday’s classes. One of the few mares competing at the professional level, Tosh displayed Rosalynn’s graceful ride through the traditional over fences, handy and under saddle classes, where they accumulated top scores and added the division’s championship to their already numerous accolades.
Also notable across divisions was Kelly Farmer riding Mythical, owned by Larry Glefke and Dr. Kenneth Garber, Keswich, VA, to the commendable championship ribbon for the First Year Green Working Hunters. Louise Serio aboard Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman and Merrylegs South of Oyster Bay, NY, also tallied high marks, taking the reserve championship award for the division.
The crème de la crème of the hunter world gathered at the Rolex Stadium for the first day of the long awaited 2012 $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. All the attention turned toward the classic hunt course that decorated the Rolex Stadium at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show. Scott Stewart rode to the top of the leader board with Dedication, laying down a stunning round and showing the necessity of fluidity, athleticism and rideability along with finesse. Elizabeth Boyd piloted Brunello to the second place finish, while Jennifer Alfano navigated the famous Jersey Boy to the third place slot.
This is the fourth year the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals have been in existence, created purely to bring show hunters to the world stage in an effort to increase spectators, media, sponsorships, and bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of show hunters. The top 81 qualifying horses were invited to showcase their talents over the demanding traditional hunter course this morning. The International Hunter Derby Finals include a 12-month qualifying period, and only the top 30 horses will continue into tomorrow night’s handy round with the hopes of garnering the championship title and lion’s share of the prize money.
Out of the original 81 entrants, only 30 will continue into the Handy Hunter Round, set to take place in the Rolex Stadium Saturday night. Veteran of the hunter sport, Scott Stewart was the 68th entrant in the order to go, but he guided the talented Dedication, owned by Fashion Farm to the impressive scores of 92, 91 and 93, as well as earning an additional four bonus points to each base score for an overall total of 285 points.
Stewart was able to best the earlier leaders of the class, edging Boyd and Brunello, owned by Janet Peterson, into the second place position. The dynamic duo had previously posted the target scores of 90, 89 and 91 with three out of the four options chosen for a score of 279 points. Boyd also qualified for tomorrow’s Handy Hunter Round with Quatrain, owned by Finally Farm, Inc. Her relationship with Brunello has been nothing short of fantastic, riding the 14-year-old Hanoverian to the top of the hunter sport with over $30,000 in prize money in this derby season.
Although the riders came and went with beautiful rounds, Stewart’s score held strong and steadfast. Boyd proved to be a worthy adversary for the qualifier, but it was Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy who left nothing to chance with their stellar round and had the audience on the edge of their seats. The 10-year-old Warmblood gelding has proven himself consistently throughout the years, earning $33,100 alone in the 2011-2012 Derby Season. Alfano guided the chestnut to a beautiful round, eventually falling a half-a-point behind Boyd for the third place finish.
Patricia Griffith piloted Sienna, owned by Lexi Maounis, to the fourth place position. They were awarded scores of 89, 88 and 92 along with three additional bonus points for a score of 278 points. Stewart also picked up the fifth place finish with Garfield, owned by Alexandra Crown. As the penultimate pair to compete, Stewart and Garfield posted a fantastic finish with three out of the four high options chosen, as well as the notable scores of 88.5, 88.5 and 88 for their consistent round.
Out of the top 30 qualifying horse and rider pairs, there were many riders that qualified multiple mounts to continue into tomorrow night’s main event. Kelley Farmer finished in the sixth, seventh and eighth place positions with Bases Loaded, Clearly and Taken, respectively. Griffith also place with her second mount, Arico. Scott Stewart will have a little comfort in having two top mounts in the top five, but the anticipation is high as the riders await the new day and the exciting opportunity to excel with their talent and handiness.
Picking up other notable honors was Kaitlin Campbell aboard October Road, owned by Emma Tchen, who took a good position moving into tomorrow’s Handy Hunter Round, as well as the Top Placing Amateur Rider in the Classic Hunter Round. Lillie Keenan and Monterrey were dually awarded with the Top Placing Junior-Owner Award for their twelfth place finish.
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.
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.
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.
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.