Empty stands couldn’t keep the energy down at the Kentucky Horse Park Saturday afternoon, July 25 as the first horse trotted into the Rolex Stadium for the inaugural Grand Prix of the Kentucky Summer Series, the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. Competitors and their support teams have done an excellent job all week long following the mandatory COVID-19 procedures, which included pushing the Grand Prix to earlier in the afternoon to better suit the show-and-go atmosphere that the team at Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC has adopted to keep all participants safe. Celso Ariani (BRA) and Janari Ter Dolen didn’t mind the lack of audience, however, putting on a show for all of the viewers watching on the live stream provided by ShowNet.
Celso Ariani on Janari Ter Dolen. Photo by Meagan DeLisle/Phelps Media Group.
Course designer Bobby Murphy (USA) put together a 16 effort track for the 34 entries to contest. It was clear early on that the time allowed would not be the issue for the horse and rider combinations, but rails would scatter throughout the course as the afternoon dwindled on. Posting the first clear round early in the order of go was Aaron Vale (USA) with Donald Stewart & Sleepy P Ranch’s entry, Major. Making the chase for the prize money an international one, Sharn Wordley (NZL) was the fourth to go clear riding his co-owned entry with Abrahamson Equestrian, Barnetta.
Kyle Dewar on Clever Van de Helle. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.
The clear rounds continued to grow as the sun beamed bright on the Rolex Stadium. Ultimately 11 horse and rider pairs would move on to the seven effort jump-off. Featuring sweeping turns that allowed riders to open their horses stride, the tall verticals proved to be the most challenging of the track, causing three combinations to roll rails, keeping themselves out of the winner’s circle.
First to tackle the shortened course, Vale put forth an impressive clear effort with Major to set the pace for the field with a time of 42.55 seconds, which young rider Tanner Korotkin (USA) tried to best aboard Sandalwood Farm’s Country Boy, but the duo fell victim to the fourth fence. Third to test Vale’s leading time was Sloan Hopson (USA) and her own Dalida who pulled off a clear round, but didn’t quite put the pedal to the metal enough to shake up the leaderboard.
Shane Sweetnam on Alejandro. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.
Wordley (NZL) was the first rider to begin the first place pass off Saturday afternoon as he and Barnetta shaved off a half second from Vale’s leading time. Wordley’s victory would be short-lived, however, as Alex Matz and Cashew CR, owned by Dorothy Matz, flew through the timers nearly a second faster than his predecessor.
Determined to add a win to his resume this evening, Ariani rode Ricardo Romero & Rodrigo Padilla’s Janari Ter Dolen into the ring with one mission in mind: winning. Ariani sliced and diced throughout the entire course giving the few folks at the ring quite a fright when he nearly took a tumble from his horse on the backside of the final fence, but he regrouped with a smile and stopped the clocks at a blazing 39.07 seconds. Try as they might, the remaining five competitors couldn’t touch Ariani’s time, although they did shake up the top placings with their efforts. Finishing just behind Ariani in second was Kyle Dewar (CAN) and his own entry Clever Van de Helle, while Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Alejandro, owned by Sweet Oak, Spy Coast & Seabrook, rounded out the podium in third.
Celso Ariani and Janari Ter Dolen in their presentation ceremony. Photo by Georgie Hammond/Phelps Media Group.
Rood & Riddle are proud sponsors of the annual grand prix, as it represents their deep commitment to the Kentucky equine community and their mission to help equine athletes stay in top competitive condition.
The Rolex Stadium will resume jumper competition at 8:00am Sunday morning, June 26 with the Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Following the conclusion of competition on Sunday, jumper competition will resume on Tuesday, July 28 during the Kentucky Summer Classic.
Full Class Results – $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Janari Ter Dolen / Celso Ariani / BRA / Ricardo Romero & Rodrigo Padilla / 0 | 76.24 / 0 | 39.07
2. Clever Van de Helle / Kyle Dewar / CAN / Kyle Dewar / 0 | 75.353 / 0 | 39.39
3. Alejandro / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Sweet Oak, Spy Coast & Seabrook / 0 | 75.76 / 0 | 39.48
4. Prescott / Aaron Vale / USA / Thinks Like A Horse / 0 | 78.97 / 0 | 40.05
5. Cashew CR / Alex Matz / USA / Dorothy Matz / 0 | 76.39 / 0 | 41.13
6. Barnetta / Sharn Wordley / NZL / Abrahamson Equestrian LLC and Sharn Wordley / 0 | 78.76 / 0 | 42.03
7. Major / Aaron Vale / USA / Donald Stewart & Sleepy P Ranch / 0 | 78.51 / 0 | 42. 55
8. Dalida / Sloan Hopson / USA / Sloan Hopson / 0 | 83.00 / 0 | 47.03
9. Country Boy / Tanner Korotkin / USA / Sandalwood Farm / 0 | 77.71 / 4 | 42.97
10. Shiver / Liza Finsness / USA / Liza Finsness / 0 | 77.82 / 4 | 44.62
11. Lord Up / Spencer Smith / USA / Ransome Rombauer / 0 | 77.76 / 4 | 46.65
12. Hunters Conlypso II / Shane Sweetnam / Dacantos Group / 4| 74.46