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Sweetnam Wins Second Saturday Grand Prix in the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix

By on August 7, 2016

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt.

Molly Sewell Dominates $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA Hunter Derby

Lexington, KY – Aug. 6, 2016 – After winning the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix last Saturday, Shane Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt returned one week later to pick up another victory under the lights, this time in the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by GGT Footings.

Forty-seven horse-and-rider combinations attempted Marina Azevedo’s first-round track, with only four eventually advancing to the short course.

Mirroring Thursday’s grand prix, Sweetnam and Cobolt were again the first to go clear, and subsequently the first to return for the jump-off. Their jump-off time of 39.991 seconds would stand for the lead as the remaining three challengers fell short of taking over the top spot.

“Cobolt was brilliant,” Sweetnam said. “It was a difficult course; the designer did a really great job, as she did all week. For the jump-off I knew I had to go quick. The other day I went very quick, but I did get caught. I thought if I did a special turn from fence two to three that I could be the winner of the class. He did that no problem, but we landed and we slipped, which cost a few seconds to get organized. We still could have been beat, but the way it went, my lead stood.”

Sweetnam said he got the ride on Cobolt in January, and said he has been very happy with the horse’s progress. The pair has most recently finished in the top three during all four grand prixs during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show series.

“This summer Cobolt has been getting better and better,” Sweetnam said. “He is very competitive. He really loves his job, but he still has things to learn. We will see what he does when we go to the Hamptons and indoors, but he is really making a lot of progress.”

Finishing in both second and third place was Mavis Spencer on her own Cornetiero and Neil Jones Equestrian Inc.’s Disco Lady, respectively. Spencer returned with Disco Lady first, and an unfortunate refusal and rail down would leave the duo on an 8-fault finish in a time of 61.587 seconds.

“Disco Lady is only 8 years old,” Spencer said. “She jumped Thursday and that was her second night class, and this is her third one, so I’m really happy with her. On Thursday, we had a skinny down. There was a shadow that she looked down at, and I think she got a bit green, to be honest. She is so smart and she never makes the same mistake twice, so in the first round she just knew exactly where the poles were at and she jumped incredibly.”

With Cornetiero, Spencer outpaced Sweetnam with her time of 39.161 seconds, but an unlucky rail dropped at the penultimate fence to earn the duo the second-place spot.

“They are very different types of horses,” Spencer said. “Cornetiero has all the scope, and he’s super brave. He’s a little bit scrappy; he gets the job done. I only started riding Disco last week, and this was my fifth class with her. I rode Coronet last summer until the fall, and this was also my 5th class with him. He is my go-to horse at this level. But, overall, I was really happy with them both.”

Spencer said that just a few hours before the grand prix, a Facebook Timeline Memory reminded her that two years ago she was in Poland grooming for Neil Jones’ horses at a 3* event.

“To see the difference from two years ago to now is incredible,” Spencer said. “Just the fact that I rode three horses in this class is incredible for me. To be second and third, I would never have imagined that this afternoon. It’s an amazing feeling, and I really have a lot to thank Neil Jones for; it is a super support system to have for me.”

The final pair to compete in the jump-off, Juan Andres Rodriguez and his own Bugatti, collected a total of 4 faults and a time of 55.45 seconds to finish in fourth place.

Picking up only 1 time fault in the first round, Max Amaya and Meridian Partners LLC’s Bueno took home the fifth-place ribbon, while the fastest of the 4-fault rounds, Celso Ariani and Ricardo Romero’s Reus De La Nutria rounded out the top six.

Molly Sewell Dominates $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA Hunter Derby

Molly Sewell, a professional based in Orlando, Florida with Bill Schaub, was neck and neck with her two talented mounts, Acado and El Raymond, in the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Less than two points separated the horses, but the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Acado came out on top with an overall score of 181.250.

Molly Sewell and Acado

Molly Sewell and Acado

His owner, Sydney Porter, is competing in her last junior year and earlier this week she was reserve champion in the Junior Hunter 3’3″ division with Acado at the Kentucky Summer Classic Horse Show. Sewell started riding the horse over a month ago, and is helping to prepare Acado to be Porter’s future amateur horse by giving him experience in the derbies.

“He is a lovely horse,” Sewell said. “He’s a pre-green horse, so it’s even better that he can go into the derby and be that amazing. I would not have changed a thing about the first round with Acado; there was there was nothing that needed to be different.

“Acado is really a lovely ride,” she continued. “He is very comfortable, soft in his mouth, has beautiful lead changes, and he is scopey.”

Sewell and Acado placed third in their first derby together in last week’s Kentucky Summer Horse Show, so she was thrilled that he stepped up to win the large class on Saturday. The pair earned a 93.000 in the first round and an 88.250 in the second round after jumping all three high options in each round.

“I think Acado was more confident this week,” Sewell explained. “He walked into the ring and rose to the occasion. He jumped the high options outstandingly. He just had a bit more mileage and confidence this week.”

Though Acado lead the way after the first round, Sewell’s other mount, El Raymond, had the experience to edge him out in the second round score by only 0.250 points. Owned by Leslie and Stuart Campbell, El Raymond is an 18-year-old Warmblood gelding who has quite an impressive derby record. Sewell and the chestnut gelding have won the Kentucky Summer Horse Show derby three years in a row, and they took the blue ribbon in last week’s derby.

“He was amazing as always,” she said. “I feel like my first round on Raymond today was by far one of the best first rounds I’ve ever had on him. Sometimes he can be too casual on the first round and he gears up for the second round and that’s when he shines.”

Though El Raymond came back to score higher in the second round with an 88.500, it was not enough to win the overall total score. Acado won Friday’s $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby with a total score of 181.50 while El Raymond placed second with a 179.500.

“I felt a little bit bad because I had to send Raymond back to the barn before the awards presentation…he really is not used to that treatment,” Sewell laughed.

Sewell praised the derby course and she felt the solid high options gave her the opportunity to show off her horses’ jumping talents.

“Raymond has a lot more shows under his belt with a lot more experience and wins,” she explained. “They are very different rides. Acado has a bigger stride, and he has a higher and slower jump compared to Raymond. Raymond is so tidy with his knees, so it depends on what you like.”

Sewell rides with Bill Schaub, and they discussed their strategy of the handy round, which helped solidify her win on Saturday. They emphasized the importance of maintaining a smooth round with quality jumping style.

“People can get carried away in the handy and they forget it is still the hunters,” Schaub explained. “It needs to be smooth and the horse must jump in good style. When you get too carried away you lose that.”

“In the handy a lot of people can get a bit too crazy and it can get messy,” Sewell explained. “I chose to ride more conservative and only do a couple of the inside turns in order to be smooth. It worked out for me today.”

Sewell came to Schaub her first year out of the junior division, and they have been working together for sixteen years.

“I always want Molly to be neat, tight, carry a gallop while having a smooth round,” Schaub continued. “Originally we had some ideas of how to ride the handy but after watching some rides we realized those options made it messy. We did not want to be too risky and lose the style.”

The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby is part of the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series which is returning for the fifth year in a row at the Kentucky Horse Park. The five-part series a $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus presented at the conclusion of the series.

The Kentucky Summer Classic will wrap up on Sunday to make way for the 2016 United States Pony Finals. The Kentucky Summer Horse Show Series will resume on August 16 with the start of the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, which will feature both the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship and the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Championship. Other highlight events include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

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