Lexington, KY – July 30, 2015 – Sydney Shulman is on a roll, and she is not showing signs of slowing down. In the past month and a half the young rider has won four grand prix – first at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club, then at the Fairfield County Hunt Club and just four days ago in the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix. On Thursday night she returned to the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park to capture the win the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic.
Shulman and Wamira, owned by BCF Group, dominated the class at the Kentucky Summer Classic from beginning to end. They were the very first to enter the ring and contest the Florencio Hernandez designed course, finishing clear and advancing to the jump-off. From the 51 total entries, six other combinations would also qualify to give Shulman and Wamira a run for their money in the jump-off, but none would catch the pair’s double clear effort completed in a time of 35.547 seconds.
In addition to Wamira, Shulman also qualified Jill Shulman’s Quidam 13 for the jump-off, and she was joined by Lorcan Gallagher and Sweet Oak Farm’s Casper, Scott Lenkart and Fleur De Lis Farm’s Ziezo, Wilton Porter and Sleepy P Ranch’s Paloubet, Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm’s Eregest Van’t Kiezelhof and David Beisel and Equine Holdings’ Ammeretto.
At the end of the night, the rider results bore a striking resemblance to Saturday night’s $50,000 Rood and Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix, with Shulman and Sweetnam taking the top two spots for the second time in a row in Kentucky grand prix competition, but this time on different mounts.
Sweetnam was one of only three to go double clear, finishing in second on Spy Coast Farm’s Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof with a jump-off time of 36.109 seconds. Finishing in third with their own double clear effort were Beisel and Ammeretto.
“He jumped well,” Sweetnam said of Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof. “The first round went according to plan; I thought he jumped around quite well. I was just worried about the time allowed. I did a couple of turns, and he was fine. The jump off was a little bit like Saturday night; different horses this time, but [Wamira]’s a very fast horse, and Sydney did it again. I think I did less strides everywhere, but [Eregast Van’t Kiezelhof]’s a scopey horse, but a little bit slower. I was very happy with him; he jumped well.”
For Wamira, speed is a specialty, which the mare proved on Thursday. While Shulman did not get to watch Sweetnam’s ride, she agrees that while others may have left more strides out, Wamira makes up for it with her big stride and limited time in the air.
“She doesn't feel like she's going so fast,” Shulman said of the 12-year-old mare. “Even Brianne [Goutal] said to me, ‘you're like molasses; you need to go faster.’ But I think she covers so much ground, and she has barely any air time. She really skims the jumps, so I think I was just using her stride to my advantage. To the last fence I took a good shot to it. She sucked back a little bit for a second; I wasn't sure if I was going to get there, but she tried really hard. “
Just as Wamira is fast, so was the decision to buy her. Shulman’s trainer, Brianne Goutal, had her eyes on the horse for herself, so when she found out she was for sale jumped at the chance to try her.
“I’d tried the mare and, in fact, I was trying it for another student of mine. Immediately when I got on the horse, I just knew it was for [Sydney],” Goutal said. “Just judging by her other horses, and the way she rides her other horses, to me the horse was a perfect match. I actually wanted the horse for myself the year before. She wasn't for sale at the time, and then a friend told me the horse was for sale. I don't think anybody could have gotten to her faster to try. Before I hung up the phone I was on the horse. She's just lovely, and it's a good match. Sydney rides her great.”
Shulman added, “Brianne said, ‘you have to come try her.’ It was literally the last day of WEF, so [Wamira] was leaving on a flight to Brazil on Monday, and it was Sunday. So I tried her Sunday; we vetted her Sunday, and I got her Monday. It was the fastest turn around. I think I jumped four jumps on her when I tried her, but I loved her type. I really trust Brianne when she says this is going to be a great fit for you. We watched a ton of videos, and we knew that once we connected, it would be good. So I kind of just went with it, and ever since then, it's been great.”
Shulman plans to compete Wamira primarily as a speed horse through the end of the year, including at the American Gold Cup and the Hampton Classic.
At the Kentucky Summer Classic, competition continues on Friday with the 1.40m Open Jumpers beginning at 8 a.m. Grand prix action resumes Saturday night with the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, sponsored by GGT Footing, beginning at 7 p.m.
Results - Class 650, HAGYARD LEXINGTON CLASSIC II sec 2a NATIONAL ST
Emma Kurtz Claims Top Ribbons in Junior Hunter Divisions at Kentucky Summer Classic
Junior rider Emma Kurtz is a familiar face in the winner’s circle at horse shows across the country, and on Thursday the young talent added a few more blues to her collection in the Junior 15 and Under Hunter divisions at the Kentucky Summer Classic.
As the day began with the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunters, Kurtz piloted Molly Hay’s Kahlua to double second-place finishes over fences, proving to be the most solid combination of the division so far. First place went once Hayley Fleming’s Wesley, ridden by Anna Beth Athey, and once to Hilary Gerhardt’s Count Down and Emma Wujek.
“Kahlua used to be a jumper; this is probably either her sixth or seventh show as a hunter,” Kurtz said. “She’s awesome. She has the best canter in the world. I just have to hold her straight; she knows what she’s doing.”
The blue ribbon in the flat portion went to Abigail Dubose and her own Rose Gold, with second place going to Julia Tait and Falcon Ridge Stables’ Legacy, leaving both the division’s championship and reserve championship highly in contention at the end of the day.
The Large Junior 15 and Under Hunters kicked off next in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park, with Kurtz returning in the field of 16 with two entries: Prologue and Fredrick.
Kurtz and David Gochman’s Fredrick impressed the judges over the Bobby Murphy-designed courses, riding away with the blue ribbon in both over-fences classes and on the flat.
“He was really great today,” Kurtz said of the chestnut gelding. “We had a light rub in the first round, then the second was really good. He’s lazy so you just have to keep a feel of him and keep your leg on.”
Following closely behind with second and third place finishes over fences were Rachel McMullen and her mare, Clear Sailing. McMullen partnered up with the Thoroughbred-cross in January during the Winter Equestrian Festival, and the duo has been experiencing success ever since.
“She’s great to ride,” McMullen said. “She’s super smooth and gives you a great feeling in the air. She’s pretty much your typical bay mare; she has a little bit of an attitude, but we’ve gotten along pretty well and figured each other out. You just have to watch a little bit with the paying attention, but other than that she’s a dream. I love her.”
Kurtz other ride, Prologue, delivered smooth rounds as well, earning third and fourth over fences to round out the day.
“I’ve been riding Prologue for a little over a year now,” Kurtz said. “He’s really cool. He has the best jump.”
Brett Burlington, who had the ride on Sweet Oak Farm’s Caraway, claimed the remaining blue ribbon in the division’s second over-fences class.
Keep an eye out for both young riders during the Bluegrass Festival and KHJA horse shows as they continue to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park this summer.
The junior hunter divisions will wrap up Friday, and the amateur owner hunter divisions are scheduled to show Saturday and Sunday. The grand champion award, sponsored by Visse Wedell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, will be awarded to the junior or amateur rider with the highest number of points on Sunday. The highlight hunter event of the week, the $5,000 USHJA Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby, will take place on Saturday.