Lexington, KY—Aug 4, 2012—The Stonelea Arena was bustling today as it saw six divisions stretching the length of the day. Lined with sponsor bulletins, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby turned out a crowd as well as promised top riders and steep competition. Out of 29 riders, Shawn Casady once again emerged as victor, this time upon Bolero, scoring 178.50. Louise Serio returned riding Corvine, beating her last week’s points and scoring 178, coming in a half point behind Casady, earning the duo a second place standing. Riding to a third place finish, Erica Quinn and Chit Chat came in with a total of 175.
Employing heighten sensory to navigate a well schemed course, riders leaped walls of obstacles, lined in rows creating a sideways Y shape. Brilliantly designed by Danny Moore, the course opened with the Hallway Feeds fences, made up of natural wood and refined vegetation. The variation ranged from brick walls, birch verticals and oxers to grass roll tops, and a fallen tree, hay bale obstacle. The fence arrangement had riders jumping the equidistance to complete the jump line full of lead changes and round turns.
Shawn Casady took the early lead in the first round, charming the judges with an impressive score of 91. Being the 11th rider to attempt the course, Erica Quinn and Chit Chat of Centennial Farm Inc, of Plametto, FL, posted the score to beat, taking all four options to equal an 89. Casady riding on horse Bolero of Marigot Bay Farm LLC of Dover, MD, changed the pace from the 22nd position. Quinn’s handy round earned the duo the overall score of 175 points, securing the third place derby award.
Casady’s stiffest competition came from the professional level, Louis Serio who occupies the lead of the ongoing series. Serio brought two mounts to show, To the Nines and Corvine, but it was Corvine who rode clear, warranting the higher total of the two, scoring 178 and winning the pair a blue ribbon. To the Nines scored a respective 173 to take the 5th place ranking.
“Corvine was a little more tired this week than he was last week but still rode strong for me out there,” Serio shared. “He puts out so much effort and rides great. He is always awesome for me. I liked the handy a lot there were a lot of jumps out there and it was fun to ride.”
The top 12 high scoring first round contenders returned to take on the handy round. Shawn Casady riding Bolero, breezed through the short course, taking all four high options, earning the two an 87.50. Their flawless ride elevated their score out of reach of the opponent, earning them the distinguished blue ribbon.
“The course rode good today.” Casady recalled as he looked out upon the empty arena. “There was a lot to look at and it was really busy. I’m used to galloping down lines and having blind spots but this course was fun because there were a lot of singles and the options were presented nicely. There was a lot going on but it was really fun to ride.”
Shawn Casady has only been training with Bolero since the winter. Owned by Madison Arani of Dover, MA, of Marigot Bay Farm since 2005, Bolero has built a career on winning titles nationwide. Casady plans on continuing his winning streak in the derbies to come, also with the help of last week winning mount, Without a Question.
“Derbies are great for him because he is a great jumper and he’s careful but a little spooky,” Trainer, Leslie Emerson divulged about Bolero. “We jump him a little lower so he is still impressed by the difference in jumps. We still get the big elegant jump from him and it’s good for his mind and to keep him interested. There is no greater pleasure than watching him show.”
Also in the top ranks earning fourth place by taking all the high options, Molly Sewell and Larkspur, owned by Ashley Whitner, took a first-round total of 83 points and second round presenting 91 points equaling a solid 174 points. Owner and rider, True Kershenbaum of Leawood, KS, reappeared at a sixth place finished in the ranks, aboard Ultra with an overall score of 168.
Shawn Casady trails to Louise Serio in the Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Series, where he competes against other junior, amateur, and professional riders for a chance to receive money from the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonus. His win today increased his standings, yet, not enough to surpass Serio who currently leads by 50 points in the series after today’s second place win.
“She beat me in the spring,” Casady laughed. “She is some tough competition. I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing to keep my position in this series.”
This was the fourth of six National Hunter Derbies sponsored by Hallway Feeds, featuring $15,000 Leading Rider Bonuses for professional, junior and amateur riders. The competitors can look forward to the chance to participate throughout the series, where they can aspire to climb the ranks and claim the bonus.
Today marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Summer Classic, but the exciting hunter action will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday with the Adult Amateur 18-35 Hunter, Adult Amateur 36-49, and Adult Amateur 50 and up. The 2012 USEF Pony Finals will get underway August 7-12, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.