Articles: Horse News
Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto D'Arco Capture $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Victory at Bluegrass Festival Horse Show
Shane Sweetnam and Amaretto D'Arco rode to the top of the leaderboard during
the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Bluegrass Festival Horse
Show. Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG.
Kendall Bierer for
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lexington, KY - August 17, 2012 - The lights were bright in the Rolex
Stadium 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 tonight, 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.
Tonight's class was the fifth of seven grand prix events that make up the
Hagyard Challenge Series, sponsored by Hagyard Medical Institute and
presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The rider accumulating the most points
throughout the series will be presented with the bonus during the $50,000
World Cup Qualifier at the Kentucky National Horse Show in September 2012.
Allen Rheinheimer designed the track tonight, utilizing standalone
verticals, rollbacks, technical lines, an oxer-oxer double combination, a
vertical-oxer double combination, and a tight oxer-vertical combination
leading into a daunting oxer. Riders had to navigate the course within the
tight time allowed of 95 seconds, treading carefully with the agility to
leave all the rails in their cups.
"I thought it was a fair course tonight, Allen always does a good job,"
eventual winner Sweetnam stated. "There were some really nice clear rounds
in there, and since it was $25,000 you couldn't make it too massive. Whether
you are a veteran of the sport or rising in the ranks, the course rode
fair. He did a good job with it."
The short track became the true adversary tonight, with 14 riders competing
over seven obstacles in an attempt to take the winning title. The course
began over a natural oxer and then demanded a left turn over a new vertical,
from there riders had to make a sharp right turn and take the oxer-vertical
double combination and then make a hard left rollback to the Hagyard
vertical. Pace became crucial when heading toward the "L" shaped gate where
riders took the vertical and then made a right rollback over a second
vertical, finally progressing forward to break the beam after landing from
the final oxer near the in gate.
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
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
"Rocky is pretty good in the jump-offs," Campbell explained. "He knows it's
a jump-off, so I can really focus on speed. As long as he gets his legs in
there, I just go for it. He's trustworthy and knows his job, and we have
been working together for so long that we know each other by now."
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.
Campbell laughed as she explained her professional relationship with
Sweetnam, "I don't know if it was a good or bad thing that he beat me
tonight, especially since he used to be my trainer and helped guide me
through my entire junior career. It was one of those bittersweet moments,
but I am so thankful for everything he has done for me. That horse is
amazing for him, and he had a great round."
"Amaretto is my best horse, we have done a lot together," Sweetnam
explained. "Recently he was reserve for the Ireland Team for the Olympics,
and he just came off of some top earnings at Spruce Meadow. I decided to
compete with him in two classes this week to prepare him for the Hampton
Classic, and the Rolex Stadium also provides such great practice for jumping
under the lights."
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.
"I thought the course was great tonight," Campbell remarked. "Rocky loves
going under the lights, and I think that kind of brightened him up a
bit. Tonight all of the weight was on him since he was my only horse for the
evening, but he did great and we are trying to get as many wins as we can to
maintain the lead in the Hagyard Leading Rider Series Standings."
In addition to competing for the winning title tonight, riders had the
opportunity to win $2,000 in bonus money as a part of the SSG Riding Gloves
'Go Clean for the Green' promotion-riders wearing the SSG 'Digital' Riding
Gloves with the SSG horse head logo clearly visible during all rounds of
competition in designated events are eligible for the bonus. Tonight
Sweetnam was wearing a pair of the SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves, and
collected the bonus. He admitted that the gloves may have had some play in
the way the results panned out.
"I have been using the SSG Digital Riding Gloves for quite a while, and I
have really grown to like them. They have a really good grip, are
comfortable and work no matter what the weather is like," Sweetnam
explained. "I would like to think that my riding was the real cause for
tonight's victory, I know my horse very well and we were able to make a lot
of tight turns, have a strong pace and be quick everywhere. We maneuvered
the course great, and I am thrilled to have earned the bonus money again."
Riders will have the opportunity to compete for the highly desired bonus
money this Sunday during the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix. Sweetnam
will also be a contender, and someone who will wear a target on his back for
his recent victories during the Kentucky Summer Series.
Tomorrow, the exciting line-up of events will continue at the Bluegrass
Festival Horse Show. The Final Round of the $100,000 USHJA International
Hunter Derby Finals will get underway at 8 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium, with
the Consolation Round taking place at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the competition will
come to a close after riders compete in the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit
RESULTS HAGYARD LEXINGTON CLASSIC
ORD # Horse Name Rider Name JF1 TF1 AF1 Time 1 JF2
TF2 AF2 Time 2
1 1140 AMARETTO D'ARCO SHANE SWEETNAM 0 0 0 90.405
0 0 0 39.947
2 897 ROCKY W KAITLIN CAMPBELL 0 0 0 93.965 0 0
3 1030 VDL WARDOLETTE RACHEL UDELSON 0 0 0 93.787
0 0 0 41.316
4 149 TWISTER REBECCA CONWAY 0 0 0 93.804 0 0
5 63 AMMERETTO DAVID BEISEL 0 0 0 90.976 0 2
6 792 XM ANDREW WELLES 0 0 0 92.018 4 0 4
7 566 VALENTINO MICHAEL MURPHY 0 0 0 84.505 4
0 4 42.834
8 98 ZARA LEANDRA PABLO BARRIOS 0 0 0 91.353 4
0 4 42.845
9 28 WIEMINKA B PATRICIA GRIFFITH 0 0 0 93.774 4
0 4 44.772
10 713 FIEONA JACK H. TOWELL 0 0 0 90.567 4 0
11 1145 ESQUINA VAN KLAPSCHEUT SHANE SWEETNAM 0 0 0
89.482 4 0 4 45.237
12 809 CEDERICK SHARN WORDLEY 0 0 0 90.241 4 0