The feature event of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix, was held Saturday evening in the Rolex Stadium with an enthusiastic crowd excited to cheer on the field of competitors during the Kentucky Horse Park’s annual Hats Off Day. Designed by Brazil’s Marina Azeveo, the 16-effort 1.50m course asked many difficult questions including a triple combination and a triple-bar. Following a competitive eight-horse jump-off, it was New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley and Arnoud Dobber’s Any who returned to the ring to race to the top spot.
While nine horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the jump-off by jumping clear and within the comfortable time allowed set in the first round, only eight pairs returned to the Rolex Stadium as Mexico’s Enrique Gonzalez withdrew Chacna from the competition. Wordley was the only athlete who qualified two horses for the second phase and his first mount, Rye Val De Mal earned a double clear and set the pace in 41.902 seconds.
Wordley’s initial lead was quickly overtaken when Brazil’s Celso Ariani followed with a faster time of 40.762 seconds on Ukulman De La Nutria, an 11-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by Ricardo Romero. It took four more riders’ unsuccessful attempts to challenge Ariani’s clean and fast jump-off before Jimmy Torano shaved just a few tenths of a second off to race into the lead aboard Daryl Portella’s Glasgow De Muze in 40.539 seconds.
Torano, who has been a prominent athlete and equestrian sports commentator, picked up the ride on the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding in early 2018. No strangers to the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Horse Shows, Torano was hoping to win back-to-back years as the pair won the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix in 2018.
Second to last in the order, David O’Brien on La Belle SCF tried to beat Torano’s time, but was a hair too slow, breaking the timers in 41.124 seconds. Saving the best for last, Wordley entered the ring on his second mount, Any, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, that he has only ridden for about three months. With a jump-off strategy requiring a great deal of speed, Wordley galloped the mare across the arena, leaving all jumps untouched and crossing the finish line in an impressive time of 39.876 seconds. Surpassing Torano’s lead, Wordley clinched the win, followed closely behind by Torano and Ariani, who finished second and third in the class, respectively.
The final day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show will begin with the $5000 Open Jumper 1.40 in the Rolex Arena followed by the Under 25 Classic, as well as Junior Jumper and Amateur Jumper divisions.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Sharn Wordley – $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix winner
“She was really good tonight. She’s a really promising young horse that’s fairly new to my string. I was second in a grand prix with her here at one of the Country Heir shows. I knew she could win one and then I took her to Tryon and I jumped her under the lights a little too quickly and she got a little fazed by it just because she hadn’t done it much. I gave her one little school at home and she was back to being right. She’s so smart. She should have won the other two grand prixs, but because I didn’t know her, I didn’t quite know what to do. She’s won about four grand prixs since I had her and I only managed to win one of them.”
On what makes her special:
“She’s smart, careful, scopey and obviously she’s really fast. She was very well produced. Tommy-John Russell produced her and he did a great job developing her up to the grand prix level and he won quite a few grand prixs on her too. After they’re produced so well, it’s easier to figure out what buttons to press, so I have to attribute Tommy-John Russell for doing most of the work. [Her owner] Arnold Dauber is from Ocala. He’s had her since a young horse. He’s owned some great horses in the past and he knows the good ones so he’s kept hold of this one for awhile.”
On his strategy for the jump-off:
“My strategy was to go as fast as I could to try to beat them because they were really fast. That was about as fast as I could go and I was only half a second faster so I could have had a little bit better turn from one to two. I did one extra stride on the roll-back and I was very fast at the liverpool, so maybe it shot me past one extra stride, but she was phenomenally quick. Then I could actually back off at the end and jump the last two nicely. I love the horse. It’s a very exciting horse for the team.”
On competing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“This ring is a great ring for her. The footing, atmosphere and jumps are great here. it’s close to home – I’m here from Lexington. She’ll do a couple of classes next week and then she’ll have a week off and then she’ll do the following week and then that will probably be it. Then I’ll see where we are. That’s four more grand prixs at this facility for her and then I can take stock and see if she’s ready to move up to the next level. There is a chance that we take her and do the $1 HITS Million.”
Jimmy Torano – $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix second place
On Glasgow De Muze:
“He’s just been a real winner for us. He’s real careful. He’s very brave and he was dynamite tonight. He’s a little tough to ride. He’s a little strong. He’s not your ordinary, methodical ride. He can be a little difficult. He’s very brave and he’s very honest and he’s very careful, but for sure he can be quite strong. I really wanted to win that class. I won it last year. A repeat win would have been nice. The girl that I rode for tonight, it would have been a huge deal to win.”
On what’s next for Glasgow De Muze:
“He’ll show again next week and then he’ll rest the following week which is Pony Finals and then he’ll probably show the last week here, they have another $50,000 Grand Prix. Then he’ll take a little break and either do South Hampton or he’ll do the 5* in Saugerties.”
On Saturday’s course:
“I think [Marina Azeveo] did a phenomenal job. She was right on the money. I think she did a great job for the crowd. We had a great crowd tonight for this Rood & Riddle class. I think the way she built the course, it allowed enough to go clear. Everyone went in there and took a shot and it got faster and faster. It was how a good grand prix should be.”
On his strategy for the jump-off:
“It really suited my horse tonight. It was a galloping jump-off versus a turning jump-off. We had one sharp turn from one to two left which is good for him, but then it was basically just a flat-out run. I kind of gave it away at the last jump. I think I was too cautious. I thought I did enough but I was too cautious at the last jump.”
On showing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“It’s phenomenal. It’s [Kentucky Horse Shows LLC] been great to me. Last summer I won three grand prixs here. My whole family is here. It’s the best footing in the country. Probably the best venue in the country. They treat you well, it’s phenomenal. It doesn’t get any better than this”
$50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Any / Sharn Wordley / NZL / 0 / 75.284 / 0 / 39.976
2. Glasgow De Muze / Jimmy Tornano / USA / 0 / 75.893 / 0 / 40.539
3. Ukulman De La Nutria / Celso Ariani / BRA / 0 / 74.780 / 0 / 40.762
4. La Belle SCF / David O’Brien / USA / 0 / 77.818 / 0 41.124
5. Orso Del Terriccio / Diego Perez Bilbao / ESP / 0 / 78.995 / 0 / 41.793
6. Rye Val De Mai/ Sharn Wordley / NZL / 0 / 73.340 / 0 / 41.902
7. Shiver / Liza Finsness / USA / 0 / 76.309 / 0 / 42.032
8. Le Vio / Pablo Barrios / VEN / 0 / 76.457 / 4 / 41.146
9. Chacna / Enrique Gonzalez / MEX / 0 / 77.066 / WD
10. Giardo / Alexa Lowe / USA / 3 / 81.433
11. Bijzonder / Lacey Gilbertson / USA / 4 / 75.013
12. Gerko / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 4 / 75.052