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Atlanta Summer Classics Opener is Action Packed

Conyers, GA.—June 15, 2009—Mother Nature welcomed exhibitors to the summer season with plenty of sunshine and blue skies kicking off two weeks of heated competition at the Georgia International Horse Park. “This has been some week-great weather, wonderful courses, and all the amazing talents we have here!” Bob Bell, president of the Classic Company said.

Following a Grand Prix triumph last weekend in Tryon, NC, Hardin Towell continued his winning ways in Conyers. Based in Camden, SC, Towell over took 24 tough competitors to clinch victory in Thursday’s Classic Equine Equipment, Inc sponsored Open Jumper Welcome Stake. After riding his own 8 year-old Belgium bred mare Boo Van Het Kastanjehor to a double clear finish on the Allen Rheinheimer designed course of looping turns, Towell spoke of his partner and the evening class, “I’m so lucky to have her. She’s the best horse I’ve ever had. This course was great, but I really don’t always try to go too fast here because I believe she’s destined for really big jumps in the future.” Neither speed or twilight shadows posed an issue for this duo who stopped the clock with a jump off time of 33.160 well below the allowed 47 seconds. Hardin had only one mount for this event partly due to the increase in his riding schedule, “I’m riding a lot more now because…Liza [Boyd-his sister] is pregnant.” Towell said with a huge smile, “We’re all so excited about that!” However, Hardin does plan on having a second mount in Saturday’s $25,000 Brookledge Grand Prix. “I’ll have Boo of course and Copado, who is really coming along nicely so we’ll see how it goes.” the laid back Towell said on his way back to the barn.

Friday evening spotlighted the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby. A large crowd lined the former Olympic arena to cheer their favorite among the 38 entered for the initial round. Allen Rheinheimer of Zionsville, IN created a visually stunning and equally challenging course. “Allen has truly out done himself on this one!” began Bob Bell, president of Classic Company, “It’s just an incredible layout. The positioning of the jumps, the choice of options, and use of this vast arena could not have been more perfect.” Two panels of judges consisting of Thom Brede, Carl Hansen, Mike Lowry, and Chris Wayne, were placed around the arena and had the difficult task of selecting a mere 14 to return for the deciding round. Competitors chose to compete on the 3’6” or 4’ heights and had optional fence choices to select for bonus points. Bonus points could also be awarded for a pair’s handiness on course.

Despite being first to take on the testing layout, 15 year-old Hasbrouck Donovan of Florida set the tone with Paige Dekko’s entry Sag Harbor’s Lucky Star scoring a high 174 in the round. Fourth in the order, the Porter Allen owned Reveille picked up bonus points with Florida’s Molly Sewell in the irons when the pair executed the uphill canter to the top of the bank, seemingly floated over the fence and back into a smooth transition down hill, giving them a 166 round one score. However, this night would belong to Camden, SC based Gary Young and the talented Colorado, owned by Nancy Jones. “I thought the course very challenging, a few interesting spots you had to really think about- like the bank, which options to take, and the lighting.” Young began, “We were lucky in the first round we went very early on when the natural light was still good, but coming back late was fine because the ring lights up great.” The pair’s first round score was 173, just one point off the leader. The final round for the 14 top horses was geared towards being handy. “Handy is where I think he [Colorado] excels. He’s so concentrated and tries to please everytime.” Young said of the 9 year-old German Warmblood. Confident that the 4’ options would play well for the duo Young waited in the wings for 12 others to precede them. Hardin Towell aboard the Chris Kappler owned Val D’Isere took over the lead when a second round score of 167 was added to give a total of 341 points. “Every option presented it’s own challenges. I found myself still debating as I made the turn towards the gates, which gate to jump- jump the big gate, jump the little gate. I ended up pointed to the big one [a 4’gate of stacked planks]and just galloped to it.” A gut instinct that paid off huge with a second score of 176 added to give a total of 349 and victory to Young.

“The creation of these Derbies are building better riders, better horses. And more people are coming out to watch these wonderful competitors.” both Young and owner Nancy Jones said. This is the second straight Derby win for Colorado, who was originally purchased in November 2007 to be Jones’ amateur ride, but on a whim decided to have Young try a Derby in Aiken, SC just last year. “We bought this horse for me, but this is really a fun dimension to be a part of.” Jones said. Young added with a chuckle, “He may be hers, but I’m having a lot of fun too!” Nancy injected a quick-witted reply, “And I’m coming back next week to show him myself.” An exuberant team Colorado are looking forward to another Derby outing in July and then on to the $100,000 Finals in August at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Overall top five results for the USHJA International Derby were;

1st Place Colorado with rider Gary Young for owner Nancy Jones

2nd Place Graphiq with owner/rider Chase Boggio

3rd Place Val D’Isere with rider Hardin Towell for owner Chris Kappler

4th Place Premonition with owner/rider Chase Boggio

5th Place Terra Promessa with rider Daniel Geitner for owner Katherine Paul

And capping off a week of exciting action in the rings was Saturday evening’s Brookledge $25,000 Grand Prix showcasing the best of show jumping talents. Starting the evening were 25 horses eager to take on the Allen Rheinheimer layout, but in the end only one, Trading Places owned by Kyle Register and piloted by Birthday Boy Daniel Geitner of Aiken, SC would celebrate victory.

The DFG Stables pair of Geitner and Places beat the 96-second allowance in the first curvy 11 obstacle round with a clear time of 92.304. “He [Trading Places]was fabulous. I was a little worried, he felt a little tired because of the heat in the first round so we took him back, gave him a good cold bath and he was ready to roll.” a very happy Geitner said. The duo had been 14th in the order, a position that Geitner felt good about, “We went early enough that it gave us a nice break before having to go right back in.” Asked his thoughts on the course Geitner said, “It was nice. I believe there were just some unlucky faulters, you know usually if there are a lot of 4-8 faulters you could have just as easily had more clean. Honestly I thought there would be 8 or 9 clear. The biggest concern I had was the 96 second time allowed, that’s a long way around there [ Olympic size arena] and with the summer heat you worry, but we call got around just fine.” The majority of those faulting came off the #9 double combination with a short strided angle into a skinny vertical. “That was hard. It was a 6 ½ [strides] to the vertical. I did 7 on my first horse [Sympa], it worked out alright, but on Trading I decided definitely 6. You had to ride it pretty focused and direct.”

Only 4 other horses would join Trading Places in the final 50 second limited round. “It was all speed for that one.” a laughing Geitner started, “You had to be careful at the 2 stride there at the natural rails, but pretty much everywhere else it was get there as quick as you could- except that funny one towards the last, you couldn’t really get there straight so you had to jump it on an angle and hope they [horses] didn’t get their eye on the out gate too much.” Trading Places only had eyes for winning today with a blazing clean time of 39.559. “He just gets better and better.” Geitner said. Places’ owner Kyle Register thinks his triumph today may have been a bit more inspired, “I can’t help but wonder if this was his [Trading Places] birthday present to Daniel.” she said sweetly. Geitner smiled as he patted his partner on the neck. After a little celebrating of birthdays and victory this pair will return for week two’s Grand Prix event.

Final results for the $25,000 Brookledge Prix are; 1st Place Trading Places with rider Daniel Geitner for owner Kyle Register, 2nd Place Copado with rider Hardin Towell for owners Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare, 3rd Place Galant with rider Angel Karolyi for owner McLain Ward, 4th Place James T Kirk with rider Angel Karolyi for owners Abigail Walker and Andrea King, and in 5th Place Lola with owner/rider Juliana Fischer.

The Atlanta Summer Classics continue through June 21st with showing taking place Wednesday through Sunday. Classes begin daily at 8am until approximately 4:30pm and the public is invited. Admission is free and each Saturday evening will host an exciting $25,000 Grand Prix jumper classic at 6pm. For more information or results on the Summer Classics visit http://www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 770-602-2510.

Photo: Gary Young & Colorado; Daniel Geitner & Trading Places ©Flashpoint Photography

Photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release


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