June 15, 2016 - Armando Hassey, a local resident of Parker, CO, piloted S&L Zeppelin to back to back wins, kicking off the Summer in the Rockies Series (SIR) at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) this past week. The pair earned top honors in the $20,000 Open Welcome and the $30,000 Front Range Kubota Grand Prix. The duo made quick work of the $30,000 Front Range Kubota Grand Prix, finishing the course in 40.271 seconds for the win. Bjorn Ikast, also from Parker, CO, guided Chestina Z to second place, after completing a clear first round effort. Ikast also finished in third aboard Colorado, finishing the first round in 88.573 seconds, collecting a single time fault. Summer in the Rockies II will begin on Wednesday, June 15, and continue through Sunday, June 19, featuring the $40,000 Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Super 8 Grand Prix presented by Trapper's Chop House on Saturday, June 18, beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Hassey and S&L Zeppelin, a 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (No Limit x Sterre H) owned by Caroline Beecherl, have only been partnered together for three months, as Hassey took over the rider after the winter circuit, have made a strong statement this week, in what will be a strong future ahead. Hassey noted, "I really just got the ride three months ago when we were in Wellington, FL. I know he's an exceptional horse and I've seen him compete for many years. I just fell in love with him when I saw him and it's a dream come true to be able to ride him in a grand prix class like this."
The time allowed proved to be tight on the first course designed by Memo Diaz (MEX), as Hassey and Ikast were the only two riders to secure a place in the jump-off round. The $30,000 Front Range Kubota Grand Prix was the first major class of the 2016 season at The Colorado Horse Park and Hassey believes the experience he and S&L Zeppelin received together throughout the duration of the week will be beneficial for their plans moving forward.
"The time was tight. I think that was the challenge of the class. I think that I benefitted from going towards the end of the order. It gave me a chance to look at how tight the time was going to be and I could plan accordingly," he said. "I was able to execute that plan and you know, height wise and complication wise, I think it was similar to Thursday's class."
Hassey has high hopes for S&L Zeppelin, who has continued to display an easygoing demeanor and a strong will to fight for a win in the ring. The pair collected two major victories at CHP throughout SIR I, also taking the $20,000 Open Welcome with ease on Thursday, June 9.
"He rode great all week. He's 12 years old now so he knows his job. Even with all of the commotion, the flags and spectators on Saturday, he stayed very calm and focused. He's consistent and that's what I love about him."
As a local resident of the Parker, CO, community, Hassey expressed his delight for the future of his partnership with S&L Zeppelin, as well as the increase in opportunities becoming available at The Colorado Horse Park, both for experienced horses and those coming up through the levels.
"This is spectacular for the industry in Colorado. I think the facility needed this and the expectations have been met. The footing is great and we're very happy to have Mark Bellissimo and his partners involved here. There's a bright future for this venue and I really believe in what can happen here."
Armando Hassey and S&L Zeppelin Soar to Win in First Welcome Stake of the Summer in the Rockies Series
Armando Hassey rose to victory in the first $20,000 Welcome Stake of Summer in the Rockies I (SIR) at The Colorado Horse Park (CHP) on Thursday, June 9, aboard S&L Zeppelin. Hassey and the 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding earned a clear round effort on the first track, finishing with a time score of 86.20 seconds to enter the jump-off round, where they crossed through the timers in 43.807 seconds. The duo bested Holly Shepherd and Sky High, who completed the jump-off round with 8 faults in a time of 40.686 seconds. Bjorn Ikast and Candy Man returned to test the short course, but retired, ultimately placing them third.
Hassey, originally from Mexico City, Mexico, is a true veteran at CHP having ridden at the facility for more than fourteen years, beginning when he was just 17 years old. Hassey was excited to take to the International Arena, which received footing upgrades in the off-season. He stated, "I was looking forward to riding in this ring. It's all brand new this year."
Hassey admired the dedicated work that has taken place at CHP this season and noted the importance and impact the revitalization of the facility will have for equestrians in the western portion of the United States for many years to come.
"This is a rider's dream to have this in Colorado. I was looking forward to returning to this ring and testing it out," he detailed. "I thought the course today was very nice with a fair amount of riders and the money was very good as well."
Hassey performed a precise and well-executed round on S&L Zeppelin, noting that the horse is incredibly scopey and bold, which makes him a fun and efficient ride in the larger classes.
"He is very powerful and is actually owned by Caroline Beecherl, who is a good friend of mine," explained Hassey. "He is large, so if I make it to the jump-off I've got to be very strategic of where I go fast. I'm very happy with the way he's going and we're going to pick and choose what we decide to do with him here this season."
Ashley Buchanan of Sedalia, CO, and Polar Light, owned by Beatrice Marienau, notched a win in the $2,000 Low Children's Classic with a time of 40.14 seconds. Cecily Coors of Parker, CO, and Amadour, owned by Madelaine Martinez, collected second place, finishing in 41.25 seconds. Carly Coles of Golden, CO, piloted her own Zodoctro to third place, finishing the track in 45.49 seconds.
The $2,000 Low Adult Classic saw Carol Tucker of Elizabeth, CO, and her own Cha Cha Cha take the win, dashing through the timers through 37.164 seconds. Kami Ostler of Sheridan, WY, piloted her own WT Cricket to second place, with a time of 38.299. Molly Faunce of Littleton, CO, piloted her own WT Chevelle to third place, finishing in 41.392 seconds.
Kelly Davis of Omaha, NE, and Last Shadow, owned by Serenity Ridge Farm, completed a quick effort around the short course of the $4,000 NAL/WIHS Child/Adult Classic presented by Holiday Inn Parker to take top honors in the class, finishing with four faults and a time of 41.105 seconds. Jason Sarno of Broomfield, CO, and his own Captain Cook, took second place, finishing in 47.697 seconds and collecting four faults. Audrey Slouka of Parker, CO, and her own Quentin H picked up third place, crossing through the timers in 49.654 seconds and six faults.
The $4,000 Modified Junior/Amateur Owner Classic was championed by Nicole Lyvere of Denver, CO, and her own Mine D'Or, as they crossed through the finish in 44.249 seconds. Linnea Rimmer of Stillwell, KS, and her own Highlander, were the only other pair to move forward to the jump-off round, where they completed the track with a time of 45.262 seconds and eight faults. Elizabeth Adelson of Tulsa, OK, and her own Bonita were the fastest of the four-fault round to earn third place, finishing with a time of 80.046 around the first track.
Isabel Ikast of Parker, CO, took home first and second place in the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Owner Classic presented by Nutrena, first piloting Royal Flush, owned by Bjorn Ikast, to first place with a time of 32.478 seconds. Ikast then rode Mont Blanc, also owned by Bjorn Ikast, to second place with a time of 41.708 seconds. Paige Coles of Golden, CO, and her own Springfield Hill was narrowly edged by Ikast, after finishing the jump-off with a time of 33.137 seconds and four faults.
Katharin Gualtieri of Morrison, CO, and Castalano owned by Sandwillow Farm, rose to the occasion in the $2,500 Medium Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, finishing with a double clear effort and a time of 32.772 seconds in the jump-off. Hannah Holik of Jackson, WY, and Cupido de Laubry, owned by Czech Mate, LLC collected second place, after completing a faster jump-off round, but dropping a rail for four faults. Elizabeth Adelson of Tulsa, OK, and Con Chino Z, owned by Four Fillies, LLC, rounded out the top three as a fast four fault round, crossing through the timers in 81.658 seconds.
Cindy Cruciotti of Elizabeth, CO, and My Everything, owned by Nicole Lyvere took top honors in the $1,000 Pre-Green Incentive during SIR I, while Jenna Hanson of Colorado Springs, CO, and her own Coastal, finished in second place. Amanda Thomas of Brentwood, MO, piloted Fanci That, owned by Thomas Spiro, to third place honors.
Jaden Olson of Parker, CO, guided her own Conradical to the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3'3"/3'6" Classic, and was followed by Chloe Stix of St. Louis, MO, and Eileen, owned by Lorrie Canady, who finished in second place. Rylee Shufelt of Albuquerque, NM, and her own Rock Star rounded out the top three finishers.
The $500 NAL/WIHS Adult Hunter Classic saw Amy Coretz of Tulsa, OK, and her own Don Ramio, finish atop the leaderboard, while Christen Tuxworth of Colorado Springs, CO, and Curacao, owned by Liesl Schultze, earned second place. Hannah Hlopak of The Woodlands, TX, and Love on the Run, owned by Grace Serianne, rounded out the top three.
Anna Lawrence of Englewood, CO, and her own Sirius Black led the $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children's Hunter Classic, ultimately taking the division, while Barrie Barto of Denver, CO, and Nikita, owned by Olivia Contillo, collected second place honors. Leah's Limited Edition and Sophi Lutz of Cherry Hills Village, CO, received third place.
Baylee Miller of Aspen, CO, piloted Ava, owned by Katelyn Lang, to top honors in the Modified Children's Hunter Classic presented by Marshall & Sterling, while Cece Siegfried of Tulsa, OK, and her own Finally Found, earned second place. Carolina Kane, also of Tulsa, OK, guided her own Adonis to third place.
Nicole Lyvere of Denver, CO, and her own Vaillero championed the Equitation Adult Amateur 18-35 division presented by Super 8 Parker after collecting top honors in each of the three classes composing the division. Chloe Johnson of Broomfield, CO, and her own Too True, earned reserve champion honors.
Kamyrn Steel of Parker, CO, and her own Cartina B, rode to champion honors in the Equitation 15-17 division, while Abigail Grace Kelley of Lone Tree, CO, and Cincinatti, owned by Serenity Farm, earned reserve champion.
In the Equitation 12-14 division, Rylee Shufelt of Albuquerque, NM, and her own Zeus rode to divisional champion honors, while Keera Bromley of Denver, CO, and her own Kingston rode to reserve champion honors.
For more information on The Colorado Horse Park and to see a full list of results, please visit www.coloradohorsepark.com.