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Penny Brennan and Japan Return as Defending Champions Winning $7,500 EquiFit Speed Derby at Fieldstone Summer Showcase I

RELEASE: August 15, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

 Penny Brennan and Japan returned to the Grand Prix Field at the Fieldstone Show Park as the defending champions (Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group)
Penny Brennan and Japan returned to the Grand Prix Field at the Fieldstone Show Park as the defending champions (Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group)
Halifax, MA
-  The Grand Prix Field was alive with action, and the anticipation was tangible as the $7,500 EquiFit Speed Derby commenced. Riders gathered on the all-grass field to not only compete for the lion's share of the prize money on the second day of the Fieldstone Summer Showcase I, but also to prepare for the quickly approaching $50,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix, presented by Gallo Dark Horse Wine, Samuel Adams and Ocean Spray. Penny Brennan rode Japan to the top of the leader board, sealing her title as defending champion with an overwhelming victory.

Philip J. De Vita of Apopka, FL, designed the course for today's $7,500 EquiFit Speed Derby, testing riders with the table, grob and serpentine pattern for which he is so well known. He utilized 12 obstacles today, including an oxer-vertical double combination, bending lines and stand-alone verticals and oxers. The all-grass field was in immaculate condition for the second day of the show and, with no jump-off to separate the leaders, the name of the game was speed.

"I think in these speed derbies, where the faults are converted, you pretty much want to let them go out there, have fun and go at it," De Vita said. "I had very little in the course that was related, and I kept them in the serpentine pattern where the next jump was right in front of them. I think it makes for a more fluid course, and it keeps the horses on a gallop where they can keep going forward."

De Vita continued, "In the Grand Prix, I will use the grob and probably the table if I can make it work. I think that getting them in a forward mode is always a plus for me. The footing is awesome out here, so I think it is going to be a fast track all day Saturday. The word is out there about this Grand Prix, and I am sure it is going to be quite the event."

Brennan was the first to tackle the track with Sun Tzu, and it came as no surprise that her Olympic prospect left all the rails untouched. Using his large stride, Brennan was able to clear the course in the safe, yet speedy time, of 72.000 seconds. Although Sun Tzu is a more recent mount for Brennan, she has high hopes for the large chestnut.

She will continue to show him throughout the Fieldstone Summer Showcase, but she has her sights set on the win at this Saturday's $50,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix. Brennan is hoping to seal her phenomenal summer with a win aboard Sun Tzu, and possibly find a syndicate to help the pair pursue their potential in the upcoming Games.

"I didn't want to use him up before the Grand Prix this weekend, but I wanted to give him a confidence boost," Brennan explained. "He is very confident and a lovely horse, but he is still young. He is a very scopey horse, and I expect great things from him."

Adam Cramer and E.S. Finou, owned by Equi-Sport, LLC of Pittstown, NJ, attempted to best Brennan's effort, but two rails cost them timely penalties, finishing with the final time of 82.810 seconds.

Brennan was able to duplicate her efforts aboard Greater Good, riding to a fault-free round. She broke the beam in 72.508 seconds, finding her second spot in the ribbons. Brennan also rode Dare Devil to a clean and speedy effort in 70.904 seconds.

"Greater Good was fantastic, he has been a winner since the start," Brennan said. "He is a very speedy horse, but Sun Tzu's stride is so large that he wasn't able to match him. Dare Devil also did a great job, I was pleased with how quick he was able to go out there, and he was insanely fast. This was my first time showing him at this show, but he wanted to leave the jumps up today, he tried really hard, and deserved the second place. I was kind of shocked because he spends so much time in the air, but he made up the time with his stride."

It seemed as though Kristen Bumpus and Cupid might outdo the speed demon, but their accuracy paved the way for a more conservative time. They completed the course in 73.742 seconds with all rails intact.

Brennan had one last chance to lay down a clear round with a blazing time, and the former jockey never backs down from a challenge. She picked up the reins with Japan, and burst from the in-gate with an exhilarating speed. Although Japan may be tiny, his foot speed and time in the air are what set him apart from the rest. They cleared each fence with ease, never once touching a rail, and galloped to the final oxer with an astonishing pace. They tripped the timers in 66.699 seconds, emerging the victors.

"He was just a rock star, I ended up adding with him, but he is just so fast that we were still able to make the time work," Brennan described. "I know how fast he is, and he was able to take five seconds off of the other times. He is just that good."

Brennan concluded, "It was a great speed course, there was a lot of turning, and it was a lot of fun. I thought Phil did a great job, and I look forward to showing Sun Tzu in it this Saturday. I can't put Japan in the Grand Prix, he needs to stay confident. I don't want to break his heart or spirit. I will never risk him getting hurt. He is family. I have had him for two years, and he is my best friend. He means more to me than any man ever could."

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