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Meagan Nusz and Vesuvius Victorious in $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at Kentucky Spring Classic

RELEASE: May 20, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Meagan Nusz and Vesuvius (Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International)
Meagan Nusz and Vesuvius (Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International)
Lexington, KY
- The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows came to a close Sunday with amateur rider Meagan Nusz claiming her second major victory.  During the 16-horse jump-off in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic, Nusz piloted Vesuvius to the winning clear time to lead the victory gallop during the Kentucky Spring Classic. Ramiro Quintana of Argentina was hot on her heels, qualifying three mounts for the tiebreaker and scoring second and third with Ollywood Des Horts and Ziedento, respectively.

Thirty-nine entries showed over Conrad Homfeld's first round course, which mimicked portions of last night's grand prix with multiple bending lines and sharp bending line. There was also a challenging triple combination and technical vertical-vertical double combination. Sixteen of the original starters managed to master the 1.45m track and advance to the jump-off. The short course began with an oxer-vertical line before riders had to rollback to a skinny vertical to an oxer. After galloping across the ring over two more obstacles the qualifiers had to speed toward the final fence with precision.

Ramiro Quintana was the pathfinder over the first course aboard Ziedento, owned by St. Bride's Farm of Upperville, VA, and he managed to match the effort as the first in the jump-off. The duo easily maneuvered over all of the fences, setting the time to beat at 42.258 seconds, which would be good enough for third.

Fernando Cardenas had the next clear round with Quincy Car, but they ended up with the most conservative faultless time in 43.729 seconds for fifth place. Canada's Ian Millar came very close to taking Quintana's early lead with Baranns, but fell just 2/10ths of a second short. The clear effort would pick up the fourth place award.

Meagan Nusz and Vesuvius, owned by Amalaya Investments of Houston, TX, would produce the next double clear effort, and they had their eye on the winning pace. Easily making the rollback to the skinny vertical, they were able to handily gallop across the middle of the ring before leaving a stride out to the last obstacle. The pair dashed through the timers in 41.462 seconds to claim the victory.

The only other rider to come close to catching them was Quintana with his other mount, Ollywood Des Horts, owned by Remarkable Farms of New York, NY. The duo added to the final fence to leave it intact, but the careful approach proved costly with a time of 41.718, which was just 3/10ths of a second shy of the leader for second place.

"With my first horse Ziedento, I was trying to lay down a trip where it was as fast as I could go without knocking down a rail, and put pressure on the other riders coming behind me," explained Quintana. "I knew I could go faster with Ollywood. I watched Meagan's round, and I was neat to one and two and did a good turn back to skinny. I was pretty right on it until the last jump. I did an extra stride there because I felt the horse hadn't really sighted on the jump, and I wanted to gather him a bit. I didn't feel like I could leave the stride out, and that's where I think I lost the class."

One other competitor managed to leave all the jumps up, but clocked in over the time allowed. Marcelo Barros chose a conservative route with Lordes to trip the timers at 50.558 seconds, for two time faults and sixth place. Nusz also went home with the seventh place award after having just four faults in the jump-off with her second mount Dyanmo to claim the seventh place honors, as well as the win.

"Vesuvius is naturally a super fast horse, so I didn't have to push him out of his element too much in the jump-off," stated Nusz. "Usually, if I can just get a good distance at the first fence and stay on that pace, I can pretty much match any round and then shave off a little bit here and there. Luckily for me I have a super careful horse that I can push a little for the speed, and he's always going to try and stay clean. Other horses can get a little frantic when they are going that quickly, but I just to get cruise around. He loves it; he loves going fast."

Nusz has been partnered with Vesuvius for two years and won the Amateur-Owner Jumper National Championship in 2012. "I get along with him really well, he's so much fun to ride," she expressed. "Every time you go in the ring you can't help but smile when you come out because he's such a trier and he's always looking to be a winner for himself and for me, which is a really nice feeling. This year I've kind of moved out of the amateurs and have been trying to do more of these types of classes and some speed classes. I am trying to do more with him now and push myself too. I'm learning and it's exciting when I win because it's my first time to do all of this. I'm thrilled, I am really happy."

Although Nusz won the $75,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix last week, they were not as lucky Saturday night and Sunday's victory came at just the right moment. "Yesterday I had a terrible day with Dynamo, and we were so frantic when we went in the ring that I had a number of rails," she admitted. "It's so funny in this sport how you go from hero to zero, so that was a little bit hard on me. I had to move on to today and I am really happy that I was able to go in with Vesuvius and Dynamo and have really, really good rounds. I needed to end the show this way and not the way I ended last night, so I am really excited."

Nusz has used the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows to help prepare for Spruce Meadows, and it very happy to have classes like the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic available. "It's nice to have a class that 's worth a lot of money that you can show your second and third string horses in and still have a chance to go in and win and get a little bit of money," she commented. "Vesuvius can't go in and do those bigger grand prix classes, but this is perfect for him. They've done an excellent job with all the big classes at this show."

The High Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumper Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics were held later in the day. The Amateur-Owner Jumpers saw four double clear efforts, with Wilton Porter piloting Neolistio Van Het Mierenhof to the win for Sleepy P Ranch of Bartonville, TX. Canada's Jordan MacPherson and Aanwinst claimed second, Kenzie Donovan of River Hills, WI, placed third with Boomerang, and Leah DeMartini rounded out the faultless efforts in the jump-off with True Love for Elm Rock LLC of Bronxville, NY.  In the High Junior Jumper Classic, there were no double clear rounds, but Sophie Simpson had the fastest four fault round in the jump-off aboard Chico's Girl, owned by Katherine Gallagher of Medfield, MA. Kady Abrahamson of Loveland, OH, followed in second with Irish Hunt.

Sunday marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Classic, but in July competition will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Kentucky Summer Series. Throughout July and August, riders will have the opportunity to compete in top-notch hunter/jumper events, and also try to earn valuable points toward the $50,000 Hagyard Challenge Series' Leading Rider Bonus, and the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonuses available during the Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby Series.

RESULTS: $20,000 Bluegrass Classic
1    185    VESUVIUS     MEAGAN NUSZ     0    0    0    77.346    0    0    0    41.462       
2    1190    OLLYWOOD DES HORTS     RAMIRO QUINTANA     0    0    0    78.426    0    0    0    41.718       
3    831    ZIEDENTO     RAMIRO QUINTANA     0    0    0    80.487    0    0    0    42.258       
4    857    BARANNS     IAN MILLAR     0    0    0    77.318    0    0    0    42.477       
5    951    QUINCY CAR     FERNANDO CARDENAS     0    0    0    82.232    0    0    0    43.729       
6    1282    LORDES     MARCELO BARROS     0    0    0    80.953    0    2    2    50.558       
7    188    DYNAMO     MEAGAN NUSZ     0    0    0    79.299    4    0    4    40.958       
8    147    SORAYA DE L'OBSTINATION     REED KESSLER     0    0    0    75.413    4    0    4    42.687       
9    976    CARMINA     ANDREW BOURNS     0    0    0    76.068    4    0    4    43.404       
10    656    AMIGO     ANGEL KAROLYI     0    0    0    77.564    4    0    4    45.460       
11    843    LARGO     RAMIRO QUINTANA     0    0    0    77.573    4    0    4    45.631       
12    377    EVITA VAN'T PARADIJS     COLIN SYQUIA     0    0    0    78.690    4    0    4    45.984

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