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Press Release


Liza Boyd and Brunello

Liza Boyd and Brunello

Kelley Farmer and Mindful

Sandy Ferrell and El Primero

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Liza Boyd, Kelley Farmer, and Sandy Ferrell Lead the Way in Day One of the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final

Written by: Elaine Wessel
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2015-08-14

Lexington, KY – August 14, 2015 – The question of impending retirement has been in the air recently for 17-year-old chestnut Brunello, famously ridden by Liza Boyd to two USHJA International Derby Championships in the last two years, but the elder horse put those rumors to rest in the Rolex Stadium Friday as he earned three top marks above 90 for a cumulative score of 287 to secure the lead after the Classic Round. Kelley Farmer and Mindful, one of Farmer’s numerous mounts of the day, closely trail the current frontrunners headed into the second day of competition, featuring the handy round. Sandy Ferrell, having just come off a reserve showing in the Pre-Green Incentive Finals Thursday, kept her momentum going by clinching the third position with El Primero ahead of the 76 other entries.

“I think we can say that he is not retired. That is a question I have gotten a lot this year and I don’t think he wants to be retired. He just felt like he was six years old again,” Boyd gushed. “The horse is amazing. I will never have a horse like this again. I get a little emotional about him. He tries so hard, he loves what he does and he makes my life so easy. He is just really, really special; I can’t thank him enough.”

Although Brunello, co-owned by Boyd and Janet Peterson, has a few more notches in his belt than his younger counterparts, Boyd feels that the Hanoverian horse is still in great shape, which can be attributed to the training and fitness regimen she keep him on at home in Landrum, South Carolina. She credited lots of trail riding, treadmill workouts, turnout, and double rides on some days as their secret weapons to keeping him looking and feeling his best, a recipe that has shown successful.

“We do really focus on fitness, and this horse doesn’t have to show super often. The week before I locked him up in the stall and barely did anything with him. He had a massage, and I had a facial,” Boyd laughed. “I wanted him to be as fresh as possible.”

The winning pair laid down a stellar trip, proving that the best was saved for last as the final in the order to go over designer Steve Stephens’ classic round track, which presented riders with 13 efforts to show off their talents. Four fences offered high and low height options, giving competitors a chance to earn up to 12 additional points, four from each of the three judges, to their score. Boyd and Brunello opted for all the high options, contributing to their seamless round.

“I think it [the course] is typical Steve [Stephens]. You walk it and it seems pretty straight forward, but you get out there and they get a little wiggly, the horses don’t know where they are. It isn’t so much the height or that he didn’t test us with a lot of numbers. We only had one line. It was really where he placed the jumps,” Boyd said. “Even starting out with fence one, they didn’t expect the jump to be there, it was away from the in gate. He definitely placed them in tricky spots, but it was very rideable for a young horse and kept an old horse enthusiastic and sharp. Once again, he did an unbelievable job.”

As the two-time defending champions, Boyd and Brunello felt the pressure headed into the ring, but did not exude any of that anxiety to the crowd or, more importantly, the judges. The duo’s 287 score was pieced together of 90.5, 91.5, and 93.0 scores from the judges, plus the bonus 12 earned due to the high fence options.

“Last year was a thousand times less stress. I think I should have another baby before next year because last year I was just hoping to hold on and have fun. This year was a lot more stress, my palms are still sweating. I was super nervous,” Boyd reflected.

Currently in the reserve position, hometown rider Kelley Farmer aboard veteran mount Mindful, owned by Larry Glefke and Kensel, LLC, are hot on the heels of Boyd and Brunello, only a singular point behind the current leaders. She and the black gelding Mindful have an impressive résumé together, having accrued lifetime prize money topping $97,000, of which $65,000 was won this year alone.

“I can’t say enough about that horse. He is a fantastic horse, and he went beautifully today. I hope it goes the same tomorrow. I made some mistakes on some of the others, but the course was nice and the horses went well,” Farmer said.

Farmer also earned a stop amongst the frontrunners in the saddle aboard Dalliance, who is owned by Avatar Real Estate, LLC out of Coral Gables, Florida. The pair rode to a 276.600 score to claim the sixth position headed into the handy round.

On the opposite side of the age spectrum from Brunello sits El Primero, the 6-year-old bay stallion navigated to third in the standings by Sandy Ferrell of Bernville, Pennsylvania. The talkative horse whinnied all the way around the ring, but that did not detract from the strong performance as he proved to not only talk the talk, but also walked the walk to the tune of a 280.250 score in his first Derby Finals.

“He is a newcomer to the derby world. He just turned six this year, and he is a baby, and must be the youngest out there. I think that we are just seeing the beginning of his career. He was a little bit talkative out there today, I think he was wondering where his friends went because he couldn’t see anybody. He was talking all the way around the ring,” Ferrell said.

El Primero, owned by Bryan Baldwin and Meralex Farm of Brandon, Florida, is known as ‘Sexy’ outside the ring and was imported from Europe as a jumper, but smoothly transitioned into the hunter ring, where he has shined under the tutelage of Louise Serio.

“As a horseman, you are going to fall in love with that horse. Whether it is his look, his athletic ability is endless, his desire to perform is endless. He is an amazing horse, and I think great things are only yet to come,” Farrell commented. “It is rare that a horse comes out of the jumper ring in Europe and plops into the hunter ring and off we go. He is just an incredible animal. He has such a wise soul. He is so in control of everything.”

The top six horse and rider partners are separated by 11 points headed into Saturday’s handy phase. Trying to surpass the top three will be Cassanto, ridden by Brady Hamilton and owned by Emily Perez of Pittsofrd, New York, the current fourth place contenders, as well as Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan of Buffalo, New York, who rank fifth. Alfano also claimed the seventh and eighth position with Maggie May, owned by Billie Steffee of Noelty, Ohio, and Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms Inc. of Buffalo, New York. Farmer and Dalliance round out the top six.

Tomorrow the hunters will return to the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Handy Round, which serves as the USHJA International Hunter Derby Final during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.

For more information about the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, please visit For information on Derby Finals, please visit

                                           Round         High                
Pl Nbr  Horse        Rider                 Judge  Score Bonus  Options Round  Final
1   1166 BRUNELLO     ELIZABETH BOYD        R1/J1   90.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   91.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   93.00         4.00 287.00 287.00
2   1089 MINDFUL      KELLEY FARMER         R1/J1   92.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   92.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   90.00         4.00 286.00 286.00
3   900 EL PRIMERO   SANDY FERRELL         R1/J1   91.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   88.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   88.75         4.00 280.25 280.25
4   1421 CASSANTO     BRADY MITCHELL        R1/J1   86.75         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   88.70         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   92.00         4.00 279.45 279.45
5   185 MISS LUCY    JENNIFER ALFANO       R1/J1   88.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   88.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   89.00         4.00 277.00 277.00
6   1088 DALLIANCE    KELLEY FARMER         R1/J1   88.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   88.80         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   87.30         4.00 276.60 276.60
7   188 MAGGIE MAY   JENNIFER ALFANO       R1/J1   90.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   89.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   85.50         4.00 276.50 276.50
8   182 JERSEY BOY   JENNIFER ALFANO       R1/J1   85.75         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   89.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   86.75         4.00 274.00 274.00
9   904 CHAPMAN ET   ADRIENNE IVERSON      R1/J1   87.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   87.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   86.50         4.00 273.50 273.50
10  1744 SAY WHEN     DARCY HAYES           R1/J1   87.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   86.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   88.00         4.00 273.00 273.00
11  828 RED RYDER    HANNAH ISOP           R1/J1   87.25         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   85.20         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   88.50         4.00 272.95 272.95
12  1223VAILLERO     VICTORIA COLVIN       R1/J1   86.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   84.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   87.00         4.00 269.00 269.00
13  1135BOWIE        COURTNEY CALCAGNN     R1/J1   84.75         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   85.90         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   86.30         4.00 268.95 268.95
14  899 TEMPTATION   LOUISE SERIO          R1/J1   84.25         3.00   
                                           R1/J2   87.00         3.00   
                                           R1/J3   87.50         3.00 267.75 267.75
15  278 MONTERREY    KELLI CRUCIOTTI       R1/J1   84.50         3.00   
                                           R1/J2   84.50         3.00   
                                           R1/J3   86.00         3.00 264.00 264.00
16  674 LOXLEY       AMANDA STEEGE         R1/J1   85.25         3.00   
                                           R1/J2   84.20         3.00   
                                           R1/J3   85.35         3.00 263.80 263.80
17  970 CANDOR 15    PETER WYLDE           R1/J1   85.00         3.00   
                                           R1/J2   82.50         3.00   
                                           R1/J3   87.25         3.00 263.75 263.75
18  748 AUTUMN RHYTHMSLOANE COLES          R1/J1   86.50         2.00   
                                           R1/J2   85.50         2.00   
                                           R1/J3   85.00         2.00 263.00 263.00
19  408 LUXE         PETER PLETCHER        R1/J1   80.25         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   86.20         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   84.50         4.00 262.95 262.95
20  1226LIKEWISE     VICTORIA COLVIN       R1/J1   79.00         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   85.70         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   85.75         4.00 262.45 262.45
21  260 ANSWER ME THIBRADY MITCHELL        R1/J1   80.75         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   82.30         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   82.50         4.00 257.55 257.55
22  781 CELLINO      MARTIEN VAN DER H     R1/J1   82.00         2.00   
                                           R1/J2   82.00         2.00   
                                           R1/J3   86.25         2.00 256.25 256.25
23  901 CALIBUR TRAILSANDY FERRELL         R1/J1   80.00         3.00   
                                           R1/J2   85.00         3.00   
                                           R1/J3   82.00         3.00 256.00 256.00
24  492 COMANCHE     MEGAN YOUNG           R1/J1   83.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J2   76.50         4.00   
                                           R1/J3   83.00         4.00 255.00 255.00
25  616 CORVINE      PIPER BENJAMIN        R1/J1   84.00         2.00   
                                           R1/J2   80.50         2.00   
                                           R1/J3   81.75         2.00 252.25 252.25


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