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Press Release


Penny Brennan and Japan at the Plymouth Rock Hunter/Jumper Classic

Michael Janson and Sangre Azul

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Déjà vu for Penny Brennan as She Captures Open Speed Derby Victory With Japan at Plymouth Rock Classic

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2013-06-20

Halifax, MA – June 20, 2013 – It was only a month ago that Penny Brennan led the victory gallop for the $2,000 Fieldstone Open Speed Derby at the Fieldstone Spring Festival, but today was déjà vu as she once again took the winning title aboard Japan. Riders gathered on the all-grass Grand Prix field at the Fieldstone Show Park to welcome the second day of the Plymouth Rock Hunter/Jumper Classic. It was Brennan who rode to the top of the leader board in the blazing time of 62.259 seconds during the $2,000 Fieldstone Open Speed Derby, while Michael Janson and Sangre Azul took home the first place finish in the $1,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

The $2,000 Fieldstone Open Speed Derby proved to be no easy feat for the field of entrants this afternoon. Phillip DeVita of Apopka, FL, created a course consisting of 12 efforts including the use of a bank, the grob, a oxer-vertical double combination, vertical-vertical combination, and a liverpool. His course gave riders the ability to create many options to slice the seconds and trim the time. The course did not allow for the riders to add any strides, although it did offer the horse and rider combinations with several places to really run and possibly overtake their competition.

“I loved the course, there were no places to leave stride out anywhere, and there were two or three places where you could really run, but the course designer tricked me on the last jump. He made it look easier than it really was, but I thought it was a great speed track. It was great preparation for the Grand Prix on Saturday.”

It was Penny Brenan of Bedford, NY, who took a go at the course first, riding Greater Good. With four faults earned at 5a of the vertical-vertical combination, it seemed as though the riders would have to think on their feet as they navigated the serpentine of obstacles. Brennan concluded the first ride with a time of 64.526 seconds; however, her four faults earned the final time of 68.526 seconds for the third place award.

“That was my first time on Greater Good, he went great,” Brennan smiled. “He is a special little horse, I believe he has the potential to be a 1.60m horse. I have jumped him before over it, so I know he can do it. He is nearly up to 1.50m for competition, but this was my first ride today with him at a show. He was nifty out there. He just keeps going, and his jump is so smooth. That little horse doesn’t need to push, he just jumps, you almost want to jump for him.”

D.J. Volandre was the only other rider out of the field to challenge Brennan’s time. Volandre piloted Tequila, owned by Gina Volandre of Norwell, MA, to a speedy round in 62.755 seconds. Unfortunately the duo earned four faults, tacking on the additional four seconds to their final time. Volandre wore a target on his back as each consecutive contender attempted to best him. His time of 66.755 seconds held solid until Brennan took another try at tackling the track.

Brennan returned to the field with her eye on the prize, taking the reins and chasing Volandre’s time to beat. She posted a time of 70.929 seconds aboard Daredevil, still shy of the first place prize. Brennan also attempted besting Volandre with her more recent mount Sun Tzu. It seemed as though she may have it, using the open areas of the field to shave off the seconds, but a heartbreaking four faults separated her from Volandre’s time, she finished in the fourth place position with a final time of 69.078 seconds.

“Sun Tzu is such a wonderful horse, this is only my second time showing him, and I have only ridden him once since May,” Brennan stated. “I think he has so much potential. I am so happy to be a partner with Johnny Maher when it comes to these horses.”

It wasn’t until Brennan returned upon the 9-year-old bay gelding Japan that the coveted first place came into question. She picked up a fierce speed from the start; taking the opening oxer with ease and making a tidy right turn over the second and third obstacles. She used her horse’s natural stride to open up through the lengthy distances, and sliced several turns in an attempt to push Volandre out of the top spot. Her plan proved successful as she stopped the clock in an astounding 62.259 seconds, winning the $2,000 Fieldstone Open Speed Derby.

“Japan has done seven speed derbies in his life and he has won six of them, and was second in the other one,” Brennan explained. “He loves derbies. This was a little bit of a sweetener for him because he did a couple Grand Prix in a row. Japan does not have to get prepped for a Grand Prix, but these speed derbies are preparation for him. He came out just smiling after his round today; he knows when he has won.”

Brennan continued, “Japan is just the best horse in the world. He loves to run away, and if you don’t let him run away he won’t jump for you. He loves for me to sit at the base. If you see the normal distance, by the time you get there you are six feet too long and he is not a horse that can leave long. He wants to pat the ground really hard. If you give him a normal ride, he can’t even jump three feet—he’s that kind of horse. He really stretches out over the jumps. He has so much scope, he’s like a cat. As long as he’s on those back legs, he can jump the sky.”

Volandre and Tequila were presented with the second place award for their trailblazing round, while Brennan took home the third and fourth place ribbons with Good Call and Sun Tzu, respectively. Brennan also rode to the fifth place position with Daredevil, while Kristen Bumpus and Cupid rounded out the top six.

Earlier in the day the Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers took to the Grand Prix Field for the High and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. Although the riders were separated by height, they faced off for the top awards, as well as the bragging rights. It was Michael Janson and Sangre Azul who made their mark in the division, riding to the top of the rankings with a double-clear effort. Janson navigated Sangre Azul through the opening track in 64.973 seconds, the fastest first round out of the entries. It came as no surprise that their short course was completed with blazing speed. They left all the rails in their cups as they broke the beam in 34.426 seconds.

“I have been working with him since January, and he is such a great horse. He needs a straightforward ride, so if you stay out of his way, he will do his job,” Janson explained. “He is super athletic, and I am really lucky to have him.”

Janson continued, “We were just coming off of Saratoga where we jumped several classes there, and I feel like we are on a roll. We had the momentum we needed today. This was our warm-up class for the Saturday Grand Prix. I really wanted to make this one count, it definitely was important. My win today would not have been possible without the support of PJ Saddles, Inc. They put out amazing equipment, and I would not be where I am without their support.”

The Plymouth Rock Hunter/Jumper Classic will continue tomorrow, where the pony riders will have a chance to showcase their talents in the Pony Hunter Derby, while the $2,500 2’9” Hunter Derby will take place shortly after. Riders are also gearing up for the $25,000 Fieldstone Grand Prix, to take place this Saturday afternoon. For more information on Stadium Jumping and the approaching Fieldstone Summer Showcase, please visit You can also follow the Fieldstone Horse Shows on Facebook at


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