There were 26 entries in the $25,000 Direct Energy Derby 1.45m, but only one was able to find the path to a clear round. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) rode Fineman, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Feliciano x Beach Boy, to a quick round with no faults in 112.098 seconds. Fineman is owned by Sweetnam's Sweet Oak Farm and he only started riding him three weeks ago.
With just one time fault, Katie Dinan and Couletto K James placed second in 124.489 seconds. Third place went to Andres Rodriguez (VEN) with Elatrice, who had four faults in 110.516 seconds. The course was designed by Anthony D'Ambrosio and featured 17 numbered obstacles.
Fineman was previously ridden by Sweden's Maria Gretzer. After arriving in the United States where Sweetnam is based, he and Sweetnam showed in Kentucky, placing third in the grand prix. Sweetnam arrived at Spruce Meadows on Wednesday.
Sweetnam believes this week is also Fineman's first experiences in the derby competitions. He said, "Maria had him since he was a young horse and did a great job producing him. He's been very consistent. He'd only done 1.45m before I got him. He's already done now two grand prix in Kentucky and he placed in both of them, and they were both 1.50m. He's got a great brain for the job, so it makes life a lot easier for me."
Fineman easily handled today's course with fluidity, and although the grob was the second to last obstacle on a long course, Sweetnam was thinking more about the final oxer. "The last fence I was little bit worried about. I think a lot of people struggled with it. It was a big oxer and the horses were tired at that stage and flat. But he jumped it very, very well," he said.
Sweetnam is aiming Fineman for the $140,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby next week. "It's a different story, but I think he's a very good horse so hopefully we can have a go at it. He has a lot of ability," Sweetnam said.
Of his victory, he commented, "It's great to get a win here early on. Hopefully it will set the tone for the rest of the weeks."
Final Results: $25,000 Direct Energy Derby 1.45m
1. FINEMAN: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Feliciano x Beach Boy
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 0/112.098
2. COULETTO K JAMES: 1996 Hanoverian gelding by Continue x Zeus
KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 1/124.489
3. ELATRICE: 2004 Belgian Warmblood mare by Toulon x Major de la Cour
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 4/110.516
4. TWISTHER: 2000 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Farmer
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/110.758
5. UATA: 2001 KWPN mare by Heartbreaker x Zuidhorn
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Cloverleaf Farm: 4/111.697
6. CYKLON 1083: 2001 Swedish Warmblood stallion by Cardento x Cortus
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm: 4/115.109
7. LUCKY LORD 20: 2002 Bayerische gelding by Lux Z x Lord Z
JENNIFER GODDARD (USA), Ahlmann Sportpferde GmbH: 4/123.161
8. SKARA GLEN'S BASEL: 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quick Star x Quatoubet du Rouet
GABRIELA MERSHAD (USA), Mershad Stables: 5/127.087
9. PLAYER DU QUESNOY: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Ogano Sitte x Nabab de Reve
CAMERON HANLEY (IRL), Eleonore Paschoude & Yves Bouvier: 8/110.123
10. WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z
MCLAIN WARD (USA), The Wannahave Group: 8/110.683
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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