Savannah Hemby and Juju VDM Ride to Top Honors in the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix
As competition at the 2022 Bluegrass Festival Horse Show winded down on Sunday afternoon, top show jumping athletes and their Grand Prix mounts took to the Rolex Stadium one last time to vie for championship honors in the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, sponsored by Audi of Lexington. Unphased by Kentucky’s sunny, rainy, and windy weather, Savannah Hemby topped the class aboard Juju VDM, with Jimmy Torano aboard Chewbacca in second, and his other mount Kochio Z in third.
A total of 30 horse-and-athlete combinations tried their hand at Peter Grant (USA)’s 13-effort course for round one. A tight time allowed of 79 seconds gave many combinations trouble as they picked up time faults on their way around the course. A triple combination, wide oxers, and tall vertical fences posed as tricky places in the course for many. Mattias Ekeroth and Haydee M were third to contest and the first to go clear in 78.091 seconds, just inside the time allowed and proving their strong partnership. Torano and his own Chewbacca, forced a jump-off round by galloping through the timers slightly faster than Ekeroth at 77.033 seconds, starting a clear round trend.