Traverse City, Mich. – July 26, 2020 – Prize money and valuable World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) points were on the line Sunday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, as riders competed in the second $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby of the summer. The last of two WCHR weeks in Traverse City, Week Four saw a field of 30 contenders vie for the champion’s tricolors in the class, with each hoping to conclude the day with a check in hand and a few points closer to the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show later this year. Riding both horses to top-three finishes that included the champion honors, Greg Crolick jockeyed Renaud Farm LLC’s Braavos to first place, then added to his accomplishment with a third-place result in the irons aboard Jon Cotton’s Handwritten.
Out of the field, only one previous derby winner from the 2020 Traverse City series was in the line-up: Maggie Gould and Vida De Roca NPF, the winners of the Week Two $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby during the first WCHR week. The first round kept the judges busy as they routinely handed out scores of 80 or above following the effortless trips laid down by horse-and-rider partnerships. A number of pairs even hit or surpassed the 90-point threshold thanks to their classic round efforts, led by Brian Moggre and Hero with a score of 92 to claim the early frontrunner position. Crolick was just a single point off the lead with a score of 91 aboard Braavos, and Michael Desiderio and Cromwell kept the pressure on the top two pairs with a third-position score of 90, the final combination to hit a tally of 90. Only four points separated the leading six exhibitors following the classic round, meaning the scores would be close as the top 12 returned to the ring for the handy phase, with the cut-off score at 81.
The handy round began with three riders in prime positions to take home a good-sized fraction of the purse after qualifying two horses for the latter portion of riding. In addition to his second-place spot with Braavos, Crolick also piloted Handwritten to fifth position, increasing his odds of victory. Similarly, Desiderio had two mounts in his repertoire, going three-four in the classic round with Cromwell and Zero Tolerance. Though she had some ground to make up, Emma Callahan was still in contention just a few points behind the leading pair in sixth place and seventh place with the reins on Casallix and Gotta Believe, respectively.
With the final two pairs left to ride, Handwritten had carried Crolick to the paramount spot on the scorecard thanks to a second-round score of 90 that propelled the pair to a final score of 179, but Crolick outdid himself on his higher-placed mount, Braavos, with a handy score of 92 for a composite tally of 183, the top earner with only Moggre and Hero left to try the track. Needing 91 points to tie for the lead, the early frontrunners turned in an exemplary effort that earned the eighth score of the day to hit at least 90 points, ultimately garnering 90.75 points for total marks of 182.75 to fall just one-quarter of a point in second place behind Crolick and Braavos, who were crowned the victors. Bookending the top three, Crolick and Handwritten rounded out the podium. For their win, Crolick and Braavos were distinguished as the Platinum Performance Horse of the Week recipients.
Established in 2018, the What A Girl Wants Perpetual Trophy, donated by the Matthies family in honor of their very special pony, is presented to the highest-scoring duo in the Children’s Pony Hunter division during Week IV at GLEF. Iris Perlioni and Sedona, owned by Always Faithful Equine LLC, earned the distinction thanks to their top results in the Children’s Pony Hunter division, in which they also earned the overall reserve championship.
During Sunday’s festivities, Katherine Cotton, who trains with Greg Crolick Stables, was honored as the recipient of the ‘Rafael’ Sportsmanship Perpetual Memorial Trophy, presented by the Gochman family. Established in 2015 by the Gochmans for their beloved pony, Rafael, the trophy was awarded to Cotton as a child on a pony who best displayed love and admiration for her pony partner, and who also exhibited extraordinary sportsmanship to her fellow riders and ponies.
Hunter action wrapped up Sunday for Week Four of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, but hunter partnerships will return to the ring again beginning Wednesday, July 29, for the fifth week of the series.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Greg Crolick – $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby winner
“Braavos is 7 years old and I have had him for about a year and a half now. When I got him we took him to his first jumping show in Wellington in February. He’s been quickly put in the hunters and is really taking to it.”
On his win:
“He was really good today. This is our third week in a row so I left him a little fresh during the week and it didn’t really work for me this week, but today he was absolutely beautiful. He came out on his game and really ready to jump.”
On his future with Braavos:
“I have a bunch of sales horses, so he is one of the sales horses, for sure, but he is really just starting to come into his own in the 3’6’’ divisions and doing national derbies and moving forward to international derbies. If I keep him that’s a great thing, and sometimes they get sold.”
On competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“This is our third week of the series, and we will be coming back for the last two weeks in September. We’re looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a great place to horse show that time of year. I want to thank my owners of the horses who, without them, we wouldn’t be able to have this great stock of horses and be able to show and be here for three weeks – Renaud Farm LLC, Bob Ram and Jon Cotton, and we have a bunch of clients that have their own horses that allow me the privilege to ride their horses and do the best job we can.”
$10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Braavos / Greg Crolick / Renaud Farm LLC / 91 / 92 / 183
2. Hero / Brian Moggre / Marnell Sport Horses / 92 / 90.75 / 182.75
3. Handwritten / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 89 / 90 / 179
4. Cromwell / Michael Desiderio / Debbie Bianco / 90 / 88.5 / 178.5
5. Chacco Ricco EGV / Jacob Pope / Equiluxe Global Ventures / 86.5 / 90.5 / 177
6. Gotta Believe / Emma Callanan / Carly Snyder / 87 / 87 / 174
7. Bon Ami / Maggie Gould / AM Sport Horses South Inc. / 81 / 91 / 172
8. Oti / Isabella Fabrizi / Isabella Fabrizi / 84 / 87.5 / 171.5
9. Undeniable / Katie Kantrovitz / ABA Hunter Ponies / 86 / 85 / 171
10. Casallix / Emma Callanan / Isabella Brougham / 88 / 82 / 170
11. Madewell / Mia Green / Richard Cunkle / 82 / 81 / 163
12. Zero Tolerance / Michael Desiderio / Dru Cederberg / 89.5 / 44 / 133.5