Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 30, 2018 – The final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued with a full day of hunter derby competition on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday, March 30. Jennifer Hannan and Mindful were victorious in the $15,000 International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go. In the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Open, Jennifer Bliss and Sugarman led the victory gallop, while Daisy Farish and Cinemagic captured the win in the junior/amateur division.
Victory went to Brazil’s Francisco Jose Mesquita Musa (BRA) riding Sharapova Imperio Egipicio in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m CSI5* and there was a win for Irish rider Jordan Coyle aboard Eristov in the $35,000 Wanderers Club 1.45m CSI2* on Friday. WEF continues through April 1 and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
WEF concludes with its twelfth week of competition on March 28-April 1, sponsored by Rolex. The highlight event is the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the WEF International Arena on Saturday, March 31, at 7:45 p.m. WEF wraps up with the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round Two on the grass derby field at 1 p.m., and the $50,000 Wanderers Club Grand Prix CSI 2* and $50,000 CP 1.50m National Grand Prix in the WEF International Arena, on Sunday, April 1.
Thirty-nine competitors took to the field in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Hunt & Go to compete for the blue over Kenny Krome’s 14-fence course. Jennifer Hannan and Mindful, owned by Kensel, LLC, took the lead after earning 355 points with a daring performance around the derby track.
“It’s so exciting out there,” said Hannan. “My horse did his job very well. I like showing on the grass field because I can gallop a lot more, and there are more places to show off. The judges really want to see you move along, so you need a brave horse that you can comfortably do that on. It’s a little daunting for some, but I have a good string of horses that handled it very well.”
The Hunt & Go format is a new addition to the Winter Equestrian Festival and operates similar to a power and speed class in the jumpers. Instead of the top 12 horses being called back after completing their classic round, riders continue into the handy portion of the class immediately following the beginning part of the course without stopping or exiting the arena. Today’s derby field featured a total of 14 fences, with eight fences in the typical classic round and the remaining six in the handy. Four high-options were offered for one additional point each.
“I like this structure for two reasons,” said Hannan. “First, if you have an older horse you can just do one round and be done, which is great for their stamina and age. Second, if you have a younger horse, you can get in the ring and get a feel for things before you speed it up and get going. [The Hunt & Go] mixes it up a little bit, so that it’s not the same monotonous thing all the time.”
Two judging panels gave individual scores encompassing both sections of the course for each rider-horse combination, which were then added together for a combined total to determine final standings.
As the eighth-to-last horse to enter the ring, Hannan received a score of 177 from Panel One and a 178 from Panel Two that edged out Kelley Farmer and her mount, Exceptional, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, by 3.25 points.
Farmer’s total of 352.75 earned her the red ribbon, with a 172.75 from Panel One and a 180 from Panel Two, and Liza Boyd, a three-time USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship winner, secured third aboard S & L Just A Cobbler, an entry of S & L Farms, with scores of 165 and 181, for a combined total of 346.
Hannan’s win aboard the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding followed an impeccable round of swift maneuvers, and the duo made the most of the challenges they were faced with. The two were partnered together over a year ago and have captured two championships at WEF this circuit in the Antares Sellier France High Performance Working Hunter division prior to today’s competition. The professional, of Wakefield, RI, admitted that the gelding’s admirable reputation was originally a bit intimidating, but that two have continued to grow together.
Mindful is an established figure in the show ring with achievements such as being named The Chronicle of the Horse’s Show Hunter of the Year and the USHJA World Championship Hunter Rider Hunter of the Year. He additionally claimed numerous USHJA International Hunter Derby wins and earned honors as the high scoring horse in professional divisions at competitions such as the Devon Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show.
“His achievements were certainly intimidating at first,” said Hannan. “We spent last summer just getting to know each other, and then we started to learn each of our ins and outs bit by bit. After indoors, we were able to take a breath and tune in on certain things, and, since we started the WEF circuit, it has been perfect all the way through.”
Hannan added that she is looking forward to the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals this year, and that she is including the Devon Horse Show in her future plans along with some smaller shows over the summer before the indoor show season.
$15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby “Hunt and Go”
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Jennifer Hannan / Mindful / 177.00 / 178.00 / 355.00
2. Kelley Farmer / Exceptional R1/ 172.75 / 180.00 / 352.75
3. Elizabeth Boyd / S & L Just A Cobbler / 165.00 / 181.00 / 346.00
4. Kelley Farmer / Frosted / 166.50 / 171.00 / 337.50
5. Hannah Isop / Red Ryder / 171.00 / 166.50 / 337.50
6. Jennifer Hannan / Olympic Fire / 172.00 / 162.00 / 334.00
7. Maria Rasmussen / Sidarta / 160.00 / 167.75 / 327.75
8. Keri Kampsen / St Tropez / 154.00 / 173.50 / 327.50
9. Claire Kenna / Corice Z / 162.00 / 164.25 / 326.25
10. Sara Taylor / No Doubt / 158.00 / 160.50 / 318.50
11. Victoria Colvin / Gelato / 149.50 / 164.75 / 314.25
12. Jennifer Bliss / Poker Face / 151.50 / 162.50 / 314.00
Jennifer Bliss and Daisy Farish Take Blue Ribbons in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
Jennifer Bliss, aboard Sugarman, and Daisy Farish, riding Cinemagic, showed their winning ways at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s (PBIEC) Equestrian Village on Friday in their respective sections of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
The class pinned two separate sections, an open section and a junior/amateur section, and ran both simultaneously over a course designed by Kenny Krome of Westminster, MD. All 61 hunter competitors took to the venue’s vast grass field to traverse a first course of eleven fences, with the top twelve riders from each group returning for a second round to determine standings. The leading 24 were faced with ten total fences for their second time on the field, including a trot fence and series of bending lines.
Bliss piloted her mount of four years, Sugarman, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC, to an 84 in the first round and returned to capture the highest score of the handy with a 92, for a combined total of 176 to win the open section of the class. The pair took all four high options in their second round to achieve their top score, with an additional point added for each.
Second went to Schuyler Riley and Golden Glock WS, an entry of Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc., after the pair received an 85 and an 89, for a red-ribbon total of 174, just missing the win by two points. Laura Bowery took the yellow aboard Prince of Thieves, owned by Stormy Good, with an 83 and a 90, the only other score in the 90s, which totaled 173.
Sugarman, an 11-year-old gelding, accompanied the professional to the blue-ribbon in the same class just last year, and Bliss, who is now based here in Wellington, FL, humorously commented on ‘Sugar’s’ consistency on the derby track.
“We were joking with him that he had to defend his title this week,” said Bliss with a laugh. “I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel I’ve never had a horse go poorly over here. This is such a fun field to ride on, and I feel like the horses love it. It’s so nice to have a day like this, especially with a horse like Sugar, who we have had for a long time and have a lot of history with.”
Following a successful stint in the Pre-Green and First Year divisions, and his first-ever time international derby competition at WEF in 2015, Sugar sustained an injury that required a lengthy amount of recovery time. The gelding’s win last year was only his second time back in the show ring following his time off, and today’s blue marked another step in the right direction.
“He really loves this venue,” said Bliss. “We just try to save him and show him sparingly because we have had some bad luck and bumps in the road with him in the past. He is very special to us and, at this point, we are just happy to have him back in form and feeling good, and we are looking forward to having some fun with him again. We will probably just continue to aim for some more national derbies for now, and then, if he continues to feel good, we may step him back up to the international derbies. For now, we are happy just letting him tell us what he wants to do.”
The Junior/Amateur section awarded the blue to Daisy Farish and Cinemagic, owned by Meralex Farm, Inc., who led both cards with an 88 and a 93 to a total of 181, which included eight additional points from all high options.
“I think we really pulled it off,” said the 17-year-old of Versailles, KY. “I don’t do a lot of hunter competition myself because I don’t own any hunters, so whenever I get to ride a special horse like Cinemagic, and we get to do a fun class like this, it’s an amazing experience. We just really wanted to come back strong in the second round, and he was being amazing, so it was up to me to hold it together.”
Farish praised the Westphalian gelding, who has proven himself many times in the Junior Hunter 16-17 division, for his experience in the ring.
“He has kind of been there, done that,” said Farish. “I just started showing him at the beginning of circuit and I have been able to have lots of fun with him. I think that doing all the high options helped me a lot today, but he is also a very handy horse and jumped some of those fences incredibly, so I think that it was ultimately his style that set us apart.”
The second-place ribbon went to Meredith Lipke and her entry, For Love, with an 83 and an 84 from the judges, for a 167 total. John Yozell and Aiden finished third with a total of 166, following a 79 and an 87 from the judges.
$10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Open Section
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Jennifer Bliss / Sugarman / 84.00 / 92.00 176.00
2. Schuyler Riley / Golden Glock WS / 85.00 / 89.00 / 174.00
3. Laura Bowert / Prince Of Thieves / 83.00 / 90.00 / 173.00
4. Audrey Robison / Caliber Z / 81.00 / 86.00 / 167.00
5. Lisa Rex / Fabricio 23 / 83.50 / 83.00 / 166.50
6. Schuyler Riley / Integrity / 80.50 / 85.00 / 165.50
7. Katherine Newman / Castle / 79.00 / 84.00 / 163.00
8. Lisa Richter / Havana / 79.00 / 81.00 / 160.00
9. Cyran Itzkovitz / Endeavor / 83.00 / 72.00 / 155.00
10. Julie Oliver / Bossa Nova / 87.00 / 65.00 / 152.00
11. Rebecca Gibson / Better Than Gold / 74.00 / 70.00 / 144.00
12. Tiffany Hammack / Gt 40 / 85.00 / 85.00
$10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Jr/Am Section
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Daisy Farish / Cinemagic / 88.00 / 93.00 / 181.00
2. Meredith Lipke / For Love / 83.00 / 84.00 / 167.00
3. John Yozell / Aiden, John Yozell / 79.00 / 87.00 / 166.00
4. Stephanie Bulger / Mayfair / 84.00 / 80.00 / 164.00
5. Alliah Kassem / C Beyond / 81.00 / 82.00 / 163.00
6. Hillary Jean / With Gratitude / 82.00 / 79.00 / 161.00
7. Lisa Baugh / Kings Road / 82.00 / 74.00 / 156.0
7. Tracy Thomson / Houdini / 85.00 / 71.00 / 156.00
9. Lisa Butzer / Pure Imagination / 84.50 / 70.00 / 154.50
10. Katarina Muhlhauser / Calvaron / 78.00 / 44.00 / 122.00
11. Siena Vasan / Namesake / 77.50 / 39.00 / 116.50
12. Samantha Karp / Zentina B / 79.00 / 79.00