Wellington, Fla. – March 1, 2019 – For the third leg of the Palm Beach Masters series, Deeridge Farm traded show jumpers for hunters as competitors took to the spacious grass arena for Deeridge Derby Weekend. There were 31 competitors that contested Phil DeVita’s (USA) track for a chance to win Friday’s $2,500 USHJA International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake. Operating under the classic format without a handy round, horses and riders only had one shot to impress the judges. It was Kelley Farmer aboard Christel Weller’s Enchanted that came out on top to prove that the one chance was all they needed to claim the first place.
Unlike most hunter derbies, no high option fences were available for accumulating added points, leveling the playing field. The expansive field offered contenders plenty of room to show off their skills over DeVita’s 10-effort course, including a natural trot fence, stand-alone single fences, and a combination coming home to end the course with style.
Victoria Colvin and Bryan Baldwin’s El Primero took the early lead in the class, navigating a smooth round to earn a score of 86. Later in the line-up, Peter Pletcher would attempt to take over Colvin’s leading spot but fell just short with a score of 85.5 aboard Forget Me Not Farm’s Unbelievable to set himself in second. Heading into the final third of the class, Farmer and Enchanted narrowly edged out Colvin’s score to nab the first place position earning an 88 from the judging panel.
Those that followed Farmer could not match her impressive score. The top three would remain the same for the remainder of the class, with second place ultimately being awarded to Colvin and El Primero. Rounding out the top three in the class was Pletcher aboard Unbelievable.
While it was not made obvious by their solid round, it was only a week ago that Farmer received the ride on Enchanted. The eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood is being shown by Farmer as a sale horse for Erynn Ballard, and Friday marked the pair’s first win together. Though the partnership is still new, Farmer and Enchanted are already proving that they are ones to watch in the hunter arena.
Deeridge Derby Weekend will continue through Sunday, with round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby spearheading the highlighted events Saturday, March 2. Spectators can also look forward to the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, set to kick-off Saturday at 9:00 a.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Kelley Farmer – $2,500 USHJA International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake winner
“To be totally honest, that was the first class that I’ve shown her in. She belongs to a customer of Erynn Ballard and she’s for sale so Erynn sent her to us to sell. She’s eight-years-old, and she’s such a lovely mare. I jumped her on Tuesday as a schooling day over at the [Winter Equestrian Festival] (WEF), and she was lovely and I jumped her one day at the farm but I think she came in the middle of the week last week. She’s exactly like Erynn told me, she’s brave, straightforward, she can jump anything, she is a lovely mare. I don’t foresee us having her very long, I foresee her getting sold very quickly, but in the meantime, she’s a lovely horse to ride! She’s big strided, she’s scopey, she’s brave, she’s light in the mouth, she’s certainly my type, and she’s gotten a really good foundation.”
On competing at the Deeridge Derby:
“What couldn’t you like here? The field is beautiful, they do a great job. For today, for the first day, the course was very inviting and I think it gave us an idea of horses that may be a little too green for tomorrow. I don’t think it made anyone nervous and I thought [Phil DeVita] did a lovely job. It’s a nice change here and we’re big fans of showing on the grass and the standalone jumps.”
On working with Erynn Ballard:
“Whenever we have horses in two different places, Erynn has come in and shown horses for us. A lot of Erynn’s hunter horses come from us. Erynn does a beautiful job, and it’s very easy with Erynn because it’s very interchangeable.”
$2,500 USHJA International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / Score
1. Kelley Farmer / Enchanted / Christel Weller / 88
2. Victoria Colvin / El Primero / Bryan Baldwin / 86
3. Peter Pletcher / Unbelievable / Forget Me Not Farm / 85.5
4. Kelley Farmer / Closing Statement / David Glefke / 85
5. Hannah Isop / Believe / Victoria Hart / 84
6. Victoria Colvin / Gabriel / JT Farm / 83
7. Jennifer Hannan / Mindful / Kensel LLC / 80
8. Maggie Hill / O’Ryan / Maggie Hill / 76
9. Tiffany Hammock / Singular Sensation / Diane Giard / 75
10. Meredith Lipke / For Love / Meredith Lipke / 73