Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 2, 2020 – The penultimate hunter derby of the 2020 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, took place Sunday in Traverse City as the highlight hunter event of Week Five. The class featured a lofty group of 40 entries, with numerous of the previous week’s top performers back again to show off their skills and vie for a share of the prize money. Jumping to the top of the scorecard thanks to two textbook trips, one of which was the highest-scoring round of the day earning 93 points, Tiffany Morrissey and Lisa Berger’s On Your Mark were awarded the lead spot in the lap of honor following the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Headed into the first round of riding, Jacob Pope and Morrissey posed the greatest threat of victory with three horses entered in the class, while Emma Callanan, Owen Gajoch and Hannah Klinedinst each had two mounts apiece. The remainder of the field relied on a single entry. The judges were busy throughout the first round as horse-and-rider combinations consistently turned in respectable rounds that earned 80 points or higher, with scores remaining tight headed into the handy round. The cut-off score for the top 12 qualifiers was 84 points, only six points off of the leaders’ marks of 90, making it anyone’s game.
A little more than halfway through the start list, Pope turned in the highest score of the classic round due to his 90-point trip aboard Chacco Riggo EGV, but Michael Desiderio and King Power were hot on their heels with 89 points. Morrissey and On Your Mark sat in third position with 88 points, and Pope increased his chances of taking home substantial prize money with the fourth-place and fifth-place mounts, J’Adore with 87.50 points and Athos Van Het Poeleind Z with a score of 87. Layla Kurbanov rode Calberon B to sixth in the rankings, boasting 86.50 points.
The handy phase offered combinations a number of spots to showcase their rideability and handiness, with a handful of duos rising to the occasion by improving upon their first-round scores. With only four partnerships left to tackle the track, Pope and Athos Van Het Poeleind Z sat on top with a cumulative score of 178, composed of individual tallies of 87 and 91. Their lead did not last, though, as Kurbanov and Calberon B one-upped the leading pair by a slim margin, adding 92 to their original score of 86.50 to finish on total marks of 178.50. The top spot changed hands once more as Morrissey and On Your Mark laid down the highest single-round score of the day, propelling their total to 181 thanks to a handy score of 93. As the final horse-and-rider qualifier to return, Pope and Chacco Riggo EGV needed 92 points to capture the win. Although they turned in a valiant effort, they could not match the efforts of Morrissey and On Your Mark, solidifying them as the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby victors.
With their win, Morrissey and On Your Mark were honored with the distinction of Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week. Desiderio and King Power, owned by Grace Parker Gara, earned the runner-up honors with 179 points, and Kurbanov and her own Calberon B rounded out the podium spots with a score of 178.50 to finish in third.
Earlier in the day, the Great Lakes Golf Cars Low Adult Hunter division saw its conclusion with Emily Caikoski’s Game On carrying Melissa Caikoski to the championship tricolors. Caikoski and Game On earned point in all five divisional classes, plus added to their success with a top finish in the $500 Great Lakes Golf Cars Low Adult Amateur Hunter Classic, in which they placed second. On Saturday, the pair started well but had ground to make up after a third-place finish and fifth-place result over fences, which kept them in contention but did not grab the early lead. The partnership came back with a vengeance Sunday, winning the under saddle and an over fences class in addition to a third-place ribbon in the final jumping test, which added up to enough to clinch the division title.
The reserve championship went to owner-rider Sabrina Hellman on Forecast. The talented duo earned blue ribbons in two over fences class and bolstered their points with a fifth-place result in a third over fences class to earn the second-most points overall.
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, wrapped up hunter competition for the fifth of six weeks Sunday, but hunter action will return for the last week of the series beginning Wednesday, Aug. 5.
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total
1. On Your Mark / Tiffany Morrissey / Lisa Berger / 88 / 93 | 181
2. King Power / Michael Desiderio / Grace Parker Gara / 89 / 90 | 179
3. Calberon B / Layla Kurbanov / Layla Kurbanov / 86.5 / 92 | 178.5
4. Athos Van Het Poeleind Z / Jacob Pope / Michelle Caroli / 87 / 91 | 178
5. Chacco Ricco EGV / Jacob Pope / Equiluxe Global Ventures / 90 / 79.5 | 169.5
6. Cromwell / Michael Desiderio / Debbie Bianco / 85.250 / 80 | 165.250
7. Iwan / Megan Ghere / Madison Rauschenbach / 84.5 / 79 | 163.5
8. Caesar Augustus / Anneliese Kolaska / Anneliese Kolaska / 85 / 76 | 161
9. Zero Tolerance / Allison Cederberg / Dru Cederberg / 85.5 / 75 | 160.5
10. Casallix / Emma Callanan / Isabella Brougham / 86 / 69 | 155
11. J’Adore / Jacob Pope / Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC / 87.5 / 43 | 130.5
12. Marshall / Ed Copeland / Lisa A Hinson / 84 / 0 | 84