Wellington, Fla. – Mar. 3, 2019 – Some of the nation’s most talented hunter horses and riders gathered at the world-class Deeridge Farms venue on Sunday afternoon for the second and final round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby to conclude Deeridge Derby Weekend, the final leg of the third annual CP Palm Beach Masters Series. Victoria Colvin led the class from start to finish and captured the top prize for the second year in a row, this time aboard Meralex Farms’ El Primero. The pair remained in top form after winning the classic round on Saturday ahead of 41 other pairs.
Taking place in the expansive grass ring, riders aimed to outshine the pack on Saturday afternoon in order to earn a qualifying spot in Sunday’s handy round. Instead of the traditional format where the top 12 pairs returned for the handy phase, 25 combinations were invited back in reverse order for one final ride. A score of 147.5 marked the cut-off from Saturday’s classic round, with Colvin and El Primero heading the leaderboard with a first round score of 186. Havens Schatt and Caroline Moran’s Mostly Sunny sat in second place going into the second round with 181 points and Liza Boyd piloted Maggie Hill’s Tradition to third in the rankings with an initial score of 180.
The weekend’s two judging panels consisted of Linda Hough and Susie Schoellkopf, as well as Timmy Kees and Chance Arakelian. The course was created by American course designer Philip DeVita and featured nine fences set at 3’9” in height, with three high-option fences, a two-stride and a trot jump.
As the seventh pair in the ring, Kelley Farmer and the 7-year-old gelding Consent had a stellar round which included tackling all high-options. Both judging panels praised Farmer’s efforts by awarding her ride with scores of 80 and 85 plus 15 combined handy points for a total of 355. The pair would maintain their lead for a portion of the class until Jennifer Hannan and the well-known hunter Mindful, owned by Kensel LLC, tried their efforts over the course and successfully navigated two high-options to earn 84 and 86 on the judge’s scorecards with 17 combined handy points for a total of 363.50 points.
Farmer would reclaim her lead and bump Hannan out of contention for the first place ribbon one trip later aboard another one of her entries, Closing Statement, also owned by David Glefke. Judges deemed Farmer’s round worthy of scores of 70 and 85.5 in addition to 13 combined handy points for a final score of 352.25. Next to take the lead, Tiffany Hammack rode Diane Giard’s Singular Sensation to scores of 86 and 83.5 plus 10 combined handy points for a composite score of 355.50.
Returning to the ring again, Hannan piloted Patricia Fulchino’s 11-year-old stallion Best Regards to 82 and 85.75 plus 8 points for handiness to end up with a total of 364.25 to take over the top spot. Farmer trotted in the ring aboard her third entry of the day, Christel Weller’s Enchanted, next. While she has only had the ride on the mare from Erynn Ballard since last week, the pair laid down an exceptional round including all three high-options to earn scores of 88 and 87 as well as 14 combined handy points to finish with 372.75 in total.
Fourth to last in the order, Tracey Fenney piloted MTM Farm’s MTM Outbid to a near-perfect round, successfully navigating all three high-options to earn scores of 87 and 89 with 17 combined handy points for a grand total of 377.5. Schatt and Mostly Sunny, who finished in second place in Saturday’s classic round behind Colvin and El Primero, returned to give it another shot and jumped two of the high-options. Their performance earned them scores of 85 and 86.5 plus 16 combined handy points.
No stranger to pressure, Colvin was the final entrant in the ring aboard El Primero, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who was previously ridden by professional Louise Serio. Colvin won the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the 2018 Deeridge Derby Weekend aboard hunter sensation Private Practice, owned by Brad Wolf, and the newly-turned professional was leading the class after winning Saturday’s classic round and was eager to defend her title. Despite not being able to watch any trips beforehand, Colvin aimed to simply have a smooth and flowing handy round. Colvin knew she had to show off her mount’s handiness if she wanted to stay on top after they had an unfortunate swap at the second fence, so she executed an inside turn to the trot fence, and the judges took notice.
Ultimately, El Primero lived up to his name and earned scores of 82 and 87.75 plus 17 combined handy points after his outstanding round to take home the top prize with a grand total of 378.75, just 1.25 points ahead of the second place finishers, Farmer and Enchanted. Fenney and MTM Outbid settled for third place honors behind Colvin and Farmer.
Sunday afternoon’s $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby closed out this year’s Deeridge Derby Weekend as the third and final leg of the CP Palm Beach Masters Series.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Victoria Colvin – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby winner
On her ride with El Primero:
“He actually had great energy today. I think he jumped as best he could have. At the first jump I was waiting for him to come down because he jumped so high. I had an unfortunate swap as the second jump, so after that I thought I had to be really handy. I wasn’t planning on going inside to the trot jump, but after the swap I knew I had to. He went great and was wonderful. I didn’t really get a chance to watch anybody else go, so I was just planning on going around nicely. The plan was just to have a smooth handy, and we stuck to that plan.”
On how she got the ride on El Primero:
“Louise Serio rode him before, and I had actually ridden a couple horses for Bryan Baldwin last year and it went well, so this year they just asked me to sit on him. I didn’t think I would actually get to ride him, so I’m really excited to be able to show him.”
On winning the event two years in a row:
“It feels really nice. I would have loved if Private Practice could have been in here because I think he loves the grass and this venue is so beautiful, but all of the horses are great out in the field. They aren’t used to the field really in the hunters, so it’s great to have an opportunity like this.”
Tracy Fenney – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby second place
On splitting the class into two rounds over two days:
“Personally, I think it is good and bad. Obviously you have to compete against 25 again, but I think a lot of times if someone does have a rail down when it is only the top 12, then it really weeds a lot of them out because they do have jumps come down sometimes. I came last year and I came again because it is so beautiful. The horses do rise to the occasion out here, and very rarely do we get the opportunity to ride on grass ever. It’s really fun to come out here in the field.”
On her ride with MTM Outbid:
“I knew I had the stars coming after me, so I just had to go for it. I had quite a bit to make up from yesterday, so I figured I had nothing to lose. You have to give it your all and do everything you can. My horse jumped the trot jump and almost turned inside the last jump, so that was a little bit awkward for me because I had to make sure he stayed out, but overall I was super happy with him.”
Kelley Farmer – $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby third place
On the Deeridge Derby event:
“I think I speak for all of us when I say we love having our horses being able to jump on this field, and what an opportunity it is for the derbies. To have stand-alone classes and to have people come and watch the hunters is so nice because it keeps people interested in our sport. The horses love the change of venue and appreciate not having to go to the same ring every week. As much as we like fresh places, they do, too.”
Katie Robinson – President of the Deeridge Derby
On why she created the Deeridge Derby:
“The hunters have been a passion of my father and I for my whole life. The derbies are fantastic. They are exciting to watch and fun. I love the competition and these three at the top today are amazing. Without amazing talented horses and riders, we wouldn’t be able to do something like this. We have such a strong group of horses and riders that it is fun to showcase it. It has always been a dream of ours, and I feel really fortunate to be able to host this event. I thank everybody, particularly our sponsors, but most especially our competitors because they really put on a great show today.”
$50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Horse / Rider / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. El Primero / Victoria Colvin / 186 / 192.75 / 378.75
2. MTM Outbid / Tracy Fenney / 178.50 / 199 / 377.50
3. Enchanted / Kelley Farmer / 177.75 / 195 / 372.75
4. Mostly Sunny / Havens Schatt / 181 / 191.50 / 372.50
5. Best Regards / Jennifer Hannan / 174.50 / 189.75 / 364.25
6. Mindful / Jennifer Hannan / 172.50 / 191 / 363.50
7. Singular Sensation / Tiffany Hammack / 170 / 185.5 / 355.50
8. Consent / Kelley Farmer / 169 / 186 / 355
9. Closing Statement / Kelley Farmer / 177.75 / 174.50 / 352.25
10. Gabriel / Victoria Colvin / 172 / 175.50 / 347.50
11. Last Word / Megan Murray-Tenuta / 153.50 / 181 / 334.50
12. Believe / Hannah Isop / 149.50 / 185 / 334.50