Del Mar, CA - A gorgeous sunset framed Emma Waldfogel's win aboard her own King's Peak in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Showpark Racing Festival. The pair gave a solid performance in the Classic Round, but clinched the win with a gorgeous Handy Round. It was the talented amateur rider's first derby win.
The two judging panels were made up of the honorable Chris Wayne and Liz Applebaum on Panel 1, and Bucky Reynolds and Andrea Woldy on Panel 2. For the Classic Round, Panel 1 provided the tiebreaker points. For the Handy Round, Panel 2 provided the tiebreakers.
Twenty-one riders competed over the course set by Joe Lombardo, with well over half the class choosing to take two, three or all four of the high options for extra points. Junior rider Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg, fresh off her win in the U.S. Junior Hunter National Championship - West Coast, went first on Faraon and earned an impressive 175, including three high options. Nicole Haunert topped that score on Paul Haunert's Ninja, earning a 176. Kelly Van Vleck, aboard Linda Freeman's Stanley F, going towards the end of the order, earned a 177 to win the Classic Round.
Six professionals, two amateurs, and one junior returned for the Handy Round. With a tight turn immediately following the first fence, a trot fence early on, and the final white skinny plank filled in with greenery, the challenges created a change in the placings for quite a few riders. Many of the riders chose the high option, which seemed to catch some of the horses off guard. Five of the twelve rides had a rail or stopped at the final fence.
The top five Handy performances were very impressive, with well-executed, tight turns, relaxed and forward rhythms, and flowing distances. In a complete shakeup of the rankings, Van Fleck had a rail at the planks, losing her first place position. Jamie Taylor, on Marion Lowry's Patton, moved from the last position to second, earning an 88 and 85, with fifteen handy bonus points, for a total score of 338.
Nineteen-year-old Waldfogel and King's Peak were sitting fifth after the Classic Round. The pair wowed the crowd with a nearly picture-perfect Handy ride. Taking three of the four high options, she guided King's Peak around the course with poise seemingly beyond her years.
"I've had him for two-and-a-half years now," she says of her mount, whose barn name is Odin. "He's really forgiving." She plans to compete with King's Peak at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington next month, and stay East to attend the prestigious Hampton Classic. Soon afterwards, the pair will head to Indoors, before Waldfogel travels to Scotland to attend the University of St. Andrews.
The Showpark Racing Festival highlights conclude today with the $40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by EQ Almanac.
For more information visit www.showpark.com
$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - 1st Round/2nd Round/Total Score
1. 330 - King's Peak - Emma Waldfogel - Emma Waldfogel - 167/187/354
2 - 326 - Patton - Jamie Taylor - Marion Lowry - 150/188/338
3 - 111 - Freedom C - Katrina Karazissis - Vicky Dimitri - 159/177/336
4 - 841 - Copado - Michael Leon - Pinon West, LLC - 167.5/167.5/335
5 - 216 - Ninja - Nicole Haunert - Paul Haunert - 176/155/331
6 - 701 - Constantin - Emma Waldfogel - Emma Waldfogel - 156/172/328
7 - 303 - Stanley F - Kelly Van Vleck - Linda Freeman - 177/110/287
8 - 105 - Lugano - Joie Gatlin - Alexis Meadows - 160/100/260
9 - 526 - Easy Company - Tiffany Sullivan - Haley Farms, LLC - 160/95/255
10 - 643 - Spot On - Michael Leon - West Coast Equine Partners, LLC - 159/91/250
11 - 663 - Faraon - Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg - Pavla Nygaard - 175/71/246
12 - 844 - C Coast Z - Michael Leon - West Coast Equine Partners, LLC - 166.5/0/166.5