Lexington, KY - The $15,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dietrich Insurance was the class to watch at 6:00 p.m this evening. The Derby was held in the Main Stadium of the Kentucky Horse Park, host of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™, at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Triumphant over the class of forty horse and rider combinations was Extraordinary and Jennifer Alfano.
Only one point separated first, second, and third place with Louise Serio and her mount Sailor's Valentine coming in second, and Kelley Farmer and Rosalynn coming in third. Farmer took home the High Point Handy Award for achieving a score 196 in her second round.
The forty horse and rider combinations competed over 12 numbered obstacles for the first round of the derby. Saturday night's unique course was designed by Bobby Murphy and featured five four-foot options. Two rounds of competition occurred with the first round being judged on hunter style, quality, movement, and brilliance, and the second round judged on handiness of the round and brilliance of pace. Twelve riders advanced to the second round with 10 obstacles, the same five options, and an added brush fence that resembled a squirrel where each pair hurdled over the tail of the structure.
Out of the top six riders in the handy round the first to enter the ring was Rosalynn with Kelley Farmer in the irons. Farmer took three options and received bonus points for her efforts. When the round was complete she was given a score of 160.
Farmer and Rosalynn, owned by Mr. And Mrs. Ernest M. Oare, entered the handy round in 12th place overall so the pair had to go first over the modified course. The pair's efforts in the handy round landed her an immediate score of 196, because they took all the options, had a beautiful gallop, and took all the inside turns. The score would be maintained throughout the night earning them the Top Handy Score Award. The duo's combined score of 356 was held up for third place after the class came to a close.
Next to try their talent on the handy course was Jennifer Alfano and Extraordinary. The pair chose three options and earned a first round score of 181. Since Alfano would ride Jersey Boy in the second round later in the evening, Alfano rode Extraordinary early in the mix. The pair earned a high score of 177, which moved them into the first place position with a toal of 358. "I was surprised," admitted Alfano, "I had more than one horse in the second round so I did not really keep track of who was winning. When I came out on Jersey Boy someone said I won and I could not believe it. I was really thrilled with him, he was great tonight."
"I started riding Extraordinary in the Derby classes this year," Alfano continued. "I have done four and he's been second in two, so he's sort of been knocking at the door. He is a quiet horse, he is really fun to ride, he has a great canter and a great rhythm to his canter, so he is pretty fun and easy to ride."
After the pair's fantastic round, Louise Serio and Sailor's Valentine, owned by Westerly Farm, had a chance to grab the judge's attention. The duo took two options and received multiple bonus points from the judges. Their score of 182 in the handy round resulted in a total score of 357, which just barely moved them into the second place position.
"My horse was really good," said Serio. "This was his second Hunter Derby and he is a First Year Green Horse. I was proud of him under the lights tonight because it got really spooky after the rain and there were a lot of shadows. He was awesome, just jumped great!"
Serio wanted to brave during tonight's course, but she chose not over-face Sailor's Valentine. "I took the bigger option that was at the in-and-out brush during both rounds," she noted. "In the first round I also did the wall, which he had a light rub on and a lot of people had down. For the second round I just decided to jump the smaller option there because I did not want risk having the wall down."
Coming into the second round in 5th place was NLF Shakespear's Rhythm, owned by Nordic Lights Farm, LLC., and Peter Pletcher. The pair took every single option at the four-foot height. After fence 11 Pletcher made a sharp right turn in front of another fence. He did this once again when he approached the Squirrel fence, the last fence in the handy round. Pletcher received many cheers but a quick trot step caused him to receive a very high score from one set of judges, 89, and low score from another set, 55, for a 159 and two round total of 342.
Alfano once again entered the ring as the rain poured down over the course. This time it was Jersey Boy who she had in the bridle. The pair came into the handy round in the second position overall because of a fantastic round resulting in a high score of 190. Alfano and her derby mount Jersey Boy decided to take all five options. Unfortunately, the pair knocked down a block on the top of the stonewall and their score resulted in a total of 280 placing them now in 10th place when the class came to a close.
The course may have been a little tough on a few horses and each of the top three riders agreed. Alfano said, "I thought it was great. It rode really well. Everything was nice. Extraordinary is so brave and nothing phases him. I think there were some spooky things out there but that particular horse is phased by nothing. He is a great horse for these classes because he does not bat an eye at anything."
During the final round riders began and finished over the same fence, which also caused some problems. "I did not think it was a particular hard jump, but it was set very far up the ring and the horses could not get focused on it," Serio explained. "You saw a lot of trouble there just spooking at that, but I think it was the location that was more challenge than anything else."
Last to enter the Main Stadium was Peridot and Tammy Provost. The pair had a fabulous first round score of 198. The pair took all five options and received 10 bonus points for their efforts. As they approached the first fence in the handy round the pair had an unfortunate refusal sending them into 11th place overall.
All of the riders really appreciated showing in the Main Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Alfano commented, "You cannot ask for a better show grounds. It is so beautiful here and all the places to ride and get to show in a Stadium like this is wonderful."
Sunday's hunter competition continues with championship awards presented in the Children's Hunter divisions. Tomorrow marks the final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, but the second week, The Kentucky Spring Classic, will begin on May 19, 2010 featuring a full week of exciting hunter competition.
For more information about Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please go to www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Results of the $15,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dietrich Insurance:
Rank ENTRY HORSE NAME RIDER NAME OWNER SCORE SCORE 2 TOTAL SCORE
1 388 EXTRAORDINARY JENNIFER ALFANO HELEN LENAHAN 181.000 177.000 358.000
2 238 SAILOR'S VALENTINE LOUISE SERIO WESTERLY FARM 175.000 182.000 357.000
3 1106 ROSALYNN KELLEY FARMER M/M ERNEST M. OARE 160.000 196.000 356.000
4 1081 NLF SHAKESPEARE'S RHYTHM PETER PLETCHER NORDIC LIGHTS FARM, LLC 183.000 159.000 342.000
5 1043 VALIANT TAMMY PROVOST ALLIY MOYER 179.000 163.000 342.000
6 1020 COOL BOY ABIGAIL BLANKENSHIP PETER PLETCHER 165.000 166.000 331.000
7 19 CHARLESTON Z CAITLIN ZIEGLER ARTISAN FARMS & CAITLIN ZIEGLER 165.000 146.000 311.000
8 1011 ACCORD KIRSTIE DOBBS TREESDALE FARM 164.000 145.000 309.000
9 229 CARLANO CHRISTINA SERIO PAIGE COLE 170.000 124.000 294.000
10 385 JERSEY BOY JENNIFER ALFANO SBS FARMS INC 190.000 90.000 280.000
11 1105 KOST TO COAST KELLEY FARMER M/M ERNEST M. OARE 166.000 74.000 240.000
12 741 PERIDOT TAMMY PROVOST STEPHEN MARTINES 198.000 0.000 198.000
Photo Credit: Extraordinary and Jennifer Alfano win the $15,000 Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dietrich Insurance at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo By: Lindsay McCall/PMG.