Lexington, KY - May 10, 2015 - In the world of hunter derbies, one name always stands out: Jersey Boy. Today, the 13-year-old chestnut gelding, better known as Lewis, delivered two textbook rounds with Jennifer Alfano during the WCHR Member Event, the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, earning a total of 401 points to capture first place overall.
Rider Jennifer Alfano was skeptical about the class, due to the fact that Jersey Boy was so well behaved in the schooling ring. "Lewis is a little temperamental at times; you never really know with him," Alfano laughed.
From the moment the duo stepped in to the ring, however, it was obvious that Jersey Boy had decided he wanted to impress. Taking all the higher options, Alfano navigated Jersey Boy smoothly through Bobby Murphy's course, earning a 94 and 96 for the classic round.
"I haven't ridden a lot of horses that can gallop and jump like he does," Alfano said. "He is one of those that can stay on the gallop and turn and jump. He is so naturally balanced that I think the turning comes so easy for him."
The pair especially excelled in the handy, pulling in scores of 92 and 94 from the judges. Adding on 4 points for taking the high options, and 9 and 8 handy points, respectively, Jersey Boy delivered the highest-scoring round of the day. "He definitely excels at the handy," Alfano said. "That's his thing."
Jennifer Alfano placed first and second overall with Jersey Boy and Miss Lucy, respectively, during the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Alfano also impressed the judges on Miss Lucy, another mount she holds dear to her heart. Miss Lucy is back after almost two years, and has not slowed down a bit. Coming off of a derby win at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, the mare put in another outstanding performance today to secure second place overall with a score of 374.
"It's awesome to have Miss Lucy back," Alfano said. "Aside from what she does in the ring, she is just a special horse. I'm very lucky to have the two of them."
Tammy Provost and Kallisto earned a total score of 366.5 to claim third place, with Alfano back atop Miramar earning a 365.5 for fourth place. Fifth place was awarded to Havens Schatt, who piloted Savannah to a score of 360 points. Sarah Young and Gabriella rounded out the top six with a score of 357.
Alfano's four entries all placed in the top 12 and will return to the Kentucky Horse Park in August for the long-anticipated 2015 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.
Earlier in the day, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby was underway, with Sarah Sturges leading the event from start to finish aboard Jessica Blum's Conan. A smooth opening round resulted in a score of 93, and the pair retuned to the handy, receiving a 92 and utilizing the high options for a four-point boost.
"He likes to jump the jumps," Sturges explained. "If I get him where he needs to be, he takes care of the rest of it. He's pretty straightforward. He coasts around and he does his thing and I try to stay out of the way."
Kelli Cruciotti and Totem Pole gave Sturges a run for her money, coming in second by a 2.5-point differential. The judges awarded their efforts with scores of 92 and 90.5 for a 182.5 total.
"Totem Pole was fantastic," Cruciotti said. "He's been a work in progress for the last three years. We bought him, and then he got hurt. We almost had to put him down. We redid everything and now he is coming back, so it's kind of like a fairytale that he is being a super star. I cannot thank my sponsors and my team enough, it has been a wonderful day, and I love this class; it's my favorite."
Havens Schatt returned next riding Sans Souci for CH Farm LLC, having received a score of 90 in the first round. The pair earned a score of 91 in the handy. However, Cruciotti's classic round score would give her a leg up for the second place honors, while Schatt would settle for third place today.
Sturges' victory has her sitting at the top of the Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus leader board, a place she knows all too well. In 2013, Sturges was awarded the $2,500 bonus as the leading amateur rider, and last year her trainer, Christopher Payne of New Hope LLC captured the $10,000 professional leading rider bonus. As an event of the five-part series, the Hallways Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby has become a staple at the spring and summer shows, and will continue into the summer series. The leading riders will be presented with the cash prizes at the end of the Bluegrass Festival on August 16, 2015.
"It definitely helps to start out on top," Sturges said. "We are only an hour away, so we will definitely compete in the series, but whether or not I win the bonus, it is a fun class. I turned professional at the end of 2013, so it is fun trying to rack up the points for the professional bonus."
The final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show concluded with the Grand Championships, sponsored by Visse Wedell of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Emma Kurtz was awarded the Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship for her efforts in the Small Junior 15 and Under Hunter division with Frederick, owned by David Gochman. The Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Reserve Grand Championship went to Vivian Yowan and Ransom, owned by Saddle Ridge LLC.
It was the Gochman sisters, Sophie and Mimi who snatched up the Pony Hunter Grand Championship and Pony Hunter Reserve Grand Championship, respectively. Sophie rode Bit of Love to the high point award during the Small Pony Hunters, while Mimi took the second tricolor for her efforts in the Large Pony Hunters.
The Kentucky Spring Classic will continue May 13-17, 2015, with the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Stonelea Ring. Both weeks of the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows will offer WIHS & NAL classics for Children's & Adult hunter and jumper riders as well as $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classics.
To learn more about the Kentucky Spring Horse Show please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
$15,000 USHJA INTERNATIONAL HUNTER DERBY
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name Score Score 2 Total Score
1 105 JERSEY BOY JENNIFER ALFANO 190.000 211.000 401.000%
2 108 MISS LUCY JENNIFER ALFANO 181.000 193.000 374.000%
3 898 KALLISTO TAMMY PROVOST 167.500 199.000 366.500%
4 106 MIRAMAR JENNIFER ALFANO 169.500 196.000 365.500%
5 1380 SAVANNAH HAVENS SCHATT 183.000 177.000 360.000%
6 384 GABRIELLA SARAH YOUNG 178.000 179.000 357.000%
7 1031 CHARACTER VIVIAN YOWAN 160.500 176.000 336.500%
8 1122 MEMORABLE MARIA RASMUSSEN 160.000 175.000 335.000%
9 1123 QUITE CHOCOLATE MARIA RASMUSSEN 161.600 172.000 333.600%
10 1125 SUBJECT TO CHANGE MARIA RASMUSSEN 155.500 178.000 333.500%
11 1352 WHITE LIGHTNING SARAH YOUNG 166.000 151.000 317.000%
12 110 MAGGIE MAY JENNIFER ALFANO 185.000 130.000 315.000%
$5,000 HALLWAY FEEDS USHJA NATIONAL HUNTER DERBY
Order Entry # Horse Name Rider Name Score Score 2 Total Score
1 721 CONAN SARAH STURGES 93.000 92.000 185.000%
2 207 TOTEM POLE KELLI CRUCIOTTI 92.000 90.500 182.500%
3 1383 SANS SOUCI HAVENS SCHATT 90.000 91.000 181.000%
4 999 CASHMERE HELEN VOSS 88.000 89.000 177.000%
5 326 CS ONLINE MISSY LUCZAK-SMITH 89.000 87.000 176.000%
6 1024 COLUMBUS KATHRYN HAEFNER 83.000 90.000 173.000%
7 457 VIP Z EMMA KURTZ 91.000 81.000 172.000%
8 1022 BENTLEY KATHRYN HAEFNER 86.000 84.000 170.000%
9 823 STOLI STEVE HEINECKE 88.500 75.000 163.500%
10 685 VERA SCHUYLER RILEY 84.000 78.000 162.000%
11 343 ALL RISE BROOKE BAILEY 82.750 49.000 131.750%
12 1120 AVALON CATHERINE KUBIAK 82.500 44.000 126.500%