Saugerties, NY- Summer’s highly anticipated stop on the HITS USHJA International Hunter Derby Tour made its appearance at HITS-on-the-Hudson. Hunter royalty descended on the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Saugerties to compete for a sweet slice of the prestigious payday.
Kelley Farmer has worn the crown in the first three HITS $100,000 Hunter Derbies on the tour: Ocala Winter Circuit 2016, Thermal Desert Circuit 2016, and she snagged the trifecta yesterday at the Saugerties Summer Series 2016.
Farmer’s win this time came aboard Baltimore, owned by Jane Gaston; second was with Kodachrome, owned by Nina Moore; and third with Point Being, owned by Kensal, LLC. Farmer credited her “dream team” of horses, owners, her personal team and the HITS team for her victory.
“I can’t say thank you enough to my team, Tom and the HITS team who put on these events for the hunters and support the derbies. I look forward to more shows following that lead,” said Farmer. “This is big money for our sport, and the hunters deserve this recognition. These kind of classes are great for the hunter world, and great for the derbies, and it’s just really something people can get behind.”
Saturday’s course, designed by Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York, was bright, beautiful and nothing short of supreme-caliber competition standard.
“The courses at HITS are phenomenal. The jumps are superb and all of the rings are just fantastic,” said Farmer. “Rian Beals built appropriately for the amount of money and for the quality of animal in this top-caliber event.
Two panels of judges including Chance Arakelian, Keri Kampsen, Jimmy Clapperton and Greg Franklin critiqued each rider’s craft. Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, each judging panel awarded an Option Bonus Score consisting of one additional point for every higher height option fence jumped. As 12 returned for the second round, judges awarded a base score, Option Bonus Score and a Handy Bonus Score, assessing the handiness of the round.
Farmer and Baltimore earned a first round score of 187, opting for all four height options. In the second round, they opted for one option fence, and judging panel one awarded them five handy bonus points and panel two awarded four bonus points. With their handy round score of 191 combined with their first round score of 187, they earned an overall of 378 for the win.
Kodachrome, Farmer’s second place mount, received all four height option points in both rounds. They scored a 177 in the first round. In the second round, judging panel one awarded them nine handy points and panel two gave eight handy points, for an impressive second-round total of 197. Their overall score was 374.
Farmer’s third place mount, Point Being, earned a score of 181 in the first round with all four height option points earned. Returning in the top twelve for the handy round, judging panel one awarded them four handy bonus points and panel two awarded three points. Combined with their three height option bonus points, they earned a second-round score of 184. Their overall total was 365.
Although Farmer finished the first round with the highest score aboard Baltimore, and advanced her other four rides to the second round as well, a talented list of contenders were ready to rally for blue.
Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland, came in behind Farmer for fourth place piloting In The Know, owned by Madeline Schaefer. With a collection of Devoucoux Hunter Prix ribbons at HITS, in addition to being a top 25 contender in last year’s $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix, Schaefer rose to the occasion. She and The Know scored impressively in the second round, opting for all four height options and scoring a total of 192 in the handy round. Combined with their first round score of 166.75, their overall 358.75 was less than seven points behind Farmer for fourth place.
Rounding out the top five in the prime class was Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, Florida and Checklist, a bay warmblood gelding owned by Alexandra McReady. They earned a classic round score of 167, opting for all four height options, and earned a total of 185 in the handy round for an overall total of 352.
Erica Quinn and Need I say, owned by Danielle Brown Swanston, came in sixth place after advancing to the handy round. They earned a first-round score of 160, opting for all four height options. They earned a total of eight handy points from panel one and six from panel two, which gave them a second-round score of 177. All of that combined gave them an overall score of 337.
Kristy Herrera brought back three horses in the second round to ultimately collect the overall seventh, ninth and tenth places. What’s more impressive is the top-notch performance yesterday was her first time to show in the Derby.
“The three horses we had yesterday are ridden by Jennifer Alfano, after an injury she is out for the year, so we asked Kristy to come and show them,” said Susie Schoellkopf, Herrera’s trainer. “She did great and we were thrilled to have three come back in the top twelve. I thought the course designed by Rian was great; we also want to say thank you to Tom for having the class, it’s such a great thing for our industry.”
Herrera grabbed seventh with Miramar, owned by Jen Alfano. They opted for one height option in the first round for a score of 167. In the second round, they earned eight handy points from panel one and six handy points from panel two for a total of 166, earning an overall of 333. Herrera’s ninth-place mount, Miss Lucy, owned by Helen Lenahan, earned a first round score of 167 and a handy score of 142 for an overall score of 309. Tenth place, Maggie May, owned by Billie Steffe, earned an overall score of 286 for their efforts after opting for all four height options in both rounds and earning a total of 10 handy points from the judging panels.
Eighth overall went to Callie Seamon and Shorekeeper. They earned a first round score of 164 and a second-round score of 165, after receiving a total of 13 handy points from the two judging panels, for a total of 329, just behind Herrera.
Adrienne Iverson placed eleventh overall in the top twelve with USA D’Horset, owned by Sweet Oak Farm. They opted for all four height options in both rounds, earning a first-round score of 161.5, combined with a second-round score of 102 for an overall score of 263.5.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.