Lexington, KY - August 2, 2014 - Winning today's $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby was no easy feat. It required besting a competitive field of 59 entries and waiting out a few passing rain showers, but there was one mount who made riding away with the victory look easy - Jane Olson Fisher's Stoli.
With Steve Heinecke in the irons, Stoli took over the lead halfway through the first round, and he held it all the way through to the end, earning the victory gallop around the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Heinecke and Stoli came into the handy round with a score of 94, following a seamless first round course in which they elected to take all four of the high option fences. Hot on their heels were Molly Sewell and EL Raymond, the winners of last week's $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Sewell and EL Raymond, owned by Leslie and Stuart Campbell, came into round two with a score of 93; they were followed in ranking by Adele Norton and her own Pitch Perfect who rounded out the top three with a score of 92.
Norton and Pitch Perfect were the first of the top contenders to return to compete over the Bobby Murphy designed handy course, and they turned in another solid round that fell just short of their first round in score at an 88.5, including the four high option bonus points. That score, coupled with their first round score 92, would be good enough to shoot them to the top of the leader board with 180.5 cumulative total.
That lead would not hold for long, as the next pair in the ring, Christopher Payne and Channing, bested it. Payne and Channing, owned by Susan Moriconi, had finished the first round in fifth place with a score of 90, but their consistency and a second round score of 91 would prevail, landing them in the temporary lead with a score of 181 and giving them the eventual second place finish.
Sewell and EL Raymond returned next to earn a score of 86.50, which, at a 179.50 total, would hold up for the fourth place spot. Following their course, it all came down to Heinecke and Stoli. The pair did not disappointed. They perfectly matched their first round course, earning a second, equal score of 94 and clinching the far and away winning total of 188.
"I thought the first round was really nice. It was a lot of single jumps, which is nice sometimes because so often when you have a course there are so many jumps that you just have to count to the second one. This demonstrated a little bit more of the horses jumping ability," Heinecke said. "In the handy, I think it gave some options depending on if you had to make up some points or not which is always nice. [Bobby Murphy] did a nice job with the courses."
Heinecke continued, "I love the quality of the horses and the quality of the competition here at these shows in Kentucky. It's a great place for your horses, and it's a great place to grow and get better against good competition."
Stoli, an 11-year-old Oldenburg spends much of his time in Charlotte, NC where Heinecke trains out of Marc and Celen Oken's Hi Hopes Farm, while owner Jane Olson Fisher splits her time between Louisiana and Connecticut, often meeting up with her talented gelding on the road.
"He's the perfect amateur horse. He's like mister perfect 99.9 percent of the time," Olson Fisher said. "He's very personable. If Steve asks me to do something and I execute it, he does it. He's very easy to ride. He's really forgiving, and he always looks cute over fences. He pricks his ears. Even when I've done something bad, he just continues to prick his ears and jump the fence. He just has a really great attitude." Following his success today, Stoli will return home to Charlotte before looking to the fall indoor finals.
The Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Series continues during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show, held at the Kentucky Horse Park August 12-17, 2014. The Hallway Feeds Series consists of seven national hunter derby events, held throughout the 2014 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the final event, cash prizes totaling $15,000 will be awarded to the series' leading riders.
To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Hallway Feeds' close proximity to the Kentucky Horse Park provides the opportunity to utilize the freshest feed, manufactured with time-honored commitments to high standards of quality and the latest scientific advances. Combining a premium nutrition package with a professional level of dedication in horsemen and women provides equine athletes with the Formula for Success.
For more information on Hallway Feeds please visit www.hallwayfeeds.com.
$5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby Results:
Rank Number Horse Rider Nation Round 1 Round 2 Final
1 384 STOLI STEVE HEINECKE 94.00 94.00 188.00
2 1322 CHANNING CHRISTOPHER PAYNE 90.00 91.00 181.00
3 788 PITCH PERFECT ADELE NORTON 92.00 88.50 180.50
4 956 EL RAYMOND MOLLY SEWELL 93.00 86.50 179.50
5 955 SAY AGAIN ELIZABETH WILEY 90.50 85.00 175.50
6 1005 LAVASCO JORDAN GILCHRIST 86.00 88.00 174.00
7 858 SANDERSON VIVIAN YOWAN 87.00 86.00 173.00
8 852 UNITED SHAWN CASADY 88.00 84.50 172.50
9 973 CAMBRIDGE EMMA KURTZ 84.25 85.00 169.25
10 1323 HARLAN CHRISTOPHER PAYNE 89.50 79.00 168.50
11 589 MTM INSIDE SCOOP DIDI MACKENZIE 85.50 81.00 166.50
12 1321 CHURCHILL CHRISTOPHER PAYNE 89.00 74.00 163.00