Traverse City, Mich. – July 19, 2020 – The Polk Family Main Hunter Ring played host to the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Baekgaard USA, on Sunday at Flintfields Horse Park. Capping off hunter competition during Week Three of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, the class featured 30 entries over classic and handy rounds of competition. Turning in impressive single-phase scores of 91 and 94, Jef Lauwers and Calipso, owned by Johnnie Martin-Carey, edged out the talented field to lead the pack in the victory gallop and conclude the day as the show’s next winners of the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
The first phase of riding saw a number of exemplary efforts from competitors, keeping the top challengers in a tight race with mere points separating the top six performers, three of which hit a score of 90 or above. Sitting on an initial and impressive score of 92, Caroline Weeden and Carnaval positioned themselves as the frontrunners, followed by Lauwers aboard Calipso with 91 points. Tiffany Morrissey and E.S. Diathago 2 were just one point back with a classic score of 90, and Morrissey had another top contender in the form of On Your Mark, who garnered 89 points from the judges. Meagan Murray-Tenuta navigated Last Word to a score of 88, and Lucca carried Michelle Durpetti to sixth position with marks of 87. Following a hotly-contested first phase, the cut-off score sat at 80 points, with those at or above the line invited to ride once more.
Headed into the handy phase, the top twelve qualifiers returned in reverse order of the standings, with some slight modifications to the order to allow for riders with two horses still in contention. With a number of inside turn options and other spots to shine, the track offered a series of opportunities to showcase rideability. Moving up from the middle of the pack, Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen and Monterrey turned in a textbook trip during round two that earned them 92 points, which pushed the duo to a total score of 178 after an initial score of 86 and helped them to claim the leading spot with half of the trimmed field left to ride. One of the final combinations to try the track, Calipso carried Lauwers to the highest score of the class, a 94-point ride that pushed the pair to the top of the leaderboard with a cumulative score of 185. The classic phase leaders, Weeden and Carnaval needed marks of 93 to tie Lauwers and Calipso and put in a valiant effort, but just fell short with a score of 89 that finalized their total tally of 181 points.
As one of only two pairs to earn back-to-back scores that hit the 90-point threshold, Lauwers and Calipso were crowned as the victors in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Baekgaard USA. Thanks to his victory, Lauwers was awarded the honor of Week Three’s Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week on behalf of his mount, Calipso. Weeden and Stephanie Harris’ Carnaval finished in the runner-up position, followed by Morrissey and E.S. Diathago 2, owned by Doris Neyra, with a cumulative score of 180 points.
Sunday marked the conclusion of Week Three of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, but the second half of the six-week series will begin at Flintfields Horse Park in a few short days.
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Baekgaard USA:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Calipso / Jef Lauwers / Johnnie Martin-Carey / 91 / 94 / 185
2. Carnaval / Caroline Weeden / Stephanie Harrise / 92 / 89 / 181
3. E.S. Diathago 2 / Tiffany Morrissey / Doris Neyra / 90 / 90 / 180
4. Monterrey / Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen / Treesdale Farms / 86 / 92 / 178
5. Inclusion / Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen / Chris Jansen / 86.5 / 88 / 174.5
6. Barilla / Kirstie Lynn / Treesdale Farms / 85 / 87 / 172
7. On Your Mark / Tiffany Morrissey / Lisa Berger / 89 / 79 / 168
8. One Dance / Caitlyn Shiels / Imperial Show Stables / 83 / 84 / 167
9. Last Word / Meagan Murray-Tenuta / Becky Price / 88 / 78 / 166
10. Lucca / Michelle Durpetti / Durpetti Equestrian LLC / 87 / 77 / 164
11. Chelestina / Ella Duffy / Kim Farlinger Equestrian / 80.5 / 81 / 161.5
12. *Cash* / Alexander Alston / Alston Alliance LLC / 80 / 49 / 129