Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy Victorious in $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Equifest II

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy

Wayne, Il. – Aug. 6, 2017 – A large audience gathered around the SmartPak Grand Prix Arena on Sunday morning to watch horse-and-rider combinations compete for the win in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by CWD. After two rounds that impressed both panels of judges present for the derby, Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy, owned by Sharon O’Neill, finished in first place.

In the first round, the pair was given a score of 86 from one panel of judges and a score of 92 from the other. Combined with an additional 8 points from selecting higher jumps where options existed on the course, Alfano and Miss Lucy were awarded a total score of 186 for their first round.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Coming back for the handy round, they received a score of 86 from one judging panel and a score of 92 from the other. After adding the additional 8 points for higher options and a handy bonus of 16 points, Alfano and Miss Lucy’s score for the handy round totaled 202.5. Their high combined score of 388.5 secured their place in the winner’s circle.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy

Finishing in second place was Holly Shepherd aboard White Lightning, owned by Helen Gilbert. Shepherd and White Lightning rode to a total score in their first round of 184, and a score of 201 in the handy round. The pair secured their finish just behind Alfano and Miss Lucy with a combined score of 385.

Holly Shepherd and White Lightning

Shepherd also rode into third place, this time with Nina Moore’s Kodachrome. The horse-and-rider combination was awarded a score of 170 for their first round and a score of 201 for their handy round, giving them a total combined score of 371.

In the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby that followed, Todd Minikus and Exceptional took first place. The pair received high scores of 99 from both panels of judges to finish with a total of 198.

Todd Minikus and Exceptional. Photo courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography. 

Maria Rasmussen and Subject to Change, owned by Corporate Way LLC, took second place after earning scores of 87 and 89 from the judges to total 176. Rounding out the top three was Isabella Bleu Baxter and Lakeview Inc.’s Gin Fizz 67. The pair earned score of 81 and 87 from the judges to finish with a total of 168.

Equifest III will begin on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. The WEC Hunter Arena will host a $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Friday, Aug. 11.


$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by CWD

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / First Round Score / Second Round Score / Total Score
1. Miss Lucy / Jennifer Alfano / Sharon O’Neill / 186 / 202.5 / 388.5
2. White Lightning / Holly Shepherd / Helen Gilbert / 184 / 201 / 385
3. Kodachrome / Holly Shepherd / Nina Moore / 170 / 201 / 371
4. Flamboyant / Holly Shepherd / Debbie Holland / 163 / 191 / 354
5. Color Pearlz / Steve Schaeffer / Matt Yeterian / 176 / 176 / 352
6. Like I Said / Maggie Jayne / Pony Lane Farm / 168 / 183 / 351
7. Governor / Giavanna Rinaldi/ Alex Jayne / 169 / 177.5 / 346.5
8. Longstreet / Holly Shepherd / Barbara Risius / 157 / 189 / 346
9. Frosted Blue / Maggie Jayne / Alex Jayne / 163 / 174 / 337
10. With Honors / Maria Rasmussen / Corporate Way LLC / 146 / 185 / 331
11. Lucca / Michelle Durpetti / Michelle Durpetti / 150 / 153 / 303
12. Everest / Jordan Gilchrist / Sydney Murdoch / 147 / 136 / 283


Jennifer Alfano – $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Champion

On Miss Lucy:
“She was great today. I thought she was a little fresh at first, but she was actually perfect. She jumped amazing like she always does. I was really happy with her. She just has an amazing jump, she’s so powerful. She’s 15 years old, she’s kind of been there and done that. There’s nothing that she doesn’t handle well.”

On her victory:
“It was a large class and it felt really good [to be champion]. I’ve been out for a while with an injury, so I’m really just starting back up again. I was really happy that she went so well today.”

Caelinn Leahy Sets Pace to Win $20,000 Jumper Derby at Equifest II

Equifest II closed out on Sunday with the $20,000 Jumper Derby at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. Twenty horse-and-rider combinations geared up to race to the win in the one round, faults-converted speed class, and it was Caelinn Leahy and Splendor who came out on top.

Caelinn Leahy and Splendor

Leopoldo Palacios set up a technical course for riders that utilized every inch of ring space to test their talents. As the first rider in the line-up, Leahy was unable to watch other riders tackle the course, but her strategy paid off. Her quick, fault-free finish of 90.107 seconds proved difficult to match as riders followed her, setting the pace for the win from the start.

A few riders came close to surpassing Leahy, with the first attempt coming from Michael Tokaruk and Vanrock, owned by Alex Turner. Tokaruk and Vanrock were another quick, fault-free pair, finishing in 91.524 seconds. Tokaruk maintained second place until Todd Minikus took to the ring with VDL Excel

Todd Minikus and VDL Excel

Minikus, known for his speed around a jumper course, completed the course fault-free and quick enough to surpass Tokaruk. He was just fractions of a second away from beating Leahy’s time, finishing in 90.329 seconds. Minikus and VDL Excel, owned by Autum View Farm, took home the second place ribbon, with third place going to Tokaruk and Vanrock.

Competition for Equifest III kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 8 a.m. at the Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Caelin Leahy and Splendor


$20,000 Jumper Derby

Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Time
1. Splendor / Caelinn Leahy / Steve Schaefer / 90.107
2. VDL Excel / Todd Minikus / Autum View Farm / 90.329
3. Vanrock / Michael Tokaruk / Alex Turner / 91.524
4. Nakiska / Stephen Foran / Kayla Imonti-Way / 94.621
5. Cristiano / Michael Tokaruk / Mattie Hatcher / 95.775
6. Werner 61 / Haley Gassel / Westwind Equine Training Center / 95.823
7. Compis / Stephen Foran / Lauren Robishaw / 99.341
8. Zersina / Annabella Sanchez / Annabella Sanchez / 100.659
9. Seniorita De La Roque / Amelia Mcardle / Old Barrington Equine LLC. / 102.992
10. Al Pachini / Shannon Hicks / Helen Gilbert / 103.182
11. Adicio / Shannon Hicks / Ashley Shaw / 103.694
12. Chicago Van Overis Z / Bryn Sadler / Showcase 81 LLC. / 105.387


Caelinn Leahy – $20,000 Jumper Derby Winner

On her win:
“It was a lot of fun! With these classes and the faults-converted, the strategy is just to go fast and be super careful. Since I was first in the ring, we didn’t really know how anything was going to ride without watching it and doing it. There were definitely a lot of leave out places that we took advantage of! [Splendor] is a super horse and he has a huge stride, so it was really fun!”

On Splendor:
“We’re just coming off of a grand prix win at Balmoral two weeks ago, he won the $50,000 Grand Prix there. I’m just trying to figure him out still. He’s a new ride for me. He’s been a lot of fun so far, I’m just figuring out all of his little quirks. He loves to go fast so that definitely helped us today!”

On Lamplight:
“We love Lamplight! We’ve come here forever. I grew up coming here and it’s great to be back. Our plan is to be here next week as well. It should be fun!”


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