Wellington, Fla. – March 4, 2017 – The sprawling equestrian estate, Deeridge Farms, home of the annual Palm Beach Masters world-class international show jumping event, has now cultivated a new fan base for its latest inaugural competition, the Deeridge Derby Weekend, which caters to both hunter and jumper aficionados seeking a top-notch venue with premier amenities. Beautiful blue skies and a cool breeze set the scene for Saturday’s hunter derby competition. The $5,000 3′ Deeridge Hunter Derby, presented by Sock Inc., kicked off the day’s events on the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field at 10 a.m. Due to popular demand, the class was split into two sections and awarded two winners.
Judging Saturday’s hunter derbies were Scott Fitton, Danny Robertshaw, Susan Humes and Rob Bielefeld. Skip Bailey was the course designer.
In Section A of the $5,000 3′ Deeridge Hunter Derby, presented by Sock Inc., 25 combinations competed in the first classic round, with the top 12 returning to showcase their talents in the handy round. Jacob Pope, of Columbia, Maryland, and Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC’s J’Adore impressed the judges to earn scores of 176.00, the highest scores of the class, throughout both rounds for a final score of 352.00 to claim the win.
“My horse rode amazing,” said Pope of the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. “She was great. I just started riding her a couple of months ago. She felt amazing today — the best she has felt. I showed her last week in the national derby and she was great. This was only my second time showing her. She has some experience in other national derbies and I think she’ll make a really good junior or amateur hunter, national derby horse and international derby horse. She’s the sweetest horse ever. You wouldn’t really know that she’s a mare — great in the stall and lovely to ride at home too.
“I can’t thank the Jacobs enough,” continued Pope. “This is incredible. It has always been an honor to show at WEF but showing here at Deeridge Farms is just unbelievable. They put on a great show.”
Christina Serio and Czar-Z, owned by Amy Guth, took reserve honors in Section A with a score of 167.00 in the first round and 173.00 in the handy round for a final score of 340.00.
“Czar-Z is a pretty spectacular horse,” said Serio. “He knows his job. He’s shown a lot with McKayla Langmeier. He was her old junior hunter that we got from them this fall. Amy bought him as her 3’3” Amateur-Owner horse and he’s just amazing to ride. It’s so fun to ride him. I have the chills just thinking about it. He’s just a good guy. I’m so thankful Amy let me do him in the derby today.
“I love it here,” continued Serio. “It’s beautiful. The grass is so fun to ride on and the VIP tent is amazing. I think it’s great!”
In Section B of the $5,000 3′ Deeridge Hunter Derby, presented by Sock Inc., it was 12-year-old Augusta Iwasaki and Iwasaki and Reilly’s 18-year-old Hanoverian gelding Illusion who emerged victorious out of an original starting field of 26. The pair secured scores of 180.00 and 173.50 for a combined score of 353.50 to take the win.
“I was trying to make sure that I remembered the course and what I had to do, and do it solidly without trying too hard,” said Iwasaki. “I wasn’t really sure if I had done enough, I hoped though. [Illusion] doesn’t really change — he’s perfect. My plan was to just have fun. It’s so pretty here at Deeridge Farms. The field here is amazing and I really like it.”
Finishing in second was Katherine Newman and Dandelion, owned by Allwyn Court, with scores of 173.00 and 174.00, and a final score of 347.00, to grab the red ribbon.
“[Dandelion] is 10 years old and has only been doing the hunters since last July so she is still a bit new at it,” said Newman. “I’ve only done one derby with her before and she was also second. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect from her because she is very easy going, but with this venue and the tents and the wind blowing, I just wasn’t sure, but she was really professional and easy.
“I love the venue,” continued Newman. “I actually haven’t been here until this week and it’s beautiful. It’s nice to have options in Wellington after so many years of not having any options. They did a beautiful job; the footing is fantastic, it’s a great atmosphere and it feels special. The hunters don’t usually feel special, but this was very fun and I enjoyed it.”
Saturday afternoon highlighted round one of the weekend’s feature event: the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the World Equestrian Center, where Meagan Murray-Tenuta and Editorial claimed first place honors.
The talented pair is now in the lead going into Sunday afternoon’s handy round, which will wrap-up the international derby and conclude the inaugural Deeridge Derby Weekend.
It was stiff competition throughout the duration of the class as 40 horse-and-rider combinations vied for the top spots in the round one standings. Murray-Tenuta, who hails from Zion, Illinois, left the ring having earned the highest score of 180.75 between the two judging panels aboard the 2007 Holsteiner gelding, Editorial, owned by Rebecca Price.
“He loved the field. I think the grass really had the most traction for him to keep springing higher and higher,” Murray-Tenuta said. “He grew more confident as we went. He loved it.”
The duo opted to jump both high-option fences, each worth four additional points that were added to the raw score given by the two judging panels. Fitton and Robertshaw made up the first panel of judges, while Humes and Bielefeld were on the second panel.
“We found [Editorial] about a year ago in a field in Vancouver. We bought him for an amateur rider and I took him over. He started jumping too big and too high and she said I could have him so I’m happy. He’s the sweetest one in the barn. He’s like a Labrador.”
Murray-Tenuta continued, “I’ve been second, third and fourth in many hunter derbies so I was just really happy to win today.”
In terms of going into Sunday’s second round, Murray-Tenuta is feeling pretty confident.
“My horse has gotten better in the handy round,” said Murray-Tenuta. “It’s been a work in progress. We used to not turn very well, but we are getting better at it. I feel pretty confident that it will be good.”
Kristy Herrera, who currently holds the 2016 title for the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship with Jennifer Alfano’s mount, Miss Lucy, also had great results on Saturdayaboard another one of Alfano’s horses, Candid. Herrera, of Wellington, Florida, received impressive scores of 89 and 91 to claim second place honors.
Herrera also piloted hunter derby veteran, Miss Lucy, to an eighth place finish in round one, qualifying them for Sunday’s handy phase.
“Both the horses I got to ride were fantastic and jumped beautifully so it really went great,” Herrera stated.
Herrera continued, “Miss Lucy is Miss Lucy. She is a winner at heart and a dream to ride out there. Candid is a little new to this, but he is so fun ride too. All we did today was jump higher and higher.”
Both riders were quick to note how grateful they were to have the opportunity to compete at the new Deeridge Derby Weekend in the heart of Wellington.
“I don’t think it gets any more beautiful,” Murray-Tenuta acknowledged. “It was really fun to pull up and see the field. I think Deeridge is doing an amazing job.”
Herrera shared similar sentiments, stating, “I’m really thankful to have another venue here. I show at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) most of the time when I’m here so it’s a nice break to come here. This is a beautiful course they’ve built and we are lucky to be able to show here.”
Rounding out the top three placings was the decorated hunter rider, Victoria Colvin, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Brad Wolf’s Cuba. Colvin earned an 88.5 and an 87.50 for an overall total of 180 points entering into Sunday’s second round.
The stunning lakeside hunter derby field will welcome back the top 24 horses on Sunday to show off their style and handiness for the second round of competition.
Deeridge Jumper Ring Highlights
In the Deeridge Jumper Ring on Saturday, the 1.10m Jumpers went to Lily Alice Foregger and Elizabeth Hinckley’s Zento VDV with a double-clear effort in 38.950 seconds. Deeridge Farms’ own Charlotte Jacobs claimed the win in the 1.20 Jumpers aboard North Star’s Cyrina Z with no faults in 37.169 seconds.
Next was the $2,000 1.25m Jumpers, where the blue ribbon went to Sydney Shulman with Jill Shulman’s Quidam 13. The pair was one of only two combinations to jump double-clear to score the victory in 45.884 seconds. The $2,500 1.30m Jumpers wrapped up competition in the Deeridge Jumper Ring on Saturday. David Matisz and Agneta Currey’s Blixten bested a jump-off field of five to claim the top spot on the leaderboard in 45.793 seconds.
Sunday will conclude hunter derby action at the inaugural Deeridge Derby Weekend with the $2,500 Deeridge Pony Derby kicking off at 9 a.m. on the Hollow Brook Wealth Management Grand Prix Field. The top 20 ponies will return for the second round, which will begin at approximately 11 a.m.
The grand finale, the second round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by the World Equestrian Center, will commence at approximately 2 p.m. with the top 24 returning from Saturday’s round one competition.
The Deeridge Jumper Ring will also continue to host jumper competition beginning at 9 a.m.with the $2,500 Miller & Associates 1.15m Jumper Derby followed by the $7,500 1.25m Jumper Derby.
In addition, JustWorld International and the Deeridge Derby Weekend have teamed up to bring exciting family entertainment to Wellington at the JustWorld Kid Zone. The JustWorld Kid Zone is free and will be held during the Deeridge Derby Weekend on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5. There will be many fun activities for the whole family to get involved in including a pony kissing booth, horseless horse show, egg hunt and more!