Thermal, CA (March 24, 2017
): The final week of the 2017 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit drew to an end last weekend as an eager crowd gathered to witness 34 riders and their elegant mounts compete for one of the most prestigious hunter victories, the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
Last week’s hunter event marked the second USHJA Hunter Derby at HITS Coachella this year. This time, local favorite, Hope Glynn, was the rider to beat aboard Lake of Stars, owned by Sabrina Hellman. The blue-ribbon victory was the first USHJA International Hunter Derby win for the gorgeous grey gelding.
Glynn and Lake of Stars placed third in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at the HITS Championship in Saugerties, New York, last September as well as sixth place in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held during Desert Circuit IV earlier this season at HITS Coachella.
Second-place went to Skyhawk, ridden by John French and owned by Laura Wasserman. French and Skyhawk took home the win in the Week IV Hunter Derby, and returned during Week VIII to capture another spot in the top five.
Third in the ribbons belonged to Category ridden by Alexis Taylor-Silvernale, and owned by Camille Leblond.
Jenny Karazissas, another seasoned athlete with a top five record in HITS-hosted USHJA Derbies, took home both fourth and fifth place honors. The white ribbon came aboard Really, owned by Michelle Cobb. The final spot in the top five came with Tip Top, owned by Gail Haft.
Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York, set a beautiful course in the Outside Course with 11 all natural-type hunter jumps classically decorated.
Unique to the derby format, in addition to the base score, two judging panels 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.
The top twelve returned for the second round of the two-round derby. Glynn and Lake of Stars entered as the second-to-last pair in the second round, sitting in second place. They opted for all four height options, and earned a total that moved them ahead in the pack for the eventual win. They earned a second-round total score of 201.5, combined with a first-round total score of 178 for a very high overall score of 379.5.
French and Skyhawk came into the second round sitting in fifth place after a first-round score of 173.5 The pair made a major comeback, opting for all four height options to step into second place with their second-round total of 201 for an overall score of 374.5
Alexis Taylor-Silvernale was the third to last ride in the second round aboard Category. They came into the second round in the third place, opting for all four height options. Third place is where they would remain with their first and second round totals, 175.5 and 196 respectively, for a total of 371.5.
Jenny Karazissis’ fourth-place ride aboard Really was first place coming into the second round after a first-round total of 181. Combined with their second-round score of 190, that gave them an overall total of 371, settling them just a half of a point behind Silvernale.
Karazissis’ fifth place mount, Tip Top, earned a first round score of 175 combined with their second-round score of 187, they finished the class with an overall score of 362 for the final spot in the top five.
The next stop on the HITS USHJA Hunter Derby Tour is this week at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, click here
for a full schedule.