Katie Kantrovitz and Opportunity Mars Master $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Lamplight Spring Classic I

Wayne, Ill. – May 12, 2022 – The Main Hunter arena at Lamplight Equestrian Center hosted the country’s top horse and rider combinations on Friday afternoon during the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Marking the third day of the Lamplight Spring Classic at HITS Chicago, riders showcased their mounts during two rounds of competition to try and garner the winning honors. Katie Kantrovitz and Opportunity Mars were masterful during the classic and handy rounds, earning two scores of 90 to lead the lap of honor at the end of the day.

Kantrovitz began riding Opportunity Mars just six months ago after purchasing him from Hope and Avery Glynn. “He's my first 3’6” horse and he has been amazing every single time he has shown,” she expressed after her win. “He just keeps getting better and better. He keeps a great rhythm and he's really easy to see the jumps off of, so I can just go along with the ride.”

Katie Kantrovitz and Opportunity Mars

Dina Mazzola designed a smooth and flowing first-round course that featured four high options for the original entries, which were eventually narrowed down to the top 12 pairs to return for the handy round. The final test added a trot jump as well as several opportunities to make inside turns and earn handy points before galloping towards to the final option fence towards the gate.

Kantrovitz and Opportunity Mars, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding, held the top spot from start to finish. They laid down a flawless first round to score a 90 and earned the top spot heading into the handy round. Kantrovitz put all her confidence in her horse, using his experience and ease in the turns to create a picture-perfect round. They earned a second score of 90 for a two-round total of 180 and the winning title.

Katie Kantrovitz and Opportunity Mars

"During the handy round I just wanted to keep it slow and under control,” explained Kantrovitz. “Not too slow because sometimes he lights up in the turns, but he's an experienced boy, so I just wanted to make sure that I was confident in where I was going. He could not have been better!”

Kantrovitz has been competing at the Lamplight Equestrian Center since she was a child, concluding, “I've been showing here since the ponies, and it is always so fun. It is close to home – just a short drive from St. Louis, Missouri. It is super beautiful, I love the trees and we always have a great crowd here!”

Tina Judge-Boyle and Giviera

Tina Judge-Boyle and Giviera were just two points behind Kantrovitz, earning matching scores of 89 for a total score of 178 and the second-place honors. Kantrovitz’ trainer Sarah Duhon rounded out the top three aboard Monterius with a total score of 176.

Sarah Duhon and Monterius

Competition will continue throughout the weekend at the Lamplight Equestrian Center as part of the HITS Chicago Series. Junior and amateur athletes will showcase their skills on Sunday during their respective hunter classics to close out the first week of the horse show, earning valuable points towards qualifying for the Marshall and Sterling Finals.