Victor Victorious with Hayley Waters Wear in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala :: HITS


Victor Victorious with Hayley Waters Wear in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at HITS Ocala

Ocala, Fla. – February 18. 2023 – The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby took center stage in the Main Hunter ring on Saturday afternoon at HITS Ocala, showcasing both seasoned and rising hunter talent. Hayley Waters Wear piloted Victor to the top of the standings, producing two brilliant rounds that the judges rewarded with scores of 94 and 88. Just two points behind them were Morgan Ward and Comissario for second place, while Matthew Jenkins and Safari rounded out the top three.

“Victor is so lovely to ride,” expressed Wear. “He is really quiet, so you don't do too much with him – just let him show off in the ring. He's so sweet and he knows how cute he is – he’s lovely to have in the barn. I love riding him, so I had a great time tonight!”

Hayley Waters Wear and Victor. Photo by: ESI Photography

Saturday’s $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby featured beautiful natural fences set under the historic Oak tree of the Main Hunter ring by course designer Timothy Hott. The top 12 from the classic round were invited to return for the handy round, which featured four high options and tested riders with several rollbacks and a trot jump before riders galloped home over the final bending line.

Hayley Waters Wear and Victor, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding owned by Carelyn Monroe, returned with a score of 94 from the first round. They showcased perfect form over each fence while maintaining a beautiful pace throughout the course to garner a score of 88 during the handy. Leading from start to finish, their total of 182 would be unmatched to earn the winning title and lead the lap of honor.

Hayley Waters Wear and Victor. Photo by: ESI Photography

“I tried to be as handy as I could,” said Wear. “I was a little bit conservative with my round, but I thought he was really great through the first few jumps, then the turnbacks, then back to the combination.”

Hayley Waters Wear was thrilled to be at the winner’s circle at HITS Ocala, concluding, “I think they've done a great job with the improvements. I've shown here forever and it was really fun to win a class under the lights.”

Morgan Ward and Comissaro. Photo by: ESI Photography

Morgan Ward and Comissario finished in a close second place, earning impressive scores of 91 and 89 for a total score of 180. The third-place award went to Matthew Jenkins and Safari for their total score of 174.5.

Matthew Jenkins and Safari. Photo by: ESI Photography

Hunter action at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will continue next week with the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, as well as the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Horses and riders hoping to make their derby debuts will have the opportunity to showcase their skills during the Post Time 2'6" and 2’ Hunter Derbies. Top horses and riders should mark their calendars today for the next $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which will be held during Week 9 at Post Time Farm. For more information visit the horse show office or