Lexington, KY - August 15 - Tori Colvin and Inclusive claimed victory in the Classic Hunter Round of the $180,040 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. Their scores of 92, 90 and 95 for a 289 total was unmatched after a field of 75 horses contested today's course in the Kentucky Horse Park's Rolex Stadium.
Jimmy Torano, the busiest rider with eight mounts in the class, saved the best for last as he guided Mindful to second place with 90, 92 and 94 for 288 total points.
Liza Boyd and Brunello returned from a nine-month maternity leave just in time to defend their championship, and they placed third in the Classic Hunter Round with scores of 88.65, 89.75 and 90.
The Classic Hunter Round featured a track of 13 obstacles that simulated the fences found in the hunt field--such as logs, brush and walls--with heights ranging from 3'6" to 4'. The course offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set at a minimum of 4'3 in height (no maximum height).
Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen Photography
The judges included James Clapperton, Jeanne Marie Dunford-Miller, Hap Hansen, Scott Williamson, Julie Winkel and Chris Wynne, who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the Sheila C. Johnson Ring.
Inclusive, an 11-year-old warmblood owned by Betsee Parker, hadn't contested a derby since last year's International Hunter Derby Championship when they placed second in the Consolation Round after a bobble in the Classic Hunter Round.
Colvin, 16, of Loxahatchee, FL, wasn't concerned that her longtime partner might be a little rusty after being sidelined by an injury, and, in fact, their scheduling was part of the plan.
"We showed him at Devon and Junior Hunter Finals, and a he's done a couple of shows, but we wanted to keep him fresh and ready," she said. "He never spooks, and we thought he would be perfect just to go right into Derby Championship."
Colvin enjoyed the course designed by Steve Stephens, which was one that Inclusive jumped beautifully.
"I thought it was really nice. It was very open and beautiful. For the first round it wasn't too spooky, and the high options weren't too high so it was a nice course," she said, noting that she particularly liked the new wagon wheel fence, which caused consternation for some but not the flashy bay gelding.
While Colvin is known for her nerves of steel, the butterflies just might surface before tomorrow evening's Handy Hunter Round.
"I feel amazing," she said. "I've never had a really good round going into the second round. So, it's very different being on top going into the second round. There's no pressure, and I don't really get nervous. I'm just going to go in and see how he feels and what happens."
Torano, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, felt some pressure during today's Classic Hunter Round because he took over the rides for Kelley Farmer, who broke her collarbone and had surgery on August 11.
Glefke and Kensel's Mindful, a 10-year-old Hanoverian, rose to the occasion today, performing to expectations and erasing some of the disappointment that occurred earlier in the class when bad luck ensued.
"So, the nice thing was that in a way they saved the best for last," said Torano. "Going in, I thought that was the horse we could do it on. I think before I went there was a lot of pressure riding on me. But the fact that [my final horse] was that horse, I was so relaxed. I mean, that horse could jump the course by itself. He is that easy to ride."
Glefke praised Torano for his work today and said it's a rare individual who can jump on eight unfamiliar horses and ride around the Rolex Stadium.
"Kelley and I chose Jimmy for this job," he said. "Liza would have been a choice to do that job, too, but she's just coming back from having a child. There are only a few people in the world that could have done what Jimmy did today. And, I have to say, he did a brilliant job."
Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen Photography
Boyd, of Camden, SC, also rode brilliantly today after returning to the show ring just last month after having her daughter Adeline. While the girls at the barn kept Brunello in work during his nine-month break from the show ring, Boyd had an abbreviated timetable so she was committed to making every day count.
"I really wanted to be fit here really for that horse, because who knows how many more years he has," said Boyd of the 16-year-old Hanoverian. "And he doesn't owe me anything. He feels great. I wanted to be ready for him. So, in about 100-degree weather I rode five or six horses a day. It was a lot of sweat and a few tears."
Morgan Ward, of Milford, NJ, won the top Junior Owner Rider Award in today's Classic Hunter Round. After going first in the class and setting the pace, Ward finished 16th aboard Comissario with scores of 84, 84 and 83 for a 263 total.
Callie Seaman, of Greenwich, CT, finished in 24th place and earned the top Amateur Owner Rider Award aboard Carrico.
Virginia-based professional Kelley Farmer once again won the 2013-14 Leading Rider of the International Hunter Derby Championship Qualifying Series with $145,448.
Mythical, owned by David Gochman, won the 2013-14 Leading Horse of the International Hunter Derby Championship Qualifying Series with $51,756.
Kristy Herrera earned the Leading Developing Pro Rider of the 2013-14 International Hunter Derby Championship Qualifying Series with $11,200.
This year the riders will once again contest a tiered Handy Hunter Round format. The top 25 pairs return for action in the $135,030 Section A Handy Hunter Round, with 10 horses shown by Tier I Riders and 15 horses shown by Tier II Riders.
The $45,010 Section B Handy Hunter Round includes a field of 20 riders, with five jumping for Section B money only. The scores for the 15 Tier II Riders in the Section A Handy Hunter Round carry over to the Section B Handy Hunter Round.
The remainder of the field was invited to contest the $10,000 Derby Challenge, supported by Moyer Farm LLC, and 39 entries are on the order of go for tomorrow.
To view the full results and to see the orders of go for tomorrow's Handy Hunter Rounds, please visit www.ushja.org.
The USHJA, in partnership with the USEF Network, is providing a free live webcast of the evening's activities, beginning at 3:45 p.m. ET. For a complete schedule of the evening's competition, please see the USHJA website (www.ushja.org).
The 2014 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship is generously sponsored by: Major Sponsor Dietrich Equine Insurance; Official Cooler: Blue Ribbon Custom Blankets; Challenge Prize Money Donor: Moyer Farm LLC; Awards Sponsors: Essex Classics, Dover Saddlery, Grand Prix, McGuinn Farm, Gifted Paddock, Shapley's and Ariat; Hospitality Sponsor: SmartPak,; Gift Donors: Janet Peterson. The USHJA Official Sponsors include: Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Nutrena, Standlee Hay Company and Charles Owen. USHJA Contributing Sponsors including Perfect Products and Crown Equine Services.