Elizabeth Towell-Boyd and Castello Win Aiken Spring Classic Hunter Derby for the Second Year

April 21, 2009

Lexington, KY – April 21, 2009 – Elizabeth Towell-Boyd and Castello won their second straight Aiken Spring Classic $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby in Aiken, South Carolina this past weekend. Last year, the pair bested a field of 33 to win the prestigious hunter class. Castello, owned by Roger Smith of Wellington, Florida, currently sits in fourth place in the International Hunter Derby Finals Standings.

Towell-Boyd and the 12-year-old Holsteiner entered the Aiken Derby coming off of a fourth place finish in the $50,000 WEF Derby at the end of March in Palm Beach. Castello was imported from Europe five years ago with the hopes of being Smith’s next jumper. “I was with Jack Towell at the time and he helped me find Castello as a present for my husband,” Jennifer Smith explained. “We originally bought him as a jumper, but he’s turned into a really nice hunter.”

That was evident during Saturday’s event at the Highfields Event Center where the bay gelding put in two impressive rounds to win the Derby class. Each Derby features two courses, a classic round and a handy hunter round that are built to encourage and reward daring from both horse and rider. Both courses were designed by J.P. Godard and challenged the 37 horse field with several options and tough obstacles. Towell-Boyd and Castello rode to first place finishes over both courses before being named the Derby champion. Sixteen-year-old Junior rider, Chase Boggio and his gelding Graphiq earned second place honors and were followed by Gary Young on Nancy Jones’ Colorado.

Smith said that she and her husband decided to first enter Castello in the Aiken Derby last year. “He’s very scopey and never stops at a jump,” she said. “We thought it would be a lot of fun to watch him in the class and it turns out that it is.” Besides wins at both Aiken Derbies, the gelding also won the Atlanta Summer Classic I Derby last June with Towell-Boyd in the irons.

The 18 month derby series will culminate at the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21-22, 2009 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The top 75 money earning horses will be invited to compete for international recognition. For up to date standings, click here.

Visit USHJA.org for a complete schedule and more information. Questions concerning the Derby can be directed to Melanie Fransen, USHJA’s Director of Programs and Education, at mfransen@ushja.org or 859-225-6960.

The 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor

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