Griffith and North Country Notch Another Derby Win

July 17, 2009

Lexington, KY – July 16, 2009 – Patricia Griffith and North Country’s daring performance in the handy round of the Horse Shows by the Bay $15,000 The Chronicle of the Horse/USHJA International Hunter Derby was the decisive factor in the outcome of last Saturday’s prestigious hunter class. When the last horse left the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park, Griffith and Lillie Keenan riding Genuine were tied with a score of 373. Top honors were awarded to Griffith based on her round two handy score, where her decision to take higher fence options and make tight inside turns paid off.

Course designer Dean Rheinheimer set a challenging track for the 37 entries that included a bank jump, in and out options and optional inside turns. “The course included several options and the riders that chose to take the higher fences and make the inside turns were rewarded,” Rheinheimer says.

Griffith and North Country finished the classic round in fourth place behind Stephen Martines’ Peridot ridden by Kara Raposa, Keenan on Genuine owned by Chansonette Farm LLC and Ellen St. John’s Bring It On ridden by Shane Sweetnam. In the handy round, the 10-year-old gelding put in a near-perfect performance to secure the lead. Griffith’s decision to take the higher in and out option followed by a challenging inside turn earned the pair 10 bonus points from both sets of judges for a handy round score of 195. Keenan finished the handy round in second place with a score of 185.

“Overall it was a good class and top honors went to the horses and riders that chose the more challenging track,” Rheinheimer says. “Patricia Griffith did a good job of riding the course and deserved the win.”

The Horse Shows by the Bay derby comes as North Country’s second derby victory. He jumped to first place in last year’s Showplace Spectacular derby in Chicago and has been invited to compete in the 2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals held at the Kentucky Horse Park on August 21-22.

The 2009/2010 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: The Chronicle of the Horse – Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor; The Clothes Horse-Award Sponsor

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