El Primero, owned by Meralex Farm and shown by Victoria Colvin, claimed victory in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the final leg of not only this year’s Deeridge Derby, but also the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series® at Deeridge Farms.
Victoria Colvin and El Primero were the Overall Champions of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Deeridge Derby. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography.
The top 25 entries from the 42 that contested Saturday’s Classic Round returned for Sunday’s handy over the Phil DeVita-designed course. Judges Linda Hough, Susie Schoellkopf, Walter T. “Timmy” Kees and Chance Arakelian were impressed by many of the competitors but gave El Primero and Colvin the highest two-round total score of 378.75.
Colvin and El Primero were the last to ride based on their leading performance in Saturday’s Classic Round. With Saturday’s scores combined with Sunday’s handy points, plus credit for jumping the high options, the duo amassed an overall score of 378.75. That gave them the win by a mere 1.25 points after MTM Outbid and Tracy Fenney put the pressure on with an exceptional handy round worthy of 199 points. That pair finished on a 377.50 total to finish in the runner-up position, while Enchanted and Kelley Farmer were second with a 372.75 total score.
“After the first round yesterday, I could barely get El Primero going for the victory gallop, but today he had great energy,” said Colvin. “He jumped better than ever. He jumped so high at the first jump that I was waiting for him to come down. I had an unfortunate swap at the second jump, and after that I decided that I needed to be really handy, and I made the inside cut to the trot fence even though I had not planned to do that, but it all worked out.”
Victoria Colvin and El Primero lead the victory gallop. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography
Fenney and MTM Outbid moved up from fourth position after the classic round to claim runner-up honors. Fenney knew she had to take risks in order to reap any rewards, and it paid off.
“I had quite a bit to make up from yesterday,” said Fenney. “I figured I had nothing to lose, so I just gave it my all. I was super happy with [my horse] today.”
Enchanted, piloted by Kelley Farmer for owner Christel Weller, also moved up in the final rankings, jumping from fifth position after the first round to a final third overall. Enchanted and Farmer scored a 195 for their bold, yet elegant trip around the course.
“We, as exhibitors, are so grateful to the Jacobs family for putting on a show like this,” said Farmer. “The horses love the change of venue and the ability to show on the grass. It is so special, and the horses respond in a positive way.”
Deeridge Derby president Katie Jacobs Robinson, who co-founded the Palm Beach Masters Series with her brothers Lou and Charlie Jacobs, expressed her pride in how the competition played out.
“[Hosting a derby like this] has always been a dream of ours,” she said. “My father and I have always had a passion for hunters, and it makes us so happy to welcome these hunters and give them a chance to compete in a stand-alone show in a ring like this. We really appreciate their being here.”
Prior to Sunday afternoon’s finale, 16-year-old Stella Propp and Aquitaine Equine’s Inquisitive won the $5,000 USHJA National Junior/Amateur Hunter Derby. Producing two consistently brilliant rounds worthy of identical scores of 92, the duo finished with a total score of 184.
Stella Propp and Inquisitive topped the $5,000 USHJA Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography
“I am so happy right now; you have no idea!” exclaimed a beaming Propp after the class. “This is a new pairing for me, as we just got Inquisitive at the start of the season. He has been like a dream. He is 11 years old and gives you 100% in the show ring. Whenever I step in the ring on him, I just feel so confident. Getting to do the high options was so much fun, because I can do them on Inquisitive, and I don’t have to be scared of the height.
“I haven’t done a Derby since I was in ponies, so going in the ring was very scary for me, especially since I was against such amazing amateur and junior riders,” Propp continued, “but I had so much fun. I went in for the experience, and it ended up better than I ever could have imagined!”
John Ingram and his Koala were awarded second place. Their first-round score of 89 was bolstered by a stellar performance in the handy, for which the judges awarded them a score of 91, for a total of 180. Libretto and Brad Wolf, finished third with a total score of 179