An assembly of stars aligned to make Paul Rohrbach’s first win in today’s $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Corcovado a winning one! Paul Rohrback knew that he had to be extremely handy and bold in order to win the class after a little rub in the first round, garnering him a score of 160. Of 16 riders, the winner of the first round was Frank Owens, atop a dashing chestnut, Carrida, who elegantly floated across the grass fields to scores of 90 and 92—for a combined total of 182—from the two panels of judges.
After a course walk for the handy portion of the Derby, Course Designer Skip Bailey set up a pinwheel that formed the ‘Santa Fe Star,’ allowing the riders to pick their own strategic track to jump two of the four hay bale options in the center of the arena. There were 10 possible handy points to be made in this element of the course. By definition, the challenge of this pinwheel allots most ‘handy’ points to the rider who opts to cover the least amount of ground as efficiently as possible. Several tracks were tested in the handy portion of the course—some serpentines and circles, but only a small few took on the more challenging direct route.
This was Paul Rohrbach’s strategy in sealing the win with NTM Enterprises’ dashing bay Warmblood Corcovado. Rohrbach’s seamlessly sailed across the arena, nailing the first bending line and then tactically tackling the direct three stride in the ‘Santa Fe Star,’ which set him up to go directly to the following oxer on the bend. With four points from electing each of the higher options and nine points for daring to go directly through the ‘Santa Fe Star’, Rohrback sealed a score of 99 from the first panel and 100 from the second panel of judges. This granted him a nearly perfect total score of 199 in the handy round—bringing the pair to a grand total of 359.
“Sometimes fortune favors the bold!”, said Rohrbach, “In the warm-up [for the handy], I realized I’d have to have some great scores, so I took a pretty aggressive track in the handy. I took a chance, I went big or I went home, and I went home really big!!!” The professional recalls thinking to himself before the handy round, that the only way to win would be to score a 100, “I knew when I finished the course I was going to be close—the rest was up to the opinion of the judges,” he said.
One of the first things Rohrbach did after the class was call Corcovado’s owner Nancy Moore, who has ridden at Wells Bridge Farm for 17 years. Although she couldn’t make it, Rohrbach said, “I know she’s going to be delighted when she gets the message I left on her phone!” Rohrbach described the handsome gelding as “quite the showman,” but can be a “slight over-thinker.”
It’s been a winding road to secure Corcovado’s first Derby win. Rohrbach admitted that often the gelding can be inconsistent in the handy portion of the derbies and usually makes the most points in their first rounds of the class. Today, there was no such luxury. Corcovado rose to the occasion to secure the win based on a top handy score.
“It’s a culmination of a lots of handies and a lot of work. His first round scores [usually] really help him in the derbies and the handies can be a bit of a ‘cross your fingers’ sort of thing, so it was really nice to see him finish so strongly in the handy today.” This win is a welcome one, because Rohrbach has won every color under the rainbow in the derby classes aboard Corcovado, “I’ve been 4th… I’ve been 6th… I’ve been 8th… I’ve had pretty much every color but the blue one.”
Helmets off in the victory gallop were in order to celebrate this bright moment in Corcovado’s career and a near perfect score for Rohrbach. Between the ‘Star of Santa Fe,’ Corcovado’s personal success in the handy portion, and a nearly perfect score—the stars aligned to make another fabulous day at HIPICO Santa Fe an extra lucky one for Paul Rohrbach and Corcovado.
$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
|Placing||Horse Name||Rider||Owner||Total Score|
|1||Corcovado||Paul Rohrbach||Ntm Enterprises||359|
|2||Five Star||McKenzie Mills||McKenzie Mills||356|
|3||Fabled||Rachel Lindsey||Amberlea Tribble||334.5|
|4||Faraon||Ashley Stannard||K Watson LLC.||327|
|5||Caramba||Hannah Pattermann||Beth Bowlen||323|
|6||Chocolate 68||Katherine Huffstutler||Katherine Huffstutler||311.5|
|7||Would You Mind||Nada Wise||Stacey Thompson||310|
|8||MTM Top That||Erin Murphy||Erin Murphy||306|