Michael Leon and Transparency Win Final KCR Classic Derby at Gulf Coast Winter Classic

Michael Leon of Marietta, Georgia, wrapped up the Gulf Coast Winter Classic on a high note, winning the final KCR Classic Derby of the circuit with Kelly Sims’ Transparency. The pair topped the class of 26 entrants to secure the Week VI title.

“This class was just fun,” Leon commented of the back-to-back derby format. “There was a lot of changing direction, bending lines, some twists and turns, and a long stretch towards the end that gave riders a great opportunity to show off their horse’s step.”

Leon and Transparency earned themselves a first round score of 85, along with a handy score of 83 for an overall total of 168.

Michael Leon and Transparency on course in the KCR Classic Hunter Derby. Photo credit: Alison Hartwell Photography

Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, Alabama and Micaela Kennedy and Sabina Holtzman’s Ravello took second place honors for their overall score of 162. Shepherd also piloted Kennedy and Holtzman’s Jerez Mail to a third place ribbon.

Transparency was acquired by Sims about a month ago from Kelley Farmer. Since then, Leon said he’s been getting accustomed to his new prospect. Leon’s derby plan for the eight-year-old warm blood was a quiet first round, followed by some more challenging questions in the handy round.

“I used the handy round as an opportunity to ask some more questions of Transparency,” said Leon, specifically mentioning a hard right turn after a two-stride combination to lead them to the final oxer.

Transparency gets better and better each time he’s in the ring,” he said. “He understands his job for us. He’s willing, wants to go to the jumps, wants to jump well, and he wants to win. He’s a fun horse to go into the ring with just because he’s so beautiful.”

Gulf Coast Classic Company President greets Michael Leon and Transparency in the winner’s circle. Photo credit: Alison Hartwell Photography

Leon is no stranger to winning hunter derbies, but he was quick to praise the team at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic for a great circuit. Leon’s a relative newcomer to horse shows in the Southeast, and he said he was impressed by the professionalism of the management, and the quality of the KCR footing.

“That Bob Bell, he does a very good horse show,” he added. “Bell’s presence alone gives off the impression that show management cares – about the horses, the exhibitors and the spectators. He puts such a good energy into his horse shows.”

Ellen Murphy was awarded the $500 KCR Classic Derby Low Non Pro Rider Bonus by Bob Bell. Photo credit: Alison Hartwell Photography

Everything is Gucci, owned and ridden by Christina Fisher of Alpharetta, Georgia , earned a fourth place ribbon and Versailles, owned by Allison Wegmann and ridden by Francesca Senior of Jackson, Mississippi placed fifth. Rio’s Fiorella, owned and ridden by Ellen Murphy of Robstown, Texas earned a sixth place ribbon and Murphy was awarded the KCR Classic Derby Low Non Pro Rider Bonus of $500.00. Leon returned for the seventh place ribbon in the irons of Kelly Sims’ True Enough.

NTEC Labros, owned by Hunter Shedd and ridden by Amanda Comly of Sachse, Texas, placed eighth and Murphy returned for a ninth place ribbon with her own MTM Top That. Tenth went to Convinced, owned and ridden by Cassidy Bosch of Mclean, Virginia; they were also awarded the $300 KCR Classic Low Non Pro Rider Bonus. Dudley MacFarlane of Crozet, Virginia, earned an eleventh place ribbon with Mount Fair Equine, LLC’s Asante as well as the $200 KCR Classic Derby Low Non Pro Rider Bonus. Senior returned for a twelfth place ribbon with Castlemaine, LLC’s Chacco B.

Christina Fisher won the $500 KCR Classic Derby High Non Pro Rider Bonus. Photo credit: Alison Hartwell Photography

Isabel Harbour of Alpharetta, Georgia won the $300 KCR Classic Derby High Non Pro Rider Bonus with Meghan Flanagan’s Fitz and the $200 KCR Classic Derby High Non Pro Rider Bonus with Ashley Hartman’s Loquattro.