The second phase of the 2019 Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championships at the 3’ and 3’3” heights brought more than 140 exhibitors back to the Walnut Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday, with each horse-and-rider pair aiming at qualifying for Thursday’s championship round by earning a place in the top 30 finishers. Maintaining momentum, Scott Stewart retained his status as the frontrunner aboard Mayflower, laying down another high-scoring performance to earn Wednesday’s victory over fences and the overall top spot on the leaderboard. Adding to his success, Stewart claimed the second-place and third-place spots ahead of the pack with Sandstone and Charlemagne, respectively.
Scott Stewart and Mayflower, Sandstone and Charlemagne. Photo by Phelps Sports
Returning in no particular order, the 3’ horses first maneuvered Bobby Murphy’s track, which offered two option fences, followed by the 3’3” entries. Three-time champion Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Mayflower entered the ring 39th in the start list, opting to jump the fences set at the 3’ height. Though Stewart’s previous mount, Dr. Parker’s Sandstone, held the early lead with a score of 262, his counterpart managed to surpass him by a handful of points with a day two tally of 265.50. More than 100 horses chased down the veteran athlete and his top-scoring mounts throughout the remainder of the class, but none would prove able to match their efforts. Stewart and Mayflower concluded the day as the clear victors.
Scott Stewart and Mayflower. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
Stewart and Sandstone concluded the over fences class in second place, followed by Charlemagne, another horse ridden by Stewart and owned by Dr. Parker, in third position with 261.50 points after navigating the 3’ course. The best 3’3” competitors of the day, Nick Haness and Crowd Pleaser, owned by West Coast Equine Partners LLC, finished the class in fourth place with a score of 261, and Chris Wynne jockeyed Terrie McLeskey’s Landon to fifth in the standings with 259.50 points.
“I thought they all were great. It was awesome,” said Stewart of having the top three horses. “I thought all three went equally as well. I was really happy with them all and I’m thrilled. A little bit of everything goes into [having consistently winning horses.] Of course, it helps that [Dr. Betsee Parker] owns them. We really enjoy the young horses.”
“I had high expectations for all of them,” he continued. “You never know what is going to happen, but I’m thrilled with them. For Charlemange, I think this is only his fourth horse show. He did Florida and then he did Upperville [Colt & Horse Show]. [Mayflower] has also only shown four or five times. [Sandstone] was wonderful here last year and he won the 5-Year-Old competition here this year, but he has also shown just a couple times. Typically, we might show them twice in Florida and then we will do one other show, maybe Upperville [Colt & Horse Show] or Kentucky Spring, but I try not to show them too much. We try to save them as much as we can.”
Scott Stewart and Sandstone. Photo: Shawn McMillen Photography
In the overall standings, Stewart finished in the top two spots, piloting Mayflower to 532.50 points to sweep victory, followed by Sandstone in second place with a score of 526. Thanks to two strong showings, Christopher Payne and Stillwater Farm LLC’s Gratitude ranked third with a total score of 522, while Holly Orlando rode Waypoint Farm LLC’s Waverly to fourth position with a two-day composite score of 521. A previous winner of the championship, Hunt Tosh remained near the top with a cumulative 517 points earned aboard Dr. Parker’s Bordeaux.
The top 30 contenders in the 3’/3’3” section will return Thursday with a blank slate in terms of scoring, but Stewart clearly poses the greatest threat of winning with four horses qualified for the final round of riding. Haness, Orlando, Courtney Lenkart, Christopher Payne, Elizabeth Boyd, Jeff Gogul and Maria Rasmussen will each have rides on two mounts apiece. The rest of the field will try to top the scorecard aboard a solitary mount.
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / Score
Green Hunter Incentive – Combined Rounds I and II
1. Mayflower / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 532.50
2. Sandstone / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 526
3. Gratitude / Christopher Payne / Stillwater Farm, LLC / 522
4. Waverly / Holly Orlando / Waypoint Farm, LLC / 521
5. Bordeaux / Hunt Tosh / Dr. Betsee Parker / 517
6. Graciano / Jeff Gogul / Roberts Stables, LLC 513
7. Newton / Jenny Karazissis / Lisa Wu / 511.50
7. Business Time / Maria Rasmussen / Maya Grove / 511.50
9. Landon / Chris Wynne / Terrie McLeskey / 508.50
10. Snowcloud / Victoria Colvin / Meralex Farm / 508.25
11. Reese`s / Nick Haness / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 505
12. Laguna / Courtney Lenkart / Windham Hill / 504.25