Stewart & Keenan Dominate During USHJA Hunter Derby Finals Qualifying
Catch the Finals live Saturday night on the USEF Network!
August 19, 2011
Lexington, KY-After 59 contenders concluded the qualifying round of the $100,000 United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals, presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, it was Scott Stewart and Lillie Keenan who took the lion's share of the awards. Stewart placed his mounts in the top-three positions, while Keenan finished in fourth and fifth.
With the top-25 pairs returning for action with clean slates on Saturday, August 20, you can watch the excitement of the final two rounds live on the Internet. The USHJA, in partnership with the USEF Network, is providing a free live webcast of Saturday evening's activities, beginning with the opening ceremonies at 6:25PM.
Photo Credit: Shawn McMillen Photography
Viewers will be treated to the Parade of the Top 25, the carriage arrival of the officials, a mounted color guard, and a special guest to sound the arrival of the first horse on course. No need to search the Internet for results during or after the show-just sign on to www.usefnetwork.com at 6:25PM and enjoy the event live!
The qualifying round featured a course of 12 obstacles designed by Bobby Murphy (KY) and Patrick Rodes (TX). Created to simulate a hunt field-using natural fences such as logs, hay bales and stone walls-the heights ranged from 3'6 to 4' and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four optional fences set from 4' to 4'3.
The judges included Scott Hofstetter (FL), Otis Brown (KY), Russell Frey (MD), Julie Winkel (NV), Carleton Brooks (CA), Jimmy Torano (FL), Jim Clapperton (MI) and Mike Rosser (NC) who were split into panels of two and placed in strategic positions around the arena.
At the halfway point, Keenan, New York, NY, one of the youngest competitors at age 14, led the pack aboard the brilliant 9-year-old warmblood mare Madison, owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC. "I loved the course; it was a true hunter course. It reminded me of the pictures of my mom when she was a kid riding an outside course," said Keenan, who scored 354 points.
The 35th horse in the order, Carlos-Boy, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding and veteran grand prix show jumper who has transitioned to the hunter derbies, was in complete harmony with Stewart and garnered a score of 366 to take the lead.
"I thought the course was great. I thought for once I couldn't complain if I had a bad day, because it was really huntery and exactly what I would expect this type of class to be," Stewart said.
Eight rides later aboard the 9-year-old bay Westphalian gelding Declaration (owned by Fashion Farm), Stewart, Wellington, FL, jumped into second
place with a score of 364.50. "He [Declaration] has been doing the amateurs with his owner, and, to be honest, I haven't jumped him myself since last winter in Florida," said Stewart. "He was great today."
The final 11 horses in the order included many favored to qualify for the top 25; however, a few stunned the crowds when they fell short of advancing. Not so for either Keenan or Stewart. Keenan's next mount, C Coast Z, an 11-year-old gray warmblood also owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, posted a 351.65 for fifth, while Stewart's greenest mount, 8-year-old Empire (owned by Becky Gochman), cinched a top-three sweep for Stewart with a 363.50. "He did great, and I couldn't be more proud of him," Stewart said of the youngster.
Check out the Order of Go for the Top 25 headed into the Classic Round on Saturday evening, and don't forget to visit www.usefnetwork.com beginning at 6:25PM to catch all the excitement of the Finals live.
To learn more about Dietrich Equine Insurance's line of quality products, please visit them at www.dietrich-insurance.com or call 800-942-4258.
For additional information on the 2011 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals, Presented by Dietrich Equine Insurance, please visit www.ushja.org.
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