Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 20, 2021—Hunt Tosh sits atop Cannon Creek and the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship leaderboard after today's Classic Hunter Round in Kentucky Horse Park's iconic Rolex Arena. Victoria Colvin and El Primero are hot on his heels in second, while Scott Stewart and Hudson are in third.
Eighty-eight horse and rider combinations contested the track designed by Alan Lohman and Danny Moore and overseen by judges Tom Brennan, Carleton Brooks, Kim Dorfman, Hope Glynn, Mike Rosser and Andrea Wells. Three-time winner Colvin and her 2019 winning mount El Primero, owned by Bryan Baldwin, took an early lead with a score of 284 and the first 90+ score of the day. Going second in the order, the duo held onto that lead until Tosh and Cannon Creek, owned by Emil Spadone, landed from the last jump.
"It was a nice course; it was fun. My horse went beautifully," Tosh said. "He did a class early in the week to kind of check where he was and he jumped spectacular today. It was a fun course. It’s hard when [Tori] already had a beautiful trip, and I was trying to beat [her,] and I got lucky, so it was a good day."
Tosh, who also topped the 3'0"/3'3" Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship yesterday, rebutted Colvin's score by earning a 94, 94 and 91. He and the Holsteiner gelding took all the course's high options to end with an impressive 291.
Colvin was happy with El Primero's performance, especially since this week was his first time back in the show ring this summer.
"He was perfect, We went really early, it was a little foggy when we went, but he didn’t care. He hasn’t shown since WEF 12 actually, so I did a class earlier this week like Hunt, and then he just went out there and he was perfect," Colvin said. "He felt amazing; he was jumping better this week than ever. Louise Serio, who helps train him, was actually really excited about how he was jumping."
Scott Stewart earned a score of 279.5 for the Classic Round with a new mount, Hudson, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. This was the veteran Hunter competitor's return to the Championships after a short International Hunter Derby hiatus.
"Hudson we just got at the end of Florida this year. He’s done a couple derbies, I was really happy with him today. I thought the course was really inviting and nice and let the horses jump well. I was really pleased," Stewart said. "I was a little nervous because, I haven’t done it in so long but both my horses, especially the one that made it through, really gives me confidence so I’m enjoying it, it’s going to be fun."
The twelfth Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship will culminate tomorrow evening, August 21, under the lights of the Rolex Stadium with the exciting Handy Hunter round.
For the Saturday evening Handy Hunter Round, riders will be grouped into two tiers based on the amount of total money earned over the last three years in International Hunter Derbies as of December 1, 2017. Tier I riders are those ranked 1-40 on the three-year earnings list, and Tier II riders are those ranked below 40th. Horse-and-rider combinations, regardless of tier, placing in the top 25 of the Classic Hunter round will be eligible for 80 percent prize money and compete in Section A of the Handy round. The top 20 Tier II horse-and-rider combinations, including those who qualified for Section A, will be eligible for 20 percent of the prize money; those not in Section A will compete in Section B of the Handy.
The overall Section A Champion will receive a Charles Owen Helmet, product from Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Pharmacy and Platinum Performance, an Essex Show Shirt, a belt from Boy O Boy Bridleworks, and a cooler from The Clothes Horse. The overall Section A champion rider will also receive a CWD saddle and a pair of Parlanti International tall boots. Winning Trainer will receive product from Nutrena. The overall Section B Champion will receive Parlanti International tall boots, an Essex Classic Show Shirt, a gift from Rood & Riddle Pharmacy, a cooler from The Clothes Horse and product from Platinum Performance.
Prizes will also be given for the Shapley's Best Turned Out Horse Award, Rider Style Award, to the top placing Junior-owner rider, top placing Junior rider and top placing Amateur-owner rider. New this year is a special award in memory of Liza Boyd’s late groom, The Alberto Ramirez International Hunter Derby Groom’s Award. Alberto was a mainstay in Liza and Brunello’s multiple USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship wins, and we are proud to honor his memory alongside his friends with this new award that will be presented on Saturday evening.
Additionally, the $10,000 Derby Challenge, will be held the afternoon of August 21, allowing riders that did not qualify for either Section A or Section B Handy Round to compete one more time for a substantial amount of prize money.
Horse & Country, official broadcast provider of the 2021 Platinum Performance/USHJA Hunter Week, will provide wall-to-wall live streaming coverage and on demand access to every round of the Championship. Coverage includes expert commentary from Britt McCormick and Rachel Kennedy.
The USHJA thanks the Official Sponsors who helped to make these championships possible, including Charles Owen, Inc., the Official Helmet of the USHJA Championships; CWD, the Official Saddle of the USHJA; Nutrena® the Official Horse Feed of the USHJA; Parlanti International, the Official Riding Boot of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, the Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy; Platinum Performance, title sponsor of the Green Hunter Incentive and International Hunter Derby Championships; Horse & Country, the Official Broadcast Provider; Kelly Sims & Windsor Stables, supporting sponsor of the Championships Live Stream; The Clothes Horse, Official Cooler of the Derby Championship; and Hunter Championship Award Sponsors Essex Classics, Boy O Boy Bridleworks and Shapley's.
For more information, including the complete schedule, orders of go and online results for the 2021 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, visit ushja.org/DerbyChampionship.
Photos: Shawn McMillen Photography and Tricia Booker/USHJA