Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 20, 2022—There was a different course in the Kentucky Horse Park's Rolex Stadium and a different set of horses filled the order of go, but Hunt Tush and Cannon Creek walked away from the 2022 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship with the same honors they claimed in 2021—champion. Hannah Isop piloted Red Ryder to the reserve champion ribbon, while Tosh doubled down on his success by taking third with Autograph.
Heading into the Handy Round as the top combination in Section A with a 289, gone was the conservative approach Tosh, of Alpharetta, Georgia, and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by The Wheeler Family took in the first round. Opting for all high options over Alan Lohman and Danny Moore's technical course, judges Robert Bielefeld, Fran Dotoli, Scott Hofstetter, Rachel Kennedy, Julie Winkel and Chris Wynne rewarded the duo with a leaderboard-topping 317 to finish on a two-round score of 606. With this win, Tosh joins the ranks of Liza Boyd and Tori Colvin as the third rider to top the Championship three times and pockets $42,643.04 in prize money.
"The horse tries so hard every time we show him. He’s super careful, brave and he’s kind of everything you look for in a Hunter. His balance is wonderful. We show him sparingly but he comes out and he’s just phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about him," said Tosh.
Tosh was also recognized as the Leading Rider of the International Hunter Derby Member Event, earning $83,239.00 and competing in six derbies, and was presented with the Emerson Burr Perpetual Trophy.
"I am so lucky I have the best owners you could ever ask for. Obviously, my daughter, Maddie; KJ, the barn manager; my wife; Kate Stephenson, our vet; my chiropractor; my farrier; everyone behind this horse roots for him and cheers him along," Tosh continued. "You couldn’t ask for a better team or a better horse; it's so special."
Isop, of Pawling, New York, and Tracy Freels' Red Ryder rose from third by adding a 302.75 to their first-round score of 283.75. For Isop, adding a top honor at the International Hunter Derby Championship, and taking home a $27,896.75 check, is icing on the cake of her long history with the 18-year-old Selle Francais gelding.
"He made me a Hunter rider," said Isop of her mount. "It’s been a long partnership which is rare in this world, so I have been incredibly lucky to have such a partnership with him. I can always go into that class and know he’s going to jump his heart out; he might be a little happy doing it and playful, but that’s an incredible feeling knowing that he’s going to give his all."
Rounding out the top three—and leaving only two riders standing on the podium at the end of the evening—was Tosh with Ceil Wheeler's Autograph. The pair sat in eight at the end of the Classic Round after earning a 275.25 and their Handy Round score of 308 shot them up the final placings, finishing with a 583.25. For their efforts, Tosh and the 9-year-old warmblood gelding earned an additional $21,412.42.
Topping Section B and earning fourth in Section A was Colin Syquia, of Forest Hills, New York, and Cynthia Sulzberger's Front Page. Made up of the top 20 riders designed as Tier II rider, meaning they ranked 41st and lower on the Three-Year Rider Money Won list, Section B riders were eligible for 20 percent of the prize money. Those Tier II riders that qualified for Section A were eligible for both purses, and Syquia rode away with a total of $26,159.52 in prize money.
"I think just being here is an honor. There are tough riders and these are great horses. This is my first derby championship and my horse's first derby championship, so it’s just an incredible experience," said Syquia. "From just watching them on the live stream before to being here and just being a spectator to actually have a chance to go up against them was great. It’s an honor, and it’s great that we get all this money."
Earlier in the day, horse-and-rider combinations that didn't make it into Section A or B of the Championship's Handy Round could compete in the $10,000 Derby Challenge. This round offered competition with a clean slate for prize money and awards with a Handy Hunter Round. Finishing on top with a 295 and taking home $3,000 in prize money was Dorothy Douglas, of Ocala, Florida, on Abigail Davenport's MTM Lolah LOL. The 9-year-old Westphalian mare was also the 2022 Leading Horse of the International Hunter Derby Championship Qualifying Series, competing in six derbies and earning $52,458.
As Section A champion, Tosh received product from Exhibitor’s, an Essex Classics Show Shirt, product from Platinum Performance, a cooler from The Clothes Horse, a belt from Boy O Boy Bridleworks, a gift from Rood & Riddle Pharmacy and a keeper trophy. The overall Section A champion rider also received a CWD Saddle, a gift from Human Touch, a medal and keeper trophy, and was awarded the Beaver River Farm Perpetual Trophy. The Wrenwood Farm Trophy was awarded to the Wheeler Family as the Section A champion's owner, and the winning trainer received product from Nutrena.
Reserve champion Isop receives product from Platinum Performance, a belt from Boy O Boy Bridleworks, a cooler from The Clothes Horse, a gift from Rood & Riddle Pharmacy and product from Exhibitor’s.
As Section B champion, Syquia received Parlanti International Tall Boots, an Essex Classic Show Shirt, product from Platinum Performance, a cooler from The Clothes Horse, a gift from Rood & Riddle Pharmacy and product from Exhibitor’s.
Additional awards were also presented throughout the evening. Samantha Schaefer was awarded this year’s Rider Style Award. The top placing Amateur-owner rider was Kara Jones and the Junior-owner was August Iwasaki. Iwasaki was also the leading Junior rider from Tier I and Stella Wasserman was the leading Junior rider from Tier II. The Alberto Ramirez International Derby Groom’s Award was presented to Jesús Sanchez, groom of Folklore, ridden by Rachel Lindsey.
The USHJA thanks the sponsors who helped to make these championships possible including Title Sponsor Platinum Performance; Official Sponsors CWD, Exhibitor's, Nutrena, Parlanti International and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Pharmacy. Thanks also go to Official Broadcast Provider ClipMyHorse.TV and Livestream Presenting Sponsor Windsor Stables with Michael Britt-Leon and Kelly Sims; Supporting Sponsors RingSide Pro and Human Touch; and Award Sponsors Essex Classics, The Clothes Horse and Boy O Boy Bridleworks.
The USHJA also thanks Show Manager Hugh Kincannon and the entire Kentucky Horse Shows team for their assistance with the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships.
Wall-to-wall live streaming coverage presented by Windsor Stables was available at no additional cost to members at ushja.org and ClipMyHorse.TV. Additional coverage will be available in the upcoming issue of In Stride.
For more information about the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships, visit ushja.org/DerbyChampionship. For online results, visit ushja.org/competition/hunter-week-championships.
Photos: Tricia Booker and Shawn McMillen Photography
Horse | Owner | Rider | Score
1.Cannon Creek | The Wheeler Family | Hunt Tosh | 606
2. Red Ryder | Tracy Freels | Hannah Isop | 586.5
3. Autograph | Ceil Wheeler | Hunt Tosh | 583.25
4. Front Page | Cynthia Sulzberger | Colin Syquia | 582.35
5. In The Know | Madeline Schaefer | Samantha Schaefer | 568.65
6. MTM Hand Him Over | Rebekah Warren| Elizabeth Boyd | 568.50
7. Lafitte De Muze | Cheryl Olsten | Amanda Steege | 568.35
8. Milagro | Kent Farrington LLC | John French | 566.5
9. Zanziebar R Z | Diane Little | Greg Crolick | 556.85
10. Attendu De Lannois Z | Ashland Farms | Augusta Iwasaki | 555.25