Stewart and Empire Wow the Crowd with Their High Scores in the Qualifying Round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Scott Stewart and Empire win the first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the twelfth week of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot

Wellington, FL – April 1, 2011 – It was an important day for hunters at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Sixty entries took their shot at a chance to compete in the $50,000 USHJA Hunter Derby, one of the biggest purses offered for hunter competitors in the world. The class began this afternoon in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. With a large number of spectators standing by, each horse and rider combination took their turn over a course of eleven jumps, with four high option fences.

There were two teams of judges – Danny Robertshaw and Jim Clapperton (Panel 1 – tiebreaker), John Barker and Scott Williamson (Panel 2) – one team on either side of the ring. Each team of judges awarded a numerical score plus a bonus point for each high option fence that was jumped. The sum of the scores was given as each rider’s final score for the first round of competition.

Scott Stewart wasted no time getting down to business on the first of his six mounts in the class. Going fourth in the order, Stewart led the Fashion Farm’s entry Dedication to a combined score of 186, which was good enough to leave the pair in fourth overall going into tomorrow night. “Dedication is a First Year horse, who has been champion a few times here. He’s very scopey and very easy, but he just turned six, so he’s still pretty green. I was very happy with him,” beamed Stewart.

It wasn’t until Stewart went on the last of his six mounts that he secured the lead for round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Empire, an entry of Becky Gochman, left the crowd and the judges speechless as he exited the ring. Empire and Stewart secured a score of 94 plus 3 bonus points from the first pair of judges, and an 89.5 plus 3 bonus points from the second pair of judges, giving the winning duo a total score of 189.5 to take the class. “What made me decide to do it on him was a couple weeks ago I was schooling him out here, and we put the jumps up pretty high, and he just did it so easily,” Stewart explained about his decision to show the young Empire in the derby.

Adding a little icing to the cake, Victoria Colvin rode Stewart’s horse Inclusive to the third place ribbon after today’s first round class. The pair left the ring with a combined score of 186.

Stewart doesn’t anticipate any problems with tomorrow’s second round in the International Arena under the lights. “He was champion in World Hunter Rider Week out there, so hopefully he’ll be good tomorrow night,” smiled Stewart. “He’s just very brave.”

The course was comprised of natural looking obstacles, some which have not been used yet this winter in the hunter rings. Most contained some form of hedge, shrubbery, or wall as well. Stewart shared his views of today’s course. “I thought it was nice. I was a little worried about the brick wall at the end, but I don’t think anybody had too much trouble with that. The rest was really huntery and nice, I thought.”

With four high options throughout the course, most riders chose to do all or none of them. However, Stewart opted to do three high options, leaving out the first one. “The first high option was so early in the course, and it rode quite big away from the gate. I was afraid with most of my horses that they would try too hard and get playful, so I played it safe. The others were more inviting,” he explained.

Now that today’s course is history, riders have to look forward to tomorrow night’s course, which is sure to be even more impressive, with impressive jumps and a longer course. “Last year’s course was very huntery, nice, and flowing. I’m hoping this year’s will be the same thing, and just a fun class,” stated Stewart about his expectations for tomorrow night.

All of the riders in today’s qualifying round worked hard to make the top twenty-five, and now those riders have to work even harder to get a piece of tomorrow night’s very large purse. The $50,000 in prize money is a rarity in the hunter ring, and gives riders and owners the opportunity to take home a nice prize and some good recognition too. “I think it’s great,” said Stewart. “To be at night again is fabulous, and hopefully there will be good attendance.”

Join the crowd tomorrow night as the top 25 vie for the number one spot in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. For those that are away and unable to attend, the class will be aired live on the USEF Network at the following web address: http://www.usefnetwork.com/WEFDerby2011/.

For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com for more information, visit www.equestriansport.com.

Final Results: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round One

PLACE # HORSE RIDER OWNER PANEL 1 PANEL 2 BONUS ROUND 1 TOTAL
1 2384 EMPIRE SCOTT STEWART GOCHMAN, BECKY 94 89.5 6 189.5
2 6238 JERSEY BOY JENNIFER ALFANO FARMS INC., SBS 90 90 8 188
3 2414 INCLUSIVE VICTORIA COLVIN STEWART, SCOTT 93 87 6 186
4 2396 DEDICATION SCOTT STEWART FARM, FASHION 88 92 6 186
5 3267 PRAISE KELLEY FARMER GLEFKE, DAVID 86 88 8 182
6 2915 ROCK STAR LOUISE SERIO BRIGHT STAR 158, LLC 87 85 8 180
7 6240 MISS LUCY JENNIFER ALFANO LENAHAN, HELEN 86.25 85.5 8 179.75
8 1225 SIENNA PATRICIA GRIFFITH MAOUNIS, LEXI 83 89 6 178
9 2217 SAILOR’S VALENTINE HOLLY ORLANDO FARM, WESTERLY 85 86 6 177
10 1205 DELOREAN PATRICIA GRIFFITH COLLINS, WENDY 85.5 84.5 6 176
11 418 SUMMER PLACE MAGGIE JAYNE LANE FARM, PONY 82.25 85.25 8 175.5
12 1511 THE SPECIALIST KRISTY MCCORMACK LIPKE, MEREDITH 84 82 6 172
13 6702 MONTAGUE GARY YOUNG GOLDSMITH, ISOBEL V 82.5 81.5 8 172
14 3090 GOGOL LYMAN WHITEHEAD FIORE, MAGGIE 82 84 6 172
15 5921 BASES LOADED KELLEY FARMER FREE, INC, AM 84 77 8 169
16 2426 CARLOS BOY SCOTT STEWART WEISMAN, ALEXA 80 80 8 168
17 406 FRANCESCA MAGGIE JAYNE LANE FARM, PONY 79 79.75 8 166.75
18 1512 SUNDANCE KIM MC CORMACK MC CORMACK, KIM 81.75 77.35 6 165.1
19 6311 COOPER SCOTT STEWART GREENE + FOUR WINDS FARM, TAYLOR 78 81 6 165
20 1332 GENEROUS DAVID OLIYNYK GAUDET, LORI 76.25 80.5 8 164.75
21 1145 COASTING LAENA ROMOND ENTERPRISES, INC., SHF 77 77.5 6 160.5
22 5256 ELON AF OSTRA HULT MELISSA BARK FARM LLC, ENTERPRISE 76 75 8 159
23 2931 LUXOR TIFFANY CORNACCHIO-MORRISSEY NIKKI CARR, SCNC INVESTMENTS & 74.5 78.5 6 159
24 2368 DECLARATION SCOTT STEWART FARM, FASHION 76 75.5 6 157.5
25 6009 ENSO LILLIE KEENAN FARM, HERITAGE 72 79.5 6 157.5

Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC
14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, FL 33414
561-793-5867 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Media Relations
803-240-7488
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Clara Belden
Public Relations and Marketing
561-793-5867
clara@equestriansport.com

Be Sociable - Share!

Leave a Reply