What is The Hunter Derby?

By TPH Intern Caroline Gabus, Photos by Adam Hill

The Plaid Horse is proud to sponsor a special award for the Top Scoring Junior Rider and the Top Handy Round Score at all the USHJA Derbies at Blenheim Equisports horse shows in Southern California.

The USHJA Hunter Derby Program was initiated to enhance horsemanship in the hunter disciplines by offering the Pony Derby, National Derby, and International Derby. Each of these show at different heights and each offers a unique challenge to the horses and riders participating. The format consists of two rounds. The first is a Classic round, judged on quality, movement, jumping style, manners and way of going, with pace and brilliance rewarded. Bonus points are given for higher fence options. Round 2, also known as the Handy Hunter round, is judged with the above criteria and bonus points for a handy track and higher options. Each type of derby offers prize money ranging from $2,500 to $280,000.

The Pony Derby is relatively new. Like a horse derby, it has two rounds, Classic and Handy.

But, instead of it just having one fence height with a certain high option height, ponies get three different fence heights based on the ponies’ size. If it is a small pony, the fence height is 2’3, the medium ponies jump 2’6, and large ponies jump 2’9 to 3’0. In a Pony Derby, there are no high option fences included and Pony Derbies will have two judges.  

With fence heights set at 3′ and high options set at 3’5, the National Hunter Derby invites a wide variety of riders and horses. Green horses and younger riders are able to get experience in these more challenging tracks.  Each round will have four high option fences. After the first Classic round has gone, only the top 12 riders and horses come back for the Handy round. In the first round, the base score is given and then a single point is added for each high option. For the Handy, the same thing happens, base score is given and one extra point per high option is added. After both rounds are complete, the two judges add the scores together to give the overall score. At HITS Coachella the National Derby’s prize money is $50,000.  

The International Derby consists of the Classic Round and Handy Round. Sometimes these derbies go all in one day. Others run for two days with the  Classic round on the first day and the Handy round the next day. They also consist of a jog to see if the horse is sound or unsound. The fence heights range for 3’6 to 4’0 with the high option at 4’3 or higher. 50% or less of the fences need to be set at 3’6. Also, unlike a National or Pony Derby, International Derbies consist of four judges in two separate booths. International Hunter Derby Finals is held in Lexington, Kentucky and this year it is August 17-19. The prize money was for International Hunter Derby Finals was $280,000 in 2016. 

How to make Derby trials more profitable?

To enjoy even more the National and International Hunter Derby or Pony Derby, think about making it profitable by betting online. Sports betting is indeed an opportunity for fans to monetize their prognosis by betting money on horse race winners. However, it is necessary to remain careful before registering on online platforms. Some betting sites are illegal because they are designed by webmasters to scam bettors. In this case, it is better to opt for official and government-approved betting operators to keep your money safe.

How do sports betting sites operate?

Horse betting is as popular with professional bettors as it is with beginners. It is therefore easier for passionate people to make money at every race by participating in sports betting launched on these specific platforms. This is provided that they choose a certified site with an official license before registering. On these legal portals, you benefit from a welcoming offer to start your betting as soon as you register. Thus, twinspires $400 bonus offers various bonuses for new bettors registered on the site. On this interface, your first deposit worth $100 entitles you to receive a $200 bonus. If the deposit is $200, you receive a $400 bonus and so forth.

How to take advantage of the bonuses?

Turf bonuses are an opportunity to play for free and increase your chances of winning. Generally, these offers are similar to a refunded bet which differs from one sports betting portal to another. Therefore, don’t hesitate to take into account the welcome offer to compare the sites between themselves.

So to win a horse racing bet, gather all the information you need to measure your bet. Above all, don’t forget to find out about the horse’s winnings history and previous races before placing your bet.