Nancy Thomas and Casino T Earn Judges’ Highest Marks in the USHJA National Hunter Derby
Saturday night heated up at the Horse Park at Woodside during the Silicon Valley Equestrian Festival II, as the area’s fastest horses and riders competed in the $30,000 Grand Prix of Silicon Valley presented by Interactive Mortgage. One by one exhibitors took their turn at the course designed by Kevin Holowack of Canada, which featured 15 jumping efforts including one double and one triple combination.
Three pairs went clear to return for the jump off, but only one horse and rider combination were able to turn in a double clear effort to secure the win. Earning the champion title was professional Alec Lawler and For Gold, an 8-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding that Lawler has owned for only a few short months.
“He’s very, very careful and sensitive, so it’s taken me a bit to get to know him,” said Lawler of “Freddy,” as he’s known in the barn. “In the past two weeks at this show I feel like we started to click a little bit more. I’m very lucky, he is the most careful and most high quality horse I’ve ever had.” Lawler purchased Freddy at the end of June after eyeing him for over a year.
Lawler was first to go in the jump off with talented horses and riders coming up behind him. “He was phenomenal tonight and just so sharp. My strategy was to put enough pressure on without taking too many risks, and luckily it paid off tonight. I wasn’t blazing fast, but it was quick enough.” We look forward to seeing this pair at Sacramento International this fall.
In second place finishing on a 4 fault score was last week’s Grand Prix winning pair Carol Wright and Conejito, a 17-year-old grey KWPN gelding. In third place was Patrick Seaton aboard his Skipio K, a 15-year-old bay Zangershiede gelding.
Thank you to Interactive Mortgage for sponsoring this event. Interactive Mortgage, run by equestrians Gregg and Evette DeLong, also sponsors the Interactive Mortgage 10 & Under Futurity Classes which will take place this fall at Sacramento International and Del Mar International.
USHJA National Hunter Derby
Friday’s highlight event was the USHJA National Hunter Derby in the Grand Hunter Arena as 20 derby horses and riders took to the field for Scott Stearnes’ first round classic course, and then the top 12 returned for a handy round. After two rounds it was Casino T ridden by professional rider Nancy Thomas who earned the judges’ highest score of 178 points to take the championship ribbon and cooler.
“He’s pretty amazing,” said Thomas of the 10-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding. “He feels like he knows his job already, so I just kind of trusted him and went with it and he was fantastic.” Casino T competed in the jumper ring until just a few months ago, but he’s transitioning well to his new role as a hunter.
“He’s such a lovely hunter type with a beautiful jump, so I just picked up a neat track in the handy round and tried to be as smooth as possible,” said Thomas. She plans to continue to ride the gelding in the 3’6 greens and derbies, and the handsome grey will be a junior hunter for his owner Rachel Rosenblum.
Taking second place with a score of 176 was Jessica Allan aboard her own Zieta Z, an 11-year-old chestnut warmblood mare. Rounding out the podium with third place honors and a score of 163 was Nicole Dicorti Bush riding Lynne Mcbride’s Bijou, an 8-year-old bay Selle Francais gelding. Congratulations to all ribbon winners in this great class!
USHJA National Hunter Derby Results