Spring IV of the ESP Spring Series saw a brand new derby winner leading the victory gallop thanks to the high-scoring two-round performance from Molly Sewell of Wellington, FL, and Catie Guy Bean’s Providence. The winning pair made the final derby of the 2021 ESP Spring Series count by earning the gelding’s first-ever derby triumph in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Score At The Top. Though equestrian action has concluded at the fourth week of the series, Spring V will return to Equestrian Village from May 14-17, 2021, for the final installment of the ESP Spring Series ahead of the ESP Summer Series, which will begin in June.
“This is his first derby win!” commented Sewell of her winning mount. “I actually did him in his first derby last fall and he went around beautifully, but was definitely starstruck. His trainers have done a really good job with him training him and making him up, and he is going to be a star. He is going to be an International Derby horse with his scope. His owner, Catie Bean, is being really smart and doing it the right way because he is going to be her horse of a lifetime.”
Following the classic round of competition, Sewell and Providence led the field with a score of 89, followed by Hayley Iannotti of Boca Raton, FL, and Redfield Farm’s H. Quick – Frieda O hot on their heels with 86 points from the judges. In the handy round, Iannotti and her mount earned a score of 90 to put them at a total of 176 points, meaning the round-one leaders would need 87 points over the second track to claim victory. Returning to the ring as the final contenders, Sewell and Providence improved upon their earlier showing to garner 9 points, the highest single score of the class, and claim the winning tricolors thanks to a final tally of 183 points.
“I love riding out here in this field. I’m lucky that a lot of my horses are very brave, so riding them out here helps them to rise to the occasion,” said Sewell. “Providence is so brave; you could point him at fire and he would do it. It makes him better, which is great since he is aiming towards larger venues and atmospheres.”
On being able to compete in the ESP Spring Series derbies, Sewell noted, “I like that the derbies are over here on the grass again. I was here competing all last summer, so I did all of the grass derbies and it was such a nice experience for younger horses, especially. By the time the Winter Equestrian Festival started, I felt like they were way ahead of the game. They were so trained up from this experience.”
Iannotti and H. Quick – Frieda O retained the runner-up position with 176 points, followed by owner-rider Maggie Alexander of Wellington, FL, on Geronimo L in third place with a cumulative total of 168 points.