Week IV’s Derby Friday took over the CaptiveOne Indoor Arena as 40 horse-and-rider combinations contested the $12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6” – 3’9” Hunter Derby and the $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby. Courses were designed by Doug Russell. Both courses showcased inviting organic obstacles with three high options each. The handy round for each class presented several opportunities to show off athleticism with challenging inside turns.
The $12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6” – 3’9” Hunter Derby saw a field of 16 entries compete for the win. Scores soared into the high 80s and mid 90s, but none could best Brady Mitchell and Casting Call, who scored the second-place win in the class last week. Mitchell and Casting Call (Cornet Obolensky x Laila) were unstoppable this afternoon, completing a impeccable first round, taking all three high options to earn a score of 90.
“This week I did the high options in the first round because I had one little rub before the high options came up, so I thought I might need to take a little risk and do the high options to earn a higher score,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell competed multiple horses earlier in the day in the $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby and performed a stunning handy round taking extremely tight inside turns but Mitchell had a different plan for this handy round, “In the smaller derby, to the third to last fence [fence six] I went inside and inside after the fence but the fences were lower, so it was possible. With Casting Call, I went inside to the third to last fence [fence six] then out and around the one jump, then back inside to the trot jump.”
Mitchell and Casting Call the seven-year-old Westphalian gelding returned for the handy, jumping all three high options to earn a handy score of 95, for a total score of 185 for the win.
Dorothy Douglas and Carlee McCutcheon’s MTM Personal Assistant were also impressive this afternoon. Douglas and the nine-year-old Warmblood gelding had the second highest first-round score of 92, after delivering a lovely first round, taking all three high options. Douglas and MTM Personal Assistant (Cero x Graefinsandra) returned for the handy, taking multiple inside turns with the three high options for a score of 91, and a two-round total of 183.
Third place was captured by Carlee McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas and KT Hedwich the nine-year-old KWPN gelding. McCutcheon and KT Hedwich earned second place in Week I and sixth in Week II’s $12,500 WEC Ocala 3’6” – 3’9” Hunter Derby. McCutcheon and KT Hedwich supplied two superb rounds, taking all three high options in both, to score a first-round score of 87, and a second-round score of 88, for an overall score of 175.
$12,500 WEC 3’6” – 3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1. Casting Call, Brady Mitchell, Float On Equestrian LLC – 90 | 95 | 185
2. MTM Personal Assistant, Dorothy Douglas, Carlee McCutcheon – 92 | 91 | 183
3. KT Hedwich, Carlee McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon – 87 | 88 | 175
4. MTM Last Word, Tracy Fenney, MTM Farm – 88 | 78 | 166
5. Eyewitness, Chelsea Stopford, Jessica Collin – 81| 83 | 164
6. Fabriano, Sheila Motley, Visse Wedell – 82 | 81 | 163
7. Oswald Van De Leeuwerk, Devin Seek, Joan Burke – 80 | 73 | 153
8. Karma AB, Emily Cherney, Emily Cherney – 84 | 63 | 147
9. Lord Don, Rowan Willis, Page H. Flournoy – 66 | 77 | 143
10. Castle Black, Brady Mitchell, Float On Equestrian LLC – 95 | 47 | 142
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.