Alejandro Karolyi Makes Winning Hunter Debut with Karma AB in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Alejandro Karolyi and Karma AB. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography

Wellington, FL – September 5, 2021 – In his first hunter class ever, Alejandro Karolyi of Wellington, FL, rode Emily Cherney’s Karma AB straight to the top of the leaderboard in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline. The partnership concluded the class as the clear victors after earning back-to-back scores of 86 for a final tally of 172, which included all four high-option bonus points from both the classic and handy rounds. A decorated jumper rider, Karolyi gave the hunters a shot for the very first time on Friday, and he proved to be a solid match for Karma AB, the 10-year-old mare that is making the switch from jumpers to the hunter ring.

Alejandro Karolyi and Karma AB, pictured with Emily Cherney, won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equiline. ©Anne Gittins Photography

The 2021 ESP Summer Series will continue at Equestrian Village with ESP September, which will take place from September 16-19, 2021. Only two more events follow, beginning with the ESP Florida State Fall and Region 3 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championship and concluding with the Rita & Irish Flynn Memorial. The ESP Fall Series will start soon thereafter. To view the ESP Summer Series Prize List, please click HERE.

“I’ve been helping Emily for the past six months in the hunters, so I know the mare but I’ve never actually done a class myself,” commented Karolyi. “We wanted to put her in the grass, so we thought we would give it a shot at a beautiful venue like here. It was flawless. I know her enough from riding her at home and showing her a little bit in the jumpers back a year ago, but she really likes the hunters. I don’t know much about it – a little bit gappier and off you go! It was really fun. Now that I broke the ice, maybe I’ll start really liking it.”

Following the first round of riding, Karolyi and Karma AB were the frontrunners with a score of 86. Though both horse and rider were new to the hunter ring, the combination turned in a high-scoring round on the grass for the classic round to set themselves up for success heading into the handy phase. As the final pair to go in the handy portion of the class, which featured a series of turn options and a trot fence, Karolyi and Karma AB duplicated their earlier efforts, once again earning a score of 86 from the judges. Finishing on a total of 172 points, the rookies claimed victory in the class during their memorable debut.

“I’m very proud of her. She is new to the hunters, so it is a good win for everybody,” remarked Cherney of her winning mare. “She is 10 and I have had her for three years. I rode her in the jumpers for two and a half years, and she just recently switched disciplines.”

With a final score of 156, Chaz Harpman of Wellington, FL, and Wakefield Stables LLC’s Cancun earned the runner-up honors. Carlo Graziani of Wellington, FL, and Julia Butcher’s Elora GK ended the day with 151 points, good enough for the final podium spot.

“Being able to have the grass and enjoy it is a great benefit. We are based here, so we will be back for a few more Summer and Fall shows. The horse show does a great job, so we are more than delighted to be here,” noted Karolyi.

The combined Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter/Junior 3’3” Hunter divisions, presented by Vita Flex, saw Adrienne Marciano of Collegeville, PA, and her own Cooper ride to the championship rosette. Marciano and Cooper were the standout pair in the division after capturing four first-place finishes and a single second-place result to emerge as the clear leaders. Boasting five ribbons ranging from first to third, Sophia Masnikoff of Wellington, FL, and her own Heartdancer H were awarded the reserve championship.

In the Pony Hunter division, presented by Dover Saddlery, Competition Farm LLC’s Skip Day carried Chase Spranklin of Weston, FL, to the championship honors. The duo earned two first-place finishes, as well as two third-place results and a fourth-place ribbon to earn enough points to capture the overall title. Prom Queen, ridden and owned by Zoey Burton of Loxahatchee, FL, captured the reserve championship title.