Edited Press Release
Wellington, FL – Nov. 7 – The feature hunter event of the ESP Fall Finale, which was hosted at the main grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, took place on Saturday in the form of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equestrian Team Apparel. Following some reshuffling of the placings in the handy round, Kylie Elias of Boca Raton, FL, and Carriage Hill Farm’s Quasa Granda moved up a spot to claim the lead spot in the victory gallop and the lion’s share of the prize money.
Rescheduled from Friday to Saturday due to inclement weather, the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Equestrian Team Apparel, brought a field of hopeful challengers to the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. At the conclusion of the classic round, Nestor Maceda-Johnson of Southwest Ranches, FL, and Prometido Z, owned by Equilux Show Stables, sat at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 77, but their lead was narrow as the next two competitors had earned scores of 76 and 75.
“Quasa was at my barn for about a year and my trainer would compete with him,” commented 16-year-old Elias. “I started leasing him about a year ago, and we have been doing the equitation and started doing some hunters and derbies. He has really taken me through the levels and I love him so much. Today, I tried to stay at the same rhythm, and be nice and smooth, and I think it all worked out because of how good he was.”
Returning for the handy round as the second-to-last pair to go, Elias and Quasa Granda put forth a strong performance that earned them 82 points and a final cumulative score of 158. They only had to wait for one round to be confirmed the winners of the class, followed by second-place finishers Ella Bostwick of Wellington, FL, riding Summerfields Equine LLC’s Ondine D’Orleans with a final tally of 155 points. Maceda-Johnson and Prometido Z concluded the class as the final podium finishers with a total score of 141.
On Saturday in the $1,000 Equestrian Team Apparel 2’6″/2’9″ Hunter Derby, Megan Edrick Wexler of Ocala, FL, and Westleigh, owned by Nonico Investments Ltd, dominated the class to finish in first place on a high score of 180. The partnership earned a score of 88 in the classic round to lead the pack headed into the handy phase, and then improved upon their performance with 92 points thanks to an efficient trip over the second course. Edrick Wexler added to her success with second place on Lori Arnold’s Promeco with 139 points, trailed by Maggie Berch of Boca Raton, FL, aboard Out Of The Blue, owned by First Blue LLC, with a total score of 136.
In the Performance 3’6″/3’3″ Hunter division, presented by Gold Coast Feed, Meredith Gallagher of Haines City, FL, rode Citadem, owned by Florida Sporthorse, to the championship honors. The pair earned results of first, second, and second over the division’s three classes to put themselves at the top of the overall scorecard. Quasa Granda, ridden by both Elias and Hayley Iannotti of Boca Raton, FL, captured the reserve championship in the division with a trifecta of first, second, and third-place finishes.