Edited Press Release
Derby Friday took over the WEC Stadium at World Equestrian Center – Ocala once again with nearly 90 entries in the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby, and the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. The courses were designed by Joe Carnicom (USA) and featured stunning natural obstacles.
Several entries earned scores into the 90s in the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, but it was Amanda Steege and Lafitte De Muze (Darco x Everlychin De La Pomme) that earned a second World Equestrian Center – Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby win of the winter circuit.
Steege and the elegant 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding navigated a foot-perfect first round to earn the class’s highest first round score of 99. “I was thrilled with my first round; we got a base score of 95 and an additional four with the high options. Maybe they’ll give me 100 if I smiled a bit bigger,” laughed Steege.
Steege and Lafitte were the last pair to return for the handy. The pair delivered a beautiful, rhythmic round that featured tidy turns and all the high options to secure a score of 92 for an overall score of 191.
“He felt incredible. He landed all of his leads and was super rideable,” Steege said. “He was with me every step of the way. Our relationship has developed to the point where it’s almost like he knows what’s going to happen before it happens. It’s second nature and we are thinking as one.
“We are so lucky to have this facility and in particular, this ring to develop our hunters,” she continued. “Lafitte has goals of derby finals and I hope to one day win derby finals with him. I just think that there’s nothing else that can simulate that more than the courses at WEC. The jumps that they built here and the amount that they have and the effort that everyone puts into decorating the course. The atmosphere and the ambiance of this stadium is something that we don’t get to experience very often, so I feel so lucky to have it here.”
Jeff Ayers of Sellersville, PA and his own Cartel earned the second highest overall score. Ayers earned numerous top finishes during last year’s Winter Spectacular Show Series. Today, Ayers and the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding produced two impeccable rounds earning a first-round score of 92.5 and a handy score of 87 for an overall score of 179.5.
Third place was earned by Morgan Ward and Bruce Green’s Cypress (Quidam De Revel SF x Kassini). Ward and the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding produced a lovely first round, jumping all four high options to earn a score of 87.5. The pair returned for the handy, delivering a beautiful round to secure a score of 91, for a two round total 178.5.
Megan Young & Comanche Top the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby
Thirty-one horse-and-rider combinations gathered at the WEC Stadium to vie for the top prize in the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby. Megan Young and Lee D. Cesery’s Comanche that earned the highest overall score of 180.5 for the win.
Young and Comanche were coming off of a recent 3’ Hunter Derby win at the Ocala Fall Show Series. The pair continued their success Friday with a flowing first round, opting for all four high options to earn the class’s highest first round score of 91.
“I think Comanche really enjoyed the Stadium. I have done some bigger classes with him before but this was our first time that we have gone in the Stadium here,” said Young.
Young and the 14-year-old Warmblood gelding were the last pair to return for the handy, producing a foot-perfect first round, while taking a very tricky inside turn that only a few competitors attempted to secure a score of 89.5, for a two-round total of 180.5 for the win.
Dorothy Douglas and Abigail Davenport’s MTM Exceptional (Casall Ask x Rheinsberg) captured the second place finish. Douglas and the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding navigated a smooth first round, jumping all four high options with ease to earn a score of 89.5. The pair came back for the handy seamlessly flowing through the course while opting to jump four high options to earn a score of 88 for a total score of 177.5.
Third place finisher Timothy Maddrix and Sarah Campbell’s Shutterbug. Maddrix earned first place honors during Week I’s $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby aboard his other mount The Irish. Maddrix and the stylish Czech Warmblood gelding produced two beautiful rounds, earning a first round score of 89.5 and a handy score of 89 for an overall score of 175.5 to round out the top three.
Isabel Harbour and Fitz Claim the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Win
The $15,000 WEC Ocala Jr/Am Hunter Derby saw a competitive field of 37 entries hunt for the win over tracks built by Joe Carnicom (USA). Scores soaring into the 90s but it was Isabel Harbor and IMH Equine, LLC’s Fitz (Numero Uno x Kootje) that produced two flawless rounds that caught the judges’ eyes.
Harbour and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood navigated a lovely first round, jumping each fence with ease opting to take all four high options to earn a score of 86. “The first course rode really well,” Harbour said. “I really enjoyed how open it was. The stadium is such a great ring for derbies, we really get to show off their movement.”
Harbour and Fitz delivered an impeccable round, while jumping each high option to secure the class’s highest handy score of 90 for a two round total of 176.
“I love the handy,” Harbour said. “They are my favorite. I always try to find some crazy turn that no one else is going to attempt and I did. After the second to last fence, the oxer, I was walking and thought I could turn inside the pond. On my first horse, Lost Art, I had an unfortunate mishap at the trot fence so I thought why not give the inside turn a short and it worked out well. On Fitz, I knew he would do it and he was fantastic of course.”
Laura Van Rooyen and her own Biarritz (Berlin x Olavsca) captured the second place finish. Rooyen and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmbloood gelding created a smooth first round, jumping all four high options to earn a first-round score of 88. The pair came back for the handy, producing a smooth round to earn a score of 86 for an overall score of 174.
Addison McQuaker of Schomberg, ON and her own Golden Ticket (Stakkato Gold x Cindy Crawford) rounded out the top three. McQuaker and the 7-year-old Oldenburg gelding navigated two stunning rounds to earn a first round score of 89 and a handy score of 83 for an overall score of 172.
Before the start of the handy round in the $20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, the prestigious Style of Riding Award was presented to Tracy Fenney for her classic style and her sportsmanship. The Style of Riding Award is generously presented by Bill Rube to be awarded to the rider who best displays the American Style of riding in the ring and sportsmanship outside of the competition arena. The recipient serves as a role model for preserving the integrity and tradition of equestrian sport. “This award is very special to me because the recipient of this award pays it forward both in and out of the show ring,” says Rube. Fenney received an elegant duffel bag and wore a white rose corsage on her lapel throughout the handy round to signify her achievement.
$20,000 WEC Ocala 3’6” – 3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1.Lafitte De Muze, Amanda Steege, Cheryl Olsten: 99 | 92 | 191
2. Cartel, Jeff Ayers, Jeff Ayers: 92.5 | 87 | 179.5
3. Cypress, Morgan Ward, Bruce Green: 87.5 | 91 | 178.5
4. Jordantinus, David Jennings, Allison Ventura: 84 | 94 | 178
5. Diadora, Kristen Bumpus, Barbara Lestage: 84.5 |89 | 173.5
6. Prosecco, Ilana Halpern, Devin Lanzone: 83 | 85 | 168
7. Poker Face, Jennifer Bliss, Harris Hill Farm, LLC: 85 | 80 | 165
8. Favoriet, Tiffany Lee, Melanie Meyers: 80 | 83 | 63
9. Checkpoint Charlie, Rory Caskey, Nourah Caskey: 90 | 71 | 161
10. Sir Hansel, Riley Townsley, Riley Townsley: 80.5 | 77 | 157.5
$15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Open Hunter Derby Results:
1.Comanche, Megan Young, Lee D. Cesery: 91 | 89.5 | 180.5
2. MTM Exceptional, Dorothy Douglas, Abigail Davenport: 89.5 | 88 | 177.5
3. Shutterbug, Timothy Maddrix, Sarah Campbell: 86.5 | 89 | 175.5
4. MTM Wheels Up, Brian Feigus, Shane Radimer: 84 | 91 | 175
5. Norderney, Belynda Bond, Gesture LLC: 85 | 88.5 | 173.5
6. Sugarman, Jennifer Bliss, Harris Hill Farm, LLC: 87 | 86 | 173
7. What D’Ya Thinki, Megan Young, Samantha Derosa: 82.5 | 90 | 172.5
8. Moonwalk, Hillary Johnson, Copper Fox LLC: 86 | 85 | 171
9. James, Amanda Steege, Alexis Lipson: 85.5 | 84 | 169.5
10. Powerplay, Kelley Robinson, Nacy Tremblay: 80 | 87 | 167
$15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/ Am Hunter Derby Results:
1.Fitz, Isabel Harbour, IMH Equine, LLC: 86 | 90 | 176
2. Biarritz, Lauren Van Rooyen, Lauren Van Rooyen: 88 | 86 | 174
3. Golden Ticket, Addison McQuaker, Addison McQuaker: 89 | 83 | 172
4. PS Copy That, Sara Setian, Sara Setian: 85 | 86 | 171
5. Citation, Devis Seek, Mr. and Mrs Douglas Wheeler: 81.5 | 88.5 | 170
6. My Way, Stacey Vertullo, Stacey Vertullo: 77.5 | 85.5 | 163
7. Camelot, Katalena Prusso, Katalena Prusso: 76.5 | 85 | 161.5
8. Fadalka-Zeldenrust, Porter Tobin, Porter Tobin: 79 | 82 | 161
9. Nemesis 11, Annabelle Brown, Julia Nicole Zug: 82 | 75 | 157
10. Cassio, Rory Caskey, Nourah Caskey: 78 | 72 | 150