Jenny Karazassis is “Really” the Best in the $35,000 USHJA International Derby at Blenheim June Classic I

Jenny Karazassis and Really. Photo by McCool Photography.

Edited Press Release

June 16, 2023 – San Juan Capistrano, CA – Jenny Karazissis and Really kicked off the weekend with a win in the $35,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held on Friday, June 16, at the Blenheim June Classic I. 

At the end of the first round, Karazissis and the 2009 Warmblood gelding, an entry of Michelle Cobb, held the top spot in a field of 15 competitors with a combined score from the two judging panels of 182. While Karazissis held the lead by a two-point margin, when she came back onto the grass Pacific Field for the handy round following a big score from Skylar Wireman and West Port, she knew she would have to take some risks to secure the win. 

“Skylar did really well, so I knew I couldn’t just take it easy and still expect to win,” explained Karazissis, who was just weeks ago inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. “I planned to go in and give it my all, and Really was right there ready for me.”

Jenny Karazissis and Really added another USHJA International Hunter Derby win to their impressive resume on Friday, June 16. Photo by McCool Photography

“It was a fun handy; it was fun to be able to cut across some of the jumps at an angle and gallop down the bending line,” continued Karazissis in speaking of the course set by designer Scott Starnes. “[Really] is always good at the trot jumps, so I knew he’d come back for that, and it just worked out really well.”

The judges agreed. The pair received a second-round score of 95 from the first panel and a 93 from the second panel after taking all of the high options for a grand total score of 370.

“Really is so special,” continued Karazissis of the gelding that she has continually ridden to great success in the derby ring. “He’s a catch ride for me, but he’s a horse I’m very familiar with and have ridden for a few years now. It’s fun to be back on him. I haven’t shown him since April where we finished second, so I was glad to get the win today.”

The victory also marks a personal success for Karazissis, as it was just her second show back following an injury in January. “It was quite a setback for me, so I didn’t really plan or have any big goals for this year because I just wanted to give myself time to heal. I’m really pleased that I’m still able to feel confident, and Really does that for me.”

Jenny Karazissis and Really. Photo by McCool Photography

For the win, Karazissis received a halter and coolerette from the USHJA and a Topline Design Ribbon Wreath gift certificate, a Riderzon gift certificate and a Blenheim EquiSports picture frame. Trainer Devon Gibson was presented with an embroidered tack room pillow from Nick Byassee of Equestrian Design LLC.

Finishing in second place with a total of score of 360.25 were Wireman and West Port, owned Kate Parker, and Michelle Morris and Lykke Li-Terma Z finished in third with a score of 350.

The Leading Amateur Hunter Derby Rider Award, sponsored by Mary’s Tack and Feed, was presented to Jessica Smith and Black Emerald, who finished ninth. For the honor, Smith received a one-month supply of Nutrient Scoop from Mary’s Tack and Feed. 

For full results of the $35,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, click here.

Jessica Smith and Black Emerald were presented with the Leading Amateur Hunter Derby Rider Award, sponsored by Mary’s Tack and Feed. Photo by McCool Photography

Original press release courtesy of Blenheim EquiSports.