Friday’s hunter ring highlight at the HITS Post Time Farm came in the form of the $5,000 Smartpak USHJA National Hunter Derby where 30 combinations contested the Classic round track. Of the original starting field, twelve entries returned for the handy phase where Kristen Bumpus expertly piloted Cambrie Findeisen’s nine-year-old Warmblood gelding (Coleman), MTM Truffle to the prime position. Brick City Equestrian LLC‘s eight-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato Gold), Soundcheck, and Jennifer Jones took to the reserve honors, while Alexa Bayko piloted Lily Rusis’s 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Clinton), Set Sail, comfortably into third.

MTM Truffle and Kristen Bumpus stand for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

“I only rode this horse for the first time in last week’s derby,” she explained. “I had a little trouble keeping him straight, so today I focused more on his straightness and that seemed to work out well because he was fabulous in the first round. 

“I was a little conservative in last week’s handy round, but knowing how good he was in round one today I had a feeling I could be a little more slick,” she continued. “The course rode beautifully and I had a definite plan for him.” 

Hunter competition continued into the weekend with the Bit O’ Straw 2’6” Hunter Derby and the Tiny Bit O’ 2’0” Hunter Derby. Clare Friedlander produced a beautiful effort aboard Earl Grey to take home the highest honors in the $750 Bit O’ Straw 2’6” Hunter Derby.

Baccarat Rouge led the lap of honor in the $500 Tiny Bit O’ 2’0” Hunter Derby with Alice Giannetta in the irons as derby competition concluded for another weekend.

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