Stunning Hunters and shadbelly coats took center stage in the R+L Arena tonight for the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Antarès. Twenty-eight entries vied for the win in the class, with awards that included a saddle from World Equestrian Center sponsor, Antarès Sellier. Courses in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby were designed by Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, and featured flowing lines and four high option jumps. The first round’s course began with a vertical across the short side of the ring at the end of the spacious R+L Arena, then continued to two single oxers across either diagonal. Next came a bending line featuring two high options, then a five stride to a one stride away from the gate, then finished on a second bending line with two high options headed home.
The first round saw stellar rounds with many horse and rider pairs scoring well into the 80s, and two pairs scoring in the 90s. The highest score in the first round was earned by Snowbird and Jeff Gogul. The pair delivered a beautifully consistent course, taking all four high options for a score of 92. Just behind Snowbird and Gogul was Alovaro and Greg J. Crolick. Greg piloted Renaud Farm, LLC’s 5 year old Warmblood gelding over all four high options for a score of 91. Among the horse and rider pairs scoring in the 80s in the first round were Rehy Wonder Boy and Linda G. Radigan, as well as Caston and Molly McAdow. Rehy Wonder Boy, a 9 year old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Luisa Kaas, received an 83 in the first round while Caston, an 8 year old Holsteiner gelding owned and ridden by Molly McAdow, received an 82.
The handy round of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Antarès Sellier saw horse and rider pairs beginning on a single oxer on the diagonal away from the ingate, then a vertical option, and a rollback to the one stride. The pairs continued at a hand gallop on a long approach to an oxer option across the diagonal, then rolled back to a trot fence. The course ended with a flowing 7 stride option line heading home.
Mid-way in the order of go in the second round, Caston and Molly McAdow returned with a second gorgeous course for a score with four high options for a score of 90, bringing their total score to 172. Rehy Wonder Boy and Linda G. Radigan returned next, laying down a lovely Handy round with four high options for a score of 87, bringing their two-round total to 170, positioning them just behind Caston and McAdow. Alovaro and Greg J. Crolick returned second from last in the order of go for their second round and earned a 76 in the second round, which, combined with their first round score of 91, landed them in sixth place. Wrapping up the Handy round of the Derby was Snowbird and Jeff Gogul. The stylish pair made their round look effortless and were rewarded with a score of 93. That, combined with their first round score, brought their total score to 185, 13 points above second place.
Snowbird (Vingino x Vegannie), or ‘Dennis’ as he is known in the barn, is a 10-year old Dutch Warmblood owned by Roberts Stables, LLC. Snowbird has been partnered with Gogul for two years, during which time the pair has earned numerous Hunter Derby wins, including at the 2018 WEC Invitational $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Gogul describes Snowbird as a sweet horse with a strong work ethic. “He’s really quiet in the barn, but as soon as you get on he wants to march right up to the ring. He knows his job and he is always ready to go in and get it done.” Snowbird’s caretaker Adrienne Garcia earned the Groom’s Award for the gelding’s impeccable turnout.
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby Results
- Snowbird, Jeff Gogul – 92|93|185
- Caston, Molly McAdow – 82|90|172
- Rehy Wonder Boy, Linda G. Radigan – 83|87|170
- Kalisto, Sarah M. Robertson – 81|88|169
- MVP, Tess M. Fortune – 84|84|168
- Alovaro, Greg J. Crolick – 91|76|167
- Kingston Lane, Katie Rankin – 81|85|166
- Completto, Brittany Roberts – 78|70|148
- Rovercross Onyx, Billie Derouet – 74|73|147
- Rio D’oro, Sarah M. Robertson – 88|49|137