Ocala, FL – A field of stunning hunters stole the spotlight during Hunter Derby Friday to compete in three different derbies: $12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby and $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Dean Rheinheimer set the derby tracks that featured an abundance of beautiful natural obstacles including an impressive hedge wall.
The nation’s best hunter pairings entered the $12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby for their chance to take away the lion’s share of the prize money. With impressive performances in the classic round and handy portion, Maria Rasmussen and Worthy secured the victory with an overall score of 186.
“It was a really nice course. It suited the indoor well, it was flowing and you could keep a nice open canter to the jumps. I think all of the horses performed well and it was a lot of fun to ride,” shared Rasmussen on the first round track of the derby.
Rasmussen rode three different mounts in the class, and found the highest earned score of a 91 aboard Sunset View Farm LLC’s Worthy.
With three horses coming back to the handy, Rasmussen kept it simple, “I stuck with the same plan with all three – go and have fun. I always try to tell myself to take off the pressure and to just go out there to have fun.”
Rasmussen and Worthy were the final pair to attempt the handy track. The pair floated around the course improving upon their earlier performance and received a high score of 95.
Rasmussen is happy to be back at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, “It’s great to be back. We love coming here. It’s air conditioned, well run and the jumps and décor are constantly changing. It’s a great friendly atmosphere and we are excited to show here through August!”
$12,500 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6-3’9 Hunter Derby Results:
1 Worthy, Maria Rasmussen, Sunset View Farm LLC | 91 | 95 | 186
2 MTM Lolah LOL, Dorothy Douglas, Abigail Davenport | 88 | 91 | 179
3 Goodfella, Maria Rasmussen, Maya Grove | 87 | 90 | 177
4 Oscar Van De Helle, Robert Stucky, Kristen Crowe-Rajan | 89 | 87.5 | 176.5
5 Ruby Tuesday, Hunter Holloway, Hays Investment Corp | 81 | 86 | 167
6 Shakiro, Sophia Bruny, Sophia Bruny | 79 | 83.5 | 162.5
7 Cajulio, Cody Quintana, Evergate Stables LLC | 78 | 84 | 162
8 Isle Royale, Rebeccca Brady, Deborah Wroblewski | 77 | 83 | 160
9 Anthemis Z, Jordan Lubow, Jordan Lubow | 56 | 85 | 141
10 SVF On My Own, Maria Rasmussen, Sunset View Farm LLC | 49 | 87 | 136
Back-to-Back Wins for Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen & APG Livory in $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby
The $10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby welcomed a strong field of riders, but Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen was unstoppable having secured top honors in the $40,000 1.45m Two Phase Speical CSI3*, then slowing down to capture her second consecutive win in the Open Hunter Derby.
Immediately following her victory gallop in the Grand Arena, Cruciotti Vanderveen made way over to the CaptiveOne Advisors Arena 1 to put forth her best efforts with APG Livory in the first round. The pair impressed the judges and secured a high score of 94.
“She’s such a spectacular horse. She has so much natural ability and this course really played to her strengths. I loved the natural hedge, it was fun for the young horses to see. It’s something that they usually won’t see until Derby Finals. She was incredible and I couldn’t be happier with her,” said Cruciotti Vanderveen about the flashy seven-year-old KWPN mare.
Cruciotti Vanderveen and APG Livory were sitting on top coming back for the handy, “We came back first because I had to run to another ring, which worked out well. She’s so brave I knew I could take the inside turn back to the hedge, without risking too much. I stayed nice and tidy around the fences then let her natural stride take over. She’s just one of those horses that impress, she’s incredible.”
The duo wowed the judges for another high score of 92 for a two-round total of 186 to secure the win.
$10,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby Results:
1 APG Ivory, Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen, Apg-Stables | 94 | 92 | 186
2 Hobbs Lane, Maria Rasmussen, Sunset View Farm LLC | 92 | 90.5 | 182.5
3 Sugarland, Maria Rasmussen, Silverleaf Farm LLC | 91 | 91 | 182
4 Candy Crush, Jake Evans, Sally Reichert | 89 | 89.5 | 178.5
5 Wisely, Jordan Lubow, Opening Bell Sporthorses LLC | 90 | 88 | 178
6 MTM Nonchalant, Crystal Young, Adella Alletto | 90.5 | 87.25 | 177.75
7 High Society, Crystal Young, Adelle Alletto | 86 | 90 | 176
8 Tibri’s Alibi, Jenny Miller, Kelly Desaye | 88 | 86.5 | 174.5
9 Londarco, Anna Chrisitna Gansauer, Double H Farm | 84 | 87 | 171
10 Triple Gold, Robert Stucky, Caron Stucky | 81 | 89 | 170
Afton Chmela & NU Castle Claim the $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Win
Afton Chmela of Ocala, Florida and her own Nu Castle (Crown Affair x Silvana 123) claimed the $10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby victory after the pair impressed the judges and received an overall score of 171, more than six points higher than second place.
Chmela and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding yielded a textbook first round for a score of 86.
Chmela spoke about her partnership with NU Castle, “He’s the love of my life. He reminded me why I love this sport. He’s perfect and gives me his all every time we step in the ring. We have a great bond and he’s taught me so much.”
The pair returned for the handy sitting first, “I had one simple goal – just do it and don’t overthink it.” Chmela did just that, and found a consistent round to earn a score of 85 for a two-round total of 171.
NU Castle made a career change during his partnership with Chmela, “I have had him for about three years and we actually started in the jumpers, but I always loved the hunters so we made the switch. It’s been a year now and we started in the 3’ Amateur 18-35 Hunters and now we are doing the 3’6” Amateur Owner Hunters. It’s been a journey, but I can’t be happier because he’s the absolute best.”
$10,000 USHJA National 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Results:
1 Nu Castle, Afton Chmela, Aftron Chmela | 86 | 85 | 171
2 K&T Game Of Thrones, Ella Bostwick, Christine Bostwick | 84 | 81 | 165
3 HH Moonwalk, Leah Patipa, Leah Patipa | 66 | 78.5 | 144.5
4 Bugsy Malone, Devin Seek, Devin Seek | 68 | 76 | 144
5 Entrepreneur, Peggy Fuller, Peggy Fuller | 65.5 | 70 | 135.5
6 Ocorden, Dawson Amick, Peggy McElveen | 67 | 68 | 135
7 Peace Talk, Lauren Gee, Team Weston LLC | 49 | 83 | 132
8 Cashmere, Lauren Skowlund, Lauren Skowlund | 44 | 85 | 129
9 Quito, Bailey Benner, Kylie Bevan | 43 | 83.5 | 126.5
10 Ladies First, Katherine Babun, Elysian Stables LLC | 72 | 41 | 113
The UF Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center
The UF Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center provides leading-edge patient care in a new 40,000-square-foot hospital facility located in Ocala, Florida. Veterinarians from the University of Florida offer world-class veterinary care and advanced diagnostics and treatment for horses, dogs and cats.
Hours of Operation:
Equine Animal Hospital Open Monday – Sunday, 8am-5pm
Small Animal Hospital, Open Monday – Saturday, 8am-5pm
Contact us at 352-414-3858.