Amanda Derbyshire and Attack II left no prisoners during the $40,000 Grand Prix of the Great Lakes. Derbyshire had the luxury of going sixth of the seven competitors who qualified for the jump-off in the featured jumper class, held during Horse Shows by the Bay Series III on July 20 in Traverse City, Mich.
Derbyshire was able to win the battle by leaving out a stride that second-placed Kim Farlinger hadn't.
"I did five strides after the double, where most people did six, and I think that's where I made the time up. So I'm very happy," said Derbyshire.
Watch her ride:
After she'd set the new time to beat of 40.51 seconds, Derbyshire waited to see if Wilhelm Genn and Happy Z, the last to go, could catch them.
Genn and his longtime partner gave it a gallant shot, but a rail down relegated them to fourth, and Derbyshire breathed a sigh of relief because Happy's time of 39.53 seconds was the best of the day.
"It means a lot to win here," said Derbyshire, who also won the $10,000 Positive Step Welcome Prix during Series II. "We've had such a fun show even without this victory, so it's like icing on the cake. We've had a brilliant few weeks."
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a challenging track in the Grand Prix Ring. “When I walked it, I thought there wouldn't be that many clears, if any," said Derbyshire. "The course was pretty big; bigger than I thought it would be."
Farlinger, of Orangeville, Ontario, and the 11-year-old mare Caprice Vande Brouwershoeve began the grand prix classes last year and have regularly been in the ribbons since then.
"I thought the jump-off was great," said Farlinger. "You could be fast, and I like when they give you room to gallop, like he did to the last jump. And she was fantastic.
"I went second in the jump-off, so I wasn't sure whether I should do the inside option to the last line, and I went around it," she added. "It's hard to know how fast you need to go. It turns out I needed to go a little faster, but she did everything I asked her to do, and she was great."
Jill Knowles and Condesa Z achieved the only other double-clear performance for third place.
Derbyshire ranks this as Attack II's biggest-money win to date. "I want to give a big thank you to the Baxter Hill team. I couldn't do it without every member of the staff, and, of course, Becky and David [Gochman] for giving me this opportunity and owning such a great horse," she said.
Derbyshire described the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood (by Grandeur) as being perfect during the three weeks of Horse Shows by the Bay.
"He always tries, and if you find the jumps and ride him accurately, he's always going to try and leave them up," she said. "He likes this show, I think."
Baxter Hill concluded a banner week during Series III. "The girls were for the first time champion and reserve in the low children's jumpers, and Becky was champion and reserve [in the hunters], so the whole team we pulled off a good week, so we're really thankful for everything," said Derbyshire.