Scott Stewart proved his own toughest competition today, July 11, in Lake Placid, N.Y., riding Declaration and Summer Place to a one-two finish in the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby held during I Love New York. Lolita and Linda Langmeier came close to challenging Stewart for the title, showing off tight turns in the handy round to step up to third place.
Summer Place came back on top, just ahead of Declaration, but the two swapped positions after Stewart went for broke on his conformation partner. Spectacular jumping efforts prompted both sets of judges to reward Declaration with 92s in the handy round, and Declaration’s efficient turns earned him healthy bonuses of 8 and 10.
“I didn’t want to blow it on Summer Place, coming back on top, so we took it a little easy,” said Stewart, Flemington, N.J. “They’re my most confirmed partners, and they both went great today.”
• Twenty-nine horses found a way through this morning’s thick fog over Bobby Murphy’s lavish course, set on the expansive grass grand prix field and decorated with copious amounts of local pine. The flowing tracks stood out only for their lack of obvious traps, with a sunken log serving as a trot fence and an in-and-out over hay bales decorated with Lake Placid row boats. The fog burned off in time for the handy round, which offered lots of options for tight turns, but few riders managed to get up a big hand gallop to the last.
• The hilly terrain added a little extra challenge for the derby riders, but no one fence caused major problems. One 4’3” option vertical came closest, falling twice and prompting most riders to opt for the low side. Two riders ran into trouble at fence 4, an inviting oxer heading slightly uphill. That fence came up long for Caroline Gibson and Primetime, and they crashed through, then retired. And Jessica Donatelli took a tumble off Calinka when the horse landed from the same fence bucking. Regular derby winners Jen Alfano and Jersey Boy didn’t figure in the ribbons after the spinning halfway through in the first round.
• The entries included a healthy junior contingent, with teenagers comprising more than half the start list for the second round. Grand junior hunter champions Holiday and Caroline Gibson jumped to the highest junior placing (fourth), and Gibson’s younger sister Carson took sixth. Chase Boggio piloted Dynasty (fifth) and Massimo (11th) into the second round, and Schaefer Raposa and Wanadoo finished ninth, ahead of her father David Raposa on the lovely Lady O. Both Poetic and Maggie and last year’s $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals winner Rumba with Destry Spielberg tallied unlucky rails to finish 10th and 12th.
• Stewart suffered a scare when he came to the barn a few mornings ago to find Declaration’s eyelid badly ripped. “We have no idea how it happened, but it looked awful,” he said. “Luckily the vet came by and stitched him up, and she did a great job. You can’t even tell.”
• Read all about Margie Engle winning yesterday’s grand prix in Lake Placid, the $75,000 Le Grand Prix Hermes, and check out Lake Placid photos from the I Love New York show while you’re at it. Top 10 results from the derby follow, or check out full I Love New York show results.
$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Results
1. Declaration/Scott Stewart
2. Summer Place/Scott Stewart
3. Lolita/Linda Langmeier
4. Holiday/Caroline Gibson
5. Dynasty/Chase Boggio
6. Caden/Carson Gibson
7. Generous/David Oliynyk
8. Extraordinary/Jennifer Alfano
9. Wanadoo/Schaefer Raposa
10. Poetic/Maggie Boylan
11. Massimo/Chase Boggio
12. Rumba/Destry Spielberg