Saturday, May. 25, 2024

It’s All Rumba In The Qualifying Round

John French brought Rumba to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington just to compete in the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on Aug. 21-22. The California-based professional chose not to show the fancy gray early in the week but instead save him for the Derby Finals.

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John French brought Rumba to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington just to compete in the $100,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on Aug. 21-22. The California-based professional chose not to show the fancy gray early in the week but instead save him for the Derby Finals.

And it was the right decision.

Rumba wowed the crowd in the Sheila C. Johnson Arena this morning and earned 367 points from the panel of eight judges who scored him 90, 93, 92 and 92.

 “I thought it was certainly the most outstanding trip of the class,” said judge Ralph Caristo. “From his jumping style to his smoothness, it was just what a hunter should look like. It was a well-ridden and breathtaking round, and as you could see from the scores we all agreed.”

Caristo presided over this inaugural derby finals, of 54 starters, along with George Morris, Linda Hough, Danny Robertshaw, Julie Winkel, Jim Clapperton, Jimmy Torano and John Roper.

French, Redwood City, Calif., has ridden Mountain Home Stables’ 9-year-old Danish Warmblood in four derbies with two victories this season. He said Rumba always rises to the occasion.

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“He went in there super relaxed today,” said French. “He has a slow rhythm and gets the striding so easy, and he jumped the jumps really well. As I was going around I could hear the people in crowd going, ‘Wow.’ So I thought, ‘It must look as good as it feels.’ ”

Five points separated Rumba from second-placed Early Applause and Maggie Jayne, with junior Jessica Springsteen and Tiziano holding third place with 357 points.

“There were a lot of nice rounds in the top 10,” said Caristo. “There was very little that separated them.

“It was a very nice course,” he added. “Very rideable, and the riders had options, which was nice.”
 
Course designers Bobby Murphy and Patrick Rodes set an 12-fecne course in the spacious new KHP arena, which made its debut during the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** dressage and show jumping phases earlier in April.

Riders had two different fences to start their round, a log pile off the right lead or a wagon wheel brush fence off the left lead. Then at fences 3, 4 and 5 they could choose a lower or higher option. From there they had a variety of natural fences, including a firewood pile, a brush fence, an in-and-out of coops and two signature fences, the ASG Software Solutions stone wall oxer and the USHJA Signature fence.  

Jayne, on Pony Lane Farm’s Early Applause, chose the higher options earned four scores at 90 and above to jump into the second spot. This marked the fourth derby for the precocious 7-year-old warmblood, who first entered a show ring last December. But he didn’t bat an eye at any challenge in the decorated ring on his way to earning 362 points.

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Toward the end of order, junior Jessica Springsteen, Colts Neck, N.J., rode a forward trip to earn scores of 88, 92, 89 and 88 to move into third aboard her junior hunter Tiziano.

“The lines seemed forward when we were walking the course, but it was the footing was so fantastic and they galloped so well that they rode easier than I thought,” said Springsteen. “The two lines I rode in 10 strides and 12 strides on my first horse I did in nine and 11 on Tiziano. He’s got a big step and he’s so relaxed; this was great to let him just go and gallop.”

The top 25 will return tomorrow with clean slates for Round 2, the classic hunter round, at 6:30 p.m., and the best 12 will contest the handy class at 8:30 p.m.

1.    Rumba/John French, 367
2.   Early Applause/Maggie Jayne, 362
3.   Tiziano/Jessica Springsteen, 357
4.   Argentum/Peter Pletcher, 351.5
5.   Peridot/Tammy Provost, 346
6.   Curtain Call/Courtney Calcagnini, 345
7.   Graphiq/Chase Boggio, 344.5
8.   Maui/Tiffany Morrissey, 338
9.   Dominik/Peter Pletcher, 336.5
10. Ebony/Rachel Kennedy, 355.5
11. Sam Adams/Mary Lisa Leffler, 333
12. Croquet/Caroline Weedon, 332.75
13. Francesca/Maggie Jayne, 332
14. Castello/Hardin Towell, 329.5
15. On Top/Keri Kampsen, 328
16. Falcon/Jennifer Waxman, 327.5
17.  Accord/Kirstie Dobbs, 325
18.  Jersey Boy/Jen Alfano, 323
19. Posse/Colleen Acosta, 321
20. Westview/Peter Pletcher, 315
21. Forbes/Jenny Karazissis, 313
22. Concerto/Louise Serio, 312
23. Foreign Encounter/Laura Pfeiffer, 311.5
24.Milous de Fontaine/Maggie Jayne, 311
25. Camira/Peter Pletcher, 307.5

For full results, check here.

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