If you’re a hunter rider, you’ve probably been waiting for this week all year. The Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship kicks off Friday, Aug. 16, and the nation’s top pairs are going to battle it out for the title.
The reigning champion Tori Colvin returns with two rides: last year’s winner Private Practice and a newer mount of hers, El Primero. Other previous winners looking to dethrone Colvin include Liza Boyd, Hunt Tosh and Kristy Herrera. But it’s sure to be a big course, and anything can happen, so we’ll see who’s wearing the championship cooler on Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know:
When: Friday, Aug. 16, 8:00 a.m. Opening ceremonies
8:15 a.m. First horse on course in the classic round
Saturday, Aug. 18, 3 p.m. Derby Challenge round, open to any horse that didn’t advance to the handy round.
6:30 p.m. Handy round.
Where: The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
How You Can Watch: EqSportsNet will be live-streaming all day every day at this link. A subscription is required ($10.00 per month) to watch live; a gold access subscription ($25.00 per month) is required for watching on-demand videos. Note: Gold Access includes the live and on-demand coverage of both USHJA championships this week.
How You Can Follow Along: The Chronicle will be on-site with a reporter bringing you gorgeous photos, great interviews and behind-the-scenes stories. Make sure to follow along at www.coth.com, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse
Useful links and information:
• All the Chronicle’s Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship coverage, with behind-the-scenes stories, lovely photos and more!
• We will have full analysis of the competition in the Sept. 2 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine
Format: All entries will complete the classic round, and then things get a little tricky. Riders are grouped into two tiers based on the amount of derby money they’ve won in the past three years, as of Dec. 1, 2018. Any rider standing 40th or higher on that list is classified as Tier I.
The top 20 combinations from the classic round will advance to the handy round as part of section A. They’re competing for 80 percent of the prize money and the championship title. The top 20 horses ridden by a Tier II rider will also advance to the handy as part of section B and are eligible to win the remaining 20 percent of the prize money. If any of those Tier II combinations are in the top 20 overall after the classic round, they’re eligible to receive prize money from both section A and B.
No Tier II rider has ever won the overall title, but many have come close. Geoffrey Hesslink was second in 2017 on Cadoretto in section A and won section B.