• USEF Network Cellino, owned by Julie Thompson and ridden by Martien Van Der Hoeven win today's Intl. Hunter Derby at #GCWClassic 3/6/2015 1:09:34 PM
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Mickie Sage Pilots Harlu to the Blue in the USHJA National Hunter Derby at Spring Warm-Up II at Colorado Horse Park

RELEASE: May 8, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Carrie Wirth for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

Mickie Sage and Harlu. Photo by Horsin' Around Photography
Mickie Sage and Harlu. Photo by Horsin' Around Photography
Parker, C.O.
- The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby and the Mini Prix both were set to run at the same time during Spring Warm-Up II at the Colorado Horse Park. Professional Mickie Sage planned to compete horses in both classes putting her a little under the gun.

"I didn't have a lot of time to learn the derby course," said Sage. "I didn't even walk the course. I went in the ring and asked the other trainers what the lines were and what the course was, Then, I went up and walked the Mini Prix course and rode that horse first."

In the Mini Prix, Sage rode Catoctin, owned by Kathryn Kantes, to two clear rounds and third place. By the time she was back at the hunter ring, she only had five rounds before she was due in the ring for the first round of the derby aboard Harlu, owned by Laurie Brants.

"I got on Harlu," Sage said. "Honestly, he doesn't take a lot of time to warm up and he just marched in the ring and galloped around like a pro. He's only just 7 this year. This is his first year showing in the hunters."

Harlu and Sage negotiated Scott Starnes course as smoothly as if they had had all the time in the world to prepare. The pair earned the win.

Sage also had success in the hunter ring on Friday of the show with Steve Lockton's Lago W winning the $1,000 Open Hunter Classic.

"He came from Redfield Farm in the fall," Sage said. "We purchased him as an equitation horse for one of my riders. I actually just introduced him to the hunter derbies at Pin Oak. Hunters are a new thing for him, as far as I know. He's also been great and a lot of fun to work with."

Sage was particularly proud of Catoctin whom she also purchased for her client from Redfield Farm. Sage and Catoctin had won the 1.20m Jumpers on Friday of the show.

"He's really starting to grow up and jump well," said Sage. "I just played it by ear. I thought, 'I'll see how the 1.20m goes.' He was good; he jumped clean both rounds. I was really proud of him."

Even though they were short on time, Sage's positive experience with Catoctin in the jumper ring seemed to have an effect on her performance with Harlu.

"It really set me up for the hunter derby," said Sage.