Jenny Karazissis is Undeniable in the $10,000 Memorial Day USHJA International Hunter Derby
RELEASE: May 25, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: LEG UP News
- For the second year in a row, Jenny Karazissis led the victory gallop in the $10,000 Memorial Day USHJA International Hunter Derby, this time aboard Undeniable (Kelly Straeter, owner). “I’m so lucky to be able to ride such incredible horses,” Jenny commented. “Undeniable is such a competitor and he’s such a nice mover that it just brings a smile to your face when you ride him.”
The judges definitely loved his movement and expression, and Jenny earned a score of 94 from each set of judges for her first round for a total score of 188. Derby regulars Michael Leon and Copado (Pinon West LLC, owner) were within striking distance with a score of 176, as were Mark Purcell and Bohemian (Leslie Scharf, owner) with a score of 174.
The handy hunter round proved that taking a risk could be a double-edged sword. For junior rider Nina Vogel and Iron Will (Claudia Krancloitter, owner), their smooth, forward handy round vaulted them from ninth place to fourth place overall. “I’m so proud of Nina! I was wrapped up in my rides, but fortunately Kost, Nick, and Kassandra were all there to help her out so I knew she was in good hands,” Jenny said. “I was so thrilled for her.”
Michael Leon and Copado, who usually excel in the handy rounds, had difficulty executing a tight turn and slice across a vertical, which resulted in a downed fence and dropped him out of the top placings. Mark was able to complete the tight turns and showed a beautiful hand gallop to the last oxer, giving him and Bohemian a total score of 354 and the red ribbon. Jenny made it look easy aboard her second mount, Splendid (Julia Landmann, owner), who earned third place overall, and she was last to go on Undeniable, who shone in a consistent and smooth handy round.
Throughout the derby, riders had to choose their tracks carefully. Course designer Chris Collman challenged all of the horses in the field with big fences and a variety of tracks to choose from. “I thought it was a really well designed course. It really made you focus and think hard because of the options,” Jenny explained. “You could go left or right, depending on which option you were taking. Since I rode different options with each horse, it was like doing two different courses in the same class.”
Jenny rode four horses in the class and admitted she had to have some help staying organized. “I really had to stay focused! Usually I have more time in between horses so I can take time to prepare for the next horse. But this class I had to have people reminding me about little things like spurs and potential lead swaps,” Jenny admitted with a laugh.
The night was made all the sweeter with her family by her side as her daughter Katrina competed aboard Leopold Van Bayern II (Adrianna Moore, owner) and placed fifth overall. “Katrina wasn’t even planning to do the derby,” Jenny recounted. “It was a lot of fun for me to have her in the class this year, and she was in it last year too. I’m very happy with the outcome!” She was also happy to receive a prize package from the class’s sponsor, Santa Anita Park, which was presented during the award ceremony.
While professionals shone in the derby, junior riders showed off in the equitation arena. The two biggest medal classes of the day were the ASPCA Horsemanship Medal and the Pessoa /USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class. Elvenstar riders continued their successful year and won both classes. In the ASPCA Horsemanship, Kayla Lott navigated a difficult course and demonstrated her endurance through a long flat work off. “I personally prefer jumping work offs, but I think it’s great that this medal tests your flatwork,” Kayla commented. “It truly tests all aspects of your riding.”
Kayla shows as a 14-year-old on Cantuccini (Elvenstar Farm, owner) which she has been showing since last September. “The first show we did together was the ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals,” Kayla recounted. “He had recently been imported from Germany, and he did an amazing job.” The six-year-old has continued to improve since then and Kayla is pleased with his progress. “He has improved so much since last year. He’s lighter and more careful and way more willing to do anything you ask him to do.”
Though Kayla usually focuses on the hunter-type equitation medal classes, this year she plans to do some of the jumper medals as well. “This is my first year doing the USEF Talent Search classes, so that’s very exciting. I’d love to qualify for some of the other jumper medals like the WCE,” Kayla shared. “Otherwise, I hope to get to the CPHA Junior Medal Finals and maybe even go back east for nationals.”
Kayla and Cantuccini also won the LAHJA/LA Saddlery Junior Medal Class and placed third in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class, which her barn mate Halie Robinson won after executing a beautiful work off.
Jumpers had their chance to shine on the grass field in the $1,250 1.20M Modified Junior-Amateur Jumper Classic. Marnye Langer (Team McAllister, trainer) started the class with a bang on LEGIS Rockstar (LEGISequine.com, owner) and while clear, one time fault kept them out of the top spot. Genevieve Engelhorn (Justin Resnik, trainer) stepped onto the field aboard Condoleeza (Ama Marketing & Management Inc., owner), and after a clear first round, the pair blazed through the jump off in 35.9 seconds and earned their spot on the top of the leader board.
“I don’t have much show experience with Condoleeza, so it meant lot to me that we were able to go double clear,” Genevieve said. “I was very happy with the win and it’s a great step for me as hope to continue moving up in the jumpers.” Genevieve plans to continue gaining experience and compete in the $2,500 GGT Footing 1.20M-1.25M Classic on the final day of the Memorial Day Classic.