Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy Win $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Palm Beach
RELEASE: April 2, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Ken Braddick
Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy won the richest ASG Software Solutions/United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Saturday night, March 28, when they triumphed over a record number of entries to win the $50,000 class at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Alfano of Buffalo, NY, held on to the lead she established in the first of two rounds of competition to return for the final to post her second straight victory in the multi-year nationwide series. The derby is a highlight of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival and caps 12 weeks of world class jumper, hunter, equitation and dressage competition at the world's largest and longest running horse show.
Kelley Farmer of Keswick, VA, and Early Applause, winners of the American Hunter Jumper Foundation Hunter Spectacular Classic at PBIEC just six weeks earlier, moved up to finish second from their fifth place after the first round. It was their first International Hunter Derby.
Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, placed third on the veteran gray grand prix Carlos Boy after he retired on Castlewalk, on whom he had been in second place after the first round.
A record 66 combinations started the first round of the final under lights in the showcase International Arena before a crowd estimated at 3,000 that was broadcast live over the Internet and will be broadcast in high definition on WHDT in South Florida on Sunday at 9 p.m.
The class was preceded by the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Parade of Champions in which the circuit champions paraded in the International Arena for photos for posterity.
The riders in the derby complimented the course by designer Bobby Murphy of Lexington, KY, for presentng challenges with a rock field with geese at the start of a course that laid out the different elements of the derby.
Alfano said of her round: "Jersey Boy is coming into his own. He is only seven years old and is starting to step up. There were a lot of challenges tonight. My horse is looky at things on the ground, like the rock field. Those things are more difficult than the jumping."
Farmer said, *I knew I had to be bold." She praised her horse as "amazing" who was "great under the lights and has proved himself."
Randy Mullins, a member of the judging panel, said it was "so special to judge this class. It brings out the beauty, scope and elegance of the sport."