Miss Lucy and Jennifer Alfano Victorious in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

RELEASE: April 1, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy (Anne Gittins Photography)
Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Jennifer Alfano rode Miss Lucy, an eleven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Helen Lenahan, to the top of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on the final day of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The final round of competition was held on the grass derby field at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. Alfano and Miss Lucy were fourth going into the second round of competition for the derby with a first round score of 186. The pair galloped into first place with a round two score of 198.5 for an overall score of 348.5.

Inclusive and Victoria Colvin finished second with a combined score of 382. The pair was in fifth place after scoring a 182 in round one. Colvin and Inclusive's spectacular second round performance earned the pair a 200, which helped them take over the lead late in round two before being succeeded by Alfano and Miss Lucy.

Temptation and Kristy McCormack rounded out the top three finishers with an overall score of 380. Temptation, owned by Autumn Janesky, earned a first round score of 166 before finishing with a second round high score of 203.

The first round of competition for the derby was held Saturday afternoon at the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter arena of the PBIEC. Forty-one attempted the course, but only the top twenty-five competitors would advance to the handy round held Sunday at The Stadium. Horses and riders faced a sprawling spread of several major tests of their horses' bravery, including a derby bank, hand gallop, and four high option fences.

Alfano, no stranger to derby victories, ultimately clinched victory with Miss Lucy after beating both Colvin and McCormack's top scores. Alfano's name is most synonymous with 2012 USEF National Horse of the Year Jersey Boy.

Despite being the lesser known of Alfano's derby mounts, she acknowledged the mare was actually the more dependable of the two. "You can always count on Lucy to give 110%. She's actually a little more reliable than Jersey Boy. You never wonder [with her]. With him, he has his moments, as everybody knows. She's one of those horses that just tries to do everything right all the time," Alfano, of Buffalo, NY, commented.

Lucy's consistency and remarkable suitability for the tests of a derby class are undeniable, given she has been on vacation for the past two weeks. "I did show her in the High Performance here [at the FTI WEF] this week, but that's it. She doesn't really take any special preparation."

"She doesn't have to practice," Alfano continued. "She was here last year and did this and was great out here [on the derby field]. You don't have to worry about anything on her. When you're looking between her ears, you can aim at anything."

Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, bested McCormack's leading score late in the second round, determined to take over the lead from her fifth place finish in round one. Colvin took an exceptionally technical track aboard Inclusive as she attempted to climb the rankings and was overall pleased with their performance.

"I had a light rub, but I thought the rest [of our course] was really good. My plan today was to go as handy as I could and jump the big ones. If I had a rail, I had a rail. I had to move up," Colvin acknowledged.

Despite not having a comparable course at home, Colvin had no doubt Inclusive would handle the demands of the derby field like a professional. "We just got a field [at home], but it's not anything like this. I was confident he would be fine. I think he's actually better out in the field than in a ring," Colvin described.

McCormack, of Boston, MA, finished third with Temptation with the highest round two score, but was ultimately exceeded by Colvin and than Alfano. McCormack gave it her all knowing Temptation would be happy to step up to the plate.

"My strategy on that horse is always just to give as much as we've got. If we take a risk here or there, I'm okay with that. He's the kind of horse that is so game, especially for this type of course. I got to show him here last year and I was just trying to go for it and move up as much as I could and he brought it," McCormack expressed.

McCormack had plenty of ground to make up for after finishing seventh in the first round of competition, but knew the grass field would give Temptation the chance to shine. "He loves pace. He loves getting out there and galloping. He's never as strong in the first round, when I'm going a bit slower and taking my time. Once we get out in the field, all we do is gallop," McCormack explained.

Final Results: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

R1/J1   88.00        4.00  
R1/J2   90.00         4.00         186.00
R2/J1   88.50 6.00   4.00  
R2/J2   89.00 7.00   4.00         198.50 384.50

R1/J1   84.50         3.00  
R1/J2   91.50         3.00         182.00
R2/J1   92.00 9.00   4.00  
R2/J2   83.00 8.00   4.00         200.00 382.00

R1/J1   85.00         4.00  
R1/J2   84.00         4.00         177.00
R2/J1   89.00 8.00   4.00  
R2/J2   90.00 8.00   4.00         203.00 380.00

R1/J1   86.00         4.00  
R1/J2   83.00         4.00         177.00
R2/J1   87.50 9.00   4.00  
R2/J2   86.00 7.00   4.00         197.50 374.50

R1/J1   89.00         4.00  
R1/J2   91.00         4.00         188.00
R2/J1   77.00 7.00   4.00  
R2/J2   75.00 8.00   4.00         175.00 363.00

R1/J1   74.00         3.00  
R1/J2   82.00         3.00         162.00
R2/J1   88.00 7.00   4.00  
R2/J2   87.00 6.00   4.00         196.00 358.00

7   2853GENEROUS       DAVID OLIYNYK    
R1/J1   82.00         4.00  
R1/J2   80.00         4.00         170.00
R2/J1   86.00 5.00   4.00  
R2/J2   84.00 5.00   4.00         188.00 358.00

8   1739COCO           SOPHIE MICHAELS  
R1/J1   80.50         4.00  
R1/J2   80.25         4.00         168.75
R2/J1   87.00 5.00   4.00  
R2/J2   80.00 5.00   4.00         185.00 353.75

9   5436FIEONA         ELIZABETH BOYD    
R1/J1   86.75         4.00  
R1/J2   79.75         4.00         174.50
R2/J1   82.00 4.00   4.00  
R2/J2   70.00 5.00   4.00         169.00 343.50

R1/J1   81.75         2.00  
R1/J2   81.00         2.00         166.75
R2/J1   85.00 3.00   4.00  
R2/J2   78.00 2.00   4.00         176.00 342.75

11 2091TAKEN           KELLEY FARMER    
R1/J1   87.00         4.00  
R1/J2  92.00         4.00         187.00
R2/J1   71.00 3.00   4.00  
R2/J2   69.00 3.00   4.00         154.00 341.00

12 6488SKYFALL         LOUISE SERIO      
R1/J1   87.50         4.00  
R1/J2   91.50         4.00         187.00
R2/J1   73.00 3.00   4.00  
R2/J2   67.00 1.00   4.00         152.00 339.00