August 2019 - Franktown At Its Finest
Written by photos: Alden Corrigan Media
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 21:15
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First-timers and returnees are stars of 10th Annual Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby.

photos: Alden Corrigan Media

The 10th Annual Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby opened on Friday, June 21, a day earlier than the normal Saturday and Sunday schedule. This year’s event welcomed many new entrants, all of whom are enjoyed the atmosphere and calm setting that is Franktown Meadows. The iconic Sierra Nevada mountain range is the stunning backdrop for this spectacular Derby weekend and draws leading professional and amateur riders from across the country. Riders strolled around the grounds prior to the day’s competition, all eagerly anticipating the opportunity to take to the pristine Franktown Meadows grass Derby Field.

A beautiful and enticing course was once again prepared by show manager and course designer, Philip J DeVita. The perfect weather, field and venue combined to provide a perfect setting for this annual charitable event supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Nick Haness and Reese’s, partnered to perfection to win, not only one, but both opening $1,000 Welcome Stakes, sponsored by Looking Stone Farm and Cavallo Stables.

Nick Haness & Reese's Double Up with Welcome Stake Wins

Nick Haness and Reese's, partnered to perfection to win, not only one, but both opening $1,000 Welcome Stakes, sponsored by Looking Stone Farm and Cavallo Stables.

"This is our first year coming to Franktown Meadows and we are really happy to be here. It's spectacular, it's beautiful, the views, and the wonderful grass footing. I think all of the horses are loving it here and so are we.", explained Nick. "Now that we are here and starting to compete, and we can see how well the horses are going here, I think we will come back every year."

Nick continued to talk about the successful day and the young horse that led the field, "I was really pleased with Reese's today, he is only a 6 year-old and the youngest horse that we brought to compete. He really shined the most today, so that was very exciting. I can tell his brain is happy here, and he feels really at peace. There are many places to exercise and trail ride around the facility and the horses can relax. He went really well in the classes today and we look forward to competing in the Derby tomorrow."

Alexis Meadows and Legato win $10,000 Franktown Meadows 3’ Hunter Derby.

First Time Visit For The First Place Ribbon: The Trend Continues As Alexis Meadows and Legato Win $10,000 Franktown Meadows 3' Hunter Derby

Alexis Meadows winner of the $10,000 Franktown Meadows 3' Hunter Derby and her trainer Morley Abey of husband and wife team Joie Gatlin - Morley Abey Show Jumping based at the Oaks in San Juan Capistrano, CA, are having a great time on their trip to Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby. Alexis brought along two horses to compete and Legato came through to win the class. Dublin her newer and younger horse was also enjoying a visit to Nevada.

Alexis talked about the trip and the enjoyment Morley and she have gained from attending this event. Alexis has enjoyed the warm welcome they have received as they both have taken on grooming and care of the horses while on the trip.

"Jenny Karazissis has been one of my biggest role models and I have wanted to attend Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby since I heard about Jenny winning the Derby a couple of years ago. Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby has received so much good press, deservedly, as it is really special what they are doing here, and the community feeling that they have created. We had the opportunity to attend this year and Morley was kind enough to make it happen. Even though the barn is split between continents as Joie is traveling in Europe with a client. Morley and I are having an absolute blast, this facility is astoundingly beautiful. Truthfully one of the best parts has been hanging out here at the barn and enjoying the community in which we are surrounded. Morley, I and the horses took a day or so to adjust to the different altitude and paid closer attention to their needs. We are lucky to have a great routine at home and when you switch things up it teaches you to take everything into account, to take a step back and evaluate everything around you. Being here and on this field is fantastic, it really is so unbelievable, my gosh, I have never seen anything so spectacular. It has been so wonderful to be able to compete out there this weekend." Alexis explained.

Alexis finished competition today, as an amateur rider, but she is already looking forward to next year. Alexis shared her parting thoughts.,"100% we will be back, I cannot thank Lynne MacLean, Aimee LaFayette and Natalie Garnett and all the family enough for the time and effort it takes to put on an event like this. It is a one-of-a-kind experience for us to be able to attend an event like this, I am definitely coming back, if they will take us. You can tell that the health and happiness of the horse is put first here, they are so considerate about making sure you have everything you need. Seeing the horses taken care of like that allows everyone who attends to take a deep breath; trainers, riders and grooms we can all really relax and that feeds through to the horses. It really is idilic here."

The Karen Dearmont Memorial Award was presented to two deserving riders in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services $10,000 Franktown Meadows 3' Hunter Derby. Samantha Finnegan was presented with the Junior High Score Award and Alexis Meadows earned the Amateur High Score Award.

Darby Furth Bonomi could not have been any more delighted with her first visit to Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby. As both of her horses excelled on the derby field to take home 1st and 3rd place ribbons in the $5,000 3'-3'3" Non-Pro Hunter Classic, presented by Balmoral.

The Karen Dearmont Memorial Award was presented to two deserving riders in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services $10,000 Franktown Meadows 3’ Hunter Derby. Samantha Finnegan was presented with the Junior High Score Award and Alexis Meadows earned the Amateur High Score Award.

"DaVinci and I have been together now for 4 years and he has come so far. In the old days he was a little spooky, a log always bit him, so that was hard, but now today he is just so wonderful. The fence I was worried about was the log fence, as we had not had the opportunity to practice over it yesterday, and it was a lot of logs. However, today he jumped it like a champ, he didn't even look at the log and was an absolute dream boat. He certainly has grown up over the years, and logs are not as big of a deal now. He really loves it here, but of course all of the horses love it here, as soon as you get out on that derby field they start to relax. When you get to gallop the footing feels spongy, another reason for all of the horses to be super happy at Franktown Meadows. I look forward to coming back again next year, I love riding on grass. I have to say this is the nicest grass field I have ever ridden on. It very much reminds me of Traders Point Horse Show from my last years as a Junior, that was a lovely show. Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby reminds me of the elegance. The setting and the sheer beauty of this venue it really is unparalleled."

Darby also took home the 3rd place ribbon on Little Wing, "Wing is my Steady Eddie, usually we do the medals and also the Derbies. He was so lovely today, at the start he was a little bit behind the leg, he is not usually like that and normally he just picks up straight away. However, this time it took me a couple of jumps to get him in front of my leg. After that he too was a dream boat, having owned him for 2 1/2 years, I know him really well, he is just super brave always and supper fun to ride.

Darby Furth Bonomi could not have been any more delighted with her first visit to Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby. As both of her horses excelled on the derby field to take home 1st and 3rd place ribbons in the $5,000 3’-3’3” Non-Pro Hunter Classic, presented by Balmoral.

Darby had originally planned on bringing only one horse. However, a nudge from her husband changed Darby's mind., "I am really grateful that I was able to bring both horses here today. Originally, I was only going to bring Little Wing, when my husband said at the last minute you need to bring two horses. You are going all that way you really need to take DaVinci as well. So, I snatched him away from my daughter Adele, who is taking him to medal finals in a few weeks. I am really glad I did and did not follow my plan to leave him home, so Adele could practice.

Darby's win ensured that the 3' - 3'3" Non-Pro Hunter Classic title returned again to Sonoma Valley Stables. Darby finished by thanking the team at Sonoma Valley Stables, the team on the ground at Circle Oak Equine and last but not least her husband for his encouragement to bring both horses.

Kylee Arbuckle & Fanciful owned by Emma Townsend win a three-round thriller in the 10th Annual Franktown Meadows $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

Three Round Thriller At The 10th Annual Franktown Meadows $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Arbuckle and her team were initially frozen in time as they viewed the scoreboard which displayed 00.00 from judge 1, until Rank 1 appeared on the scoreboard below her overall total, resulting in celebratory whoops, fist pumps, high fives, and hugs as well as immediate congratulations from Team Karazissis.

This was a very special day for this horse and rider combination as it was their first Derby together, and Kylee's first International Derby win. "Fanciful was amazing, and it was really fun to compete at Franktown Meadows. This really is my favorite horse show of the year, and to be successful here is just the icing on the cake. I am so happy to have won such a prestigious class. I wish that Emma [Fanciful's owner] could have been here with us to celebrate. He really rose to the occasion for me, as I was excited and a little nervous entering the field after Jenny, but I had confidence that he would put in a great effort for me." Arbuckle explained.

Trainer Ned Glynn of Sonoma Valley Stables was ecstatic over the duo's success. "It was a lot more fun once it was all over, then when it is actually happening. It was super exciting for our young rider to go up against arguably one of the best Derby riders of all time. Jenny had a really good trip, which was incredibly nerve racking as Kylee was waiting in the wings. To watch Kylee go in there and ride the way she did was incredibly exciting and incredibly rewarding. I have never been involved with a ride off for the biggest class of the show, but there is a first time for everything, so you might as well make it big when it happens."

Jenny Karazissis & Ravenswood, runners up in the International Hunter Derby.

Aimee LaFayette, on behalf of the entire Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby family wishes to extend her gratitude to all who have supported and sponsored the event over the past decade, "I would like to say thank you to all of our riders, to all of our owners, to the trainers, the officials, sponsors and everyone who has been part of the team. The Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby is an ongoing project and is so important to the community. Everyone comes together with heart and soul, every year, to make the Derby a success. Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby is a special event benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and we cannot give a greater gift than supporting research for a cure."

Press release provided by Franktown Meadows.