August 2016 - Show Report: Derby Duel
Written by Lindsay Y. McCall
Sunday, 31 July 2016 17:10
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Jenny Karazissis takes back the crown with Nonchalant at Franktown Meadows’ $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.

report & photos by Lindsay Y. McCall

Twenty-two talented hunter derby horses and their equally impressive riders navigated Phil DeVita’s beautiful courses set for the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the MacLean Family with MacLean Financial Group and Franktown Meadows. The popular event was held in Carson City, NV, on June 27. The day also featured hundreds of spectators, delectable food, champagne, and exquisite shopping all in honor of the tradition of fox hunting.

Jenny Karazissis & Nonchalant.

Hope Glynn & Corriendo Tau.

Jenny Karazissis captured her third win (2013, 2014, 2016) in Sunday’s International Hunter Derby, thus taking back the championship aboard Briana Sukert’s Nonchalant. After finishing fifth place in the first round, Hope Glynn and Karen Trione’s Corriendo Tau won the handy round.  This effort earned them the reserve championship title ahead of third place overall winner John French and Small Gesture, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly.

Judges of the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby included Bobbie Reber, Diane Carney, Kathleen Rice and Richard Keller. For its seventh year, the Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby weekend once again included the top hunter riders in the country, the best hunter jumps set upon world-class grass footing, and over 400 spectators enjoying the equestrian sport, all to benefit of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

Karazissis brought three horses all owned by the Sukert Family, including Legacy, Felix, and champion Nonchalant. Legacy finished fourth overall and Felix finished seventh overall. Karazissis commented, “This whole show was fantastic. The courses were beautiful; Phil does such a good job and it’s so nice and inviting. I also enjoy that you can hack around while the jump course is set in the morning and test your handy turns. It really gives you a great feel for the course and the field. As a result the horses are so comfortable jumping around here. This is a great event and I can’t say enough nice things about it.”

In quest of her third win, Karazissis came into the handy round as the leader from the first round. She knew after Hope Glynn earned 204 points from both panels of judges, moving her to the lead, that she needed to go for it. Karazissis took each of the four options in the 10-jump course, even adding in bonus points for her handiness. Although she would only earn 200 points in the second round, her first round lead would give her the points needed to secure the championship trophy.

The winner noted, “I had to take all the options and even on my last turn to the last line where you had the choice for the larger oxer or not, I went for it. I knew Hope put the pressure on and there were a lot of good rounds and I said I’ll kick myself if I don’t try it. He (Nonchalant) really stepped up and gave it such a great effort and he was fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

John French & Small Gesture.

Karazissis acknowledged, “I absolutely want to thank the Sukerts, the owners of all three of the horses I got to ride this weekend. I also want to thank my trainer Mary Morrison, for whom I have been catch riding a very long time and it’s been such a great relationship. I’m thrilled for her that she stuck her neck out and insisted on sending the horses here, it really paid off. I look forward to this derby every year.”

Reserve Champion Hope Glynn also had three horses that she rode in the International Hunter Derby including Corriendo Tau and Full Circle, owned by Karen Trione and Southside, owned by Sabrina Hellman. Glynn was first in the order on Full Circle, a difficult position to be in.  Glynn explained, “I went first on Full Circle, who is really one of my more competitive derby horses. When you know your horse you pick a track based on your horse but you also don’t know what you are working against score-wise at that point in time. I wanted to take all but one of the high options but what I didn’t take into account was my horse. I took the high oxer at my third to last jump and had a rail. He was getting a little fatigued by the end of the course. He’s a very fit horse but he’s also a 17-hand horse and it’s a long course.

Glynn concluded, “I want to thank show management including Phil DeVita, Rush Weeden, and everyone who puts this event together. There are a lot of people that put a huge effort into making this event happen and it’s the best event I attend all year hands down, but it’s only because so many people work hard for it. I also want to thank people like the Hellman’s and Snowden family who are sponsors and sent their horses to this show. I encourage more people to do it because it’s for a great fundraiser and it’s a great venue.”

2016 Franktown Meadows $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

  1. Nonchalant & Jenny Karazissis
  2. Corriendo Tau & Hope Glynn
  3. Small Gesture & John French
  4. Legacy & Jenny Karazissis
  5. Cheshire & Kaylee Arbuckle
  6. Stanley F & John French
  7. Felix & Jenny Karazissis,
  8. Southside & Hope Glynn
  9. Coquette & Priscilla Trees
  10. Small Adventure & John French
  11. Pacific Heights & Kristin Hardin
  12. Extraordinaire & Tommi Clark