Wayne, IL - June 21, 2016 –Showplace Productions Spring Spectacular Derby Day was festive and fun and attracted the best of hunter talent from every corner of the country. Tony Font and Copa Cabana 23, owned by Claudia Ballesteros, won the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Bull Run Equestrian Center. Doug Boyd and Calido’s Son earned the victory gallop in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Sapphire Riding Academy.
Andrea Redmond Ferguson, owner of Bull Run Equestrian Center, has been close friends with head trainer Lynda Zema for more than 25 years. Last year Zema had a riding accident and Russell Frey was there to help.
“We’re dedicating the derby to him,” Ferguson said. “Everybody stepped up and helped (when Zema was injured). Hopefully we can do the same for other people, give back.”
And give back, she does. Ferguson not only sponsored the $25,000 International Hunter Derby, she invited all the trainers and families and friends to a dinner and a reception at her restaurant, Niche in Geneva, Illinois during Week II.
“Pat (Boyle) runs a great show,” she said. “He’s very good at what he does. Anyone who does a professional job, you want to support.”
The Showplace Spring Spectacular III kicked off its World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week at Lamplight Equestrian Center with a full day dedicated to the hunter derbies. Each derby event was produced with beautiful, high quality courses, with every attention to detail, including top-notch presentations and award ceremonies.
Hospitality is a trademark of Showplace Productions derby day was over the top. The day began with the Derby Day Breakfast, sponsored by Diane Carney and Telluride Farm. It was a stick-to-your-ribs full-fare breakfast enjoyed by al
The Exhibitors Derby Luncheon was sponsored by Gene and Georgetti, an award-winning Chicago institution since 1941, considered Chicago’s finest steakhouse.
Bill Rube was on hand from the USHJA Foundation, the charitable arm of the USHJA. The USHJA Foundation's vision is that the hunter/jumper community supports and protects people and horses through grants andspecial initiatives. It was the first time use of a newly developed phone app for their text-to-pledge initiatives.
“It’s a day for Texas,” Font said. “I know that a bunch of us said we weren’t sure who turned off the lights when we all left.”
This is Copa Cabana 23’s third derby and his second win. Font and the black Westphalian gelding (Cornet Obelensky-Quella S) won a USHJA International Hunter Derby in February during the Winter Series at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.
“He’s a good horse,” Font said. “I rode him for three years in the jumper classes. I said, ‘He has a hunter demeanor, he wants to be a hunter. Why don’t we let him do what he wants to do?’ Last year was his first real full year competing as a hunter. I just did a few shows in 3’6 divisions and went right away to the high performance.”
Font came to show in Chicago many times years ago. This is his first time back in a while. He says he like to go where he feels his kids are safe.
“I always follow the people that are nice and that I enjoy being around,” he said. “Having a family, I want to go places where everybody knows each other here and it’s kind of like a big family.”
Font thanks his parents for all their support they’ve given him through the years.
Farmer, was second and third with It’s Me and Point Being, respectively. She was happy with their performances.
“I was thrilled with my horses,” she said. “I had a rub in the handy round but no worries. It was my fault. On the first vertical I let him shift a little bit. They were great, I was really happy with them. I thought Point Being was great in the handy. A little bobble in the first round, but I thought he came back and was wonderful in the handy. So it was all good.
Farmer and her team plan to stay through the week.
“It’s still home,” she said. “I always have to come back. As usual, it was a beautiful class, thank you to the sponsors, they do a great job. We always like to come home.”
Doug Boyd and Calido’s Son (Calido I- Pusteblume), owned by Mimi Rothman, won the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Sapphire Riding Academy. The pair have consistently been at the top of the national derbies since Rothman purchased him.
“He’s so simple, so uncomplicated,” Boyd said. “We try not to bore him. We don’t school him in the rings, we just walk in and do our hunter rounds. We don’t do our warm ups. We save him for what he does and it works. Mimi is learning how to ride him.”
Rothman is the owner of Sapphire Riding Academy and the sponsor of the class. She says she wants to promote the business and support the hunter/jumper industry.
“Showplace Productions does such a great job here and we love to be a part of that,” Rothman said. “We’ve sponsored a couple events – Chicago Hunter Derby, National Hunter Derby twice, and we like to support the USHJA as much as we can. It’s really important to support the program.”
Rothman and Boyd thank their grooms for all their hard work. Boyd also thanks the McArdle family for bringing him back into the business again full time and to the Rothman family for being so supportive.
Molly McAdow and her own Caston earned the red ribbon in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. McAdow is a busy professional who works with with Lorrie Canaday at Galway Farm
“I love this horse,” she said. “I was a little emotional the first round because he’s a very special horse and I’m lucky that he’s mine. He’s a 6-year-old Holsteiner that I imported in December (2015). “He’s a derby horse all around. He loves it, He just goes out there and has a great time. He jumps well, he doesn’t spook, he’s always reliable and right there with me every step of the way.”
McAdow says she is grateful to her parents for being so supportive so supportive. “I may as well still be a short-stirrup kid to my Dad. Every single horse show, every single time I walk in the ring, he’s just so thrilled. So, he’s over there screaming, ‘Way to go, Squirt!’ every time I have a good trip."
Saylor’s mom, Tara Shea said this is Saylor’s third year showing with trainer Abigail Blankenship, her third time at the Showplace Productions Spring Spectacular, but her first time in the Derby.
“I think she’s pretty excited,” Tara Shea said of her daughter, decked out in Derby attire. “She’s a kid who works really hard and she’s super serious. I think it’s pretty special to her. She doesn’t play other sports, so she’s super focused on her horseback riding and where she wants to go with it. It’s an exciting thing for her to have that.”
Saylor Shea has had a successful past two weeks in the Hunter ring with her two ponies. During week one of the Showplace Spring Spectacular, “Eros” was the reserve champion in the small pony division. Shea’s other mount Magical Diamond, owned by Strawberry Hill LLC, took reserve in the medium pony division during week one, and topped the division in week 2.
Showplace Productions Spring Spectacular resumes Wednesday, June 22, featuring show jumping action in the grand prix arena. In the hunter rings the professional hunter divisions kick off.
Click here for the live stream of Showplace Productions Spring Spectacular by Star Creek Video.