Eugenio Garza Perez and Victer Finn DH Z are Victorious in the $25,000 FreeJump Grand Prix

August 27. 2023
The 2023 Summer Series continued this week with the ESP Summer Ill show. On the opening day of the competition, hunters took the spotlight to compete in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by FreeJump, on the Derby Annex field. Lexy Reed of Fort Lauderdale, FL, took the lion’s share of the prize money and the tri-color ribbon with Lissa Bachner's GTF Snax as the highest-scoring duo.
Lexy Reed and GTF Snax ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

"It was a beautiful course," commented Reed. "There weren't a lot of dedicated lines, so you had a lot of options to be really handy or more conservative if you had a greener horse. Today, I really just wanted her to get some experience on the grass field. These shows are so competitor friendly, there are plenty of classes to show in and there are warm ups everyday."

Reed and GTF Snax were third to go in the derby, which was held in the “Hunt and Go” format. Thanks to a consistent round, the pair received a score of 86 in both the Classic and Handy phase for a combined score of 172. The pair managed to hold the top score all the way through the class.

Lexy Reed and GTF Snax presented as winners of the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by FreeJump. ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

Taking the second-place ribbon was Ki-Juan Minors, of Wellington, FL, and Pop Muzic, owned by Marilla Van Beuren, with a combined score of 169.5, earning an 85 in the Classic phase and an 84.5 in the Handy phase. Completing the podium was Isabela de Sousa of Lexington, KY, and Sergent Stables' Diara Blue. The pair scored an 84 in the Classic phase and an 85 in the Handy for a combined score of 169.

Earlier in the day, the main Derby Field welcomed 23 horse-and-rider combinations for the opening round of the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake, with six advancing to the jump-off. Fourth to go in the order, Jad Dana (LBN) and The Cherie Group's Fleur-De-Lis' Cherie took an early lead after posting a double-clear time of 36.436 seconds. Mexico's Eugenio Garza Perez followed close behind with El Milagro's Victor Finn DH Z and a clear jump-off time of 38.451 seconds, while Benjamin Meredith (AUS) and Nichole HPF, owned by Two Mates, stopped the clock at 42.574 seconds to claim third place.
Jad Dana and Fleur-De-Lis' Cherie presented as winners of the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake by Richard Schechter. ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

Jumper competitors returned to the Derby Field Saturday morning for the $5,000 Arion Sellier USA 1.35m Stake. With a starting list of 22 riders, just five managed to qualify for the second round. Galloping to the top spot was Maya Ines Denis Chambon (MEX) aboard her own entry, Callypso De La Hamente Z, in a double-clear time of 31.906 seconds. Rachel Turk (USA) claimed the red rosette with Golden Boy VL, owned by Turk Performance Horses, with a time of 33.237 seconds. The last combination to jump two clear rounds, Valentina Maury (VEN) and her Quentin posted a time of 36.199 seconds to round out the podium.

Maya Ines Denis Chambon and Callypso De La Hamente Z presented as winners of the $5,000 Arion Sellier USA 1.35m Stake. ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

The Derby Annex once again welcomed hunter derby competitors to the field for the $1,000 2'6"-2'9" Hunter Derby "Hunt and Go," presented by CLPR Wind. Marcus Cmola Au of Boca Raton, FL, and Taylor Lewis' Klarenchide DN earned the tri-color ribbon thanks to a high score of 92 in the Classic phase and an 80 in the Handy for a total of 172 points. Just one point behind the winners, Blythe Karolyi of Wellington, FL, rode Fantasy, owned by Natalie Bass, to a score of 86 in the Classic phase and an 85 in the Handy phase. Suzanne Burns of Wellington, FL, earned a third-place finish with her Lady Roxy after earning a 78 in the Classic phase and a 73 in the Handy phase.

Marcus Cmola Au and Klarenchide DN presented as winners of the $1,000 2'6"-2'9" Hunter Derby, presented by CLPR Wind. ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

Sunday morning’s action started early with the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic. Seven competitors entered the class, held in the immediate jump-off format, with two returning for the short course. Of the returning competitors, it was Richard Neal (USA) and his own Diamant who took home the win. The pair was double-clear and set the winning time to 37.91 seconds. Claiming second was Izabella Barrett (USA) and VDL Elliot, owned by Bo Hopson, with a time of 40.852 seconds and four faults. Closing out the top three was Jordan Gibbs (USA) and Dana Vollbracht's JDP Dougland, with a first-round time of 80.703 seconds and one fault.   

The $25,000 FreeJump Grand Prix took place Sunday to round out Summer III as the feature class of the weekend. Twenty-one competitors took to the course, designed by Andy Christiansen (ECU), with seven riders returning for the jump-off. In the end, Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) led the victory gallop with El Milagro's Victer Finn DH Z.

Eugenio Garza Perez and Victer Finn DH Z ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein

"Victer is a long-time partner of mine. We had a great year last year, and I'm starting to bring him back now to prepare for Spruce Meadows. He'll be the second horse to Contago, hopefully taking some of the load off of him. This is a great place for us to prep, the facilities are great and the footing is excellent," shared Perez.

Eugenio Garza Perez and Victer Finn DH Z presented as winners of the $25,000 FreeJump Grand Prix. ©Wellington International/ Cassidy Klein
Perez and Victer Finn DH Z were the first pair to test the jump-off, stopping the clock in a clear 36.97 seconds, which would prove unbeatable following the seventh and final rider to finish the second round. The flag was raised for Mexico once again as Maya Ines Denis Chambon and her Schugga Tschei claimed second place with a double-clear time of 40.608 seconds. Rounding out the podium, Ryan Genn (USA) piloted Bridlebourne Stables' Concenthaga PS to a double-clear time of 41.5 seconds.

The 2023 Summer Series will continue next week with ESP Labor Day, which begins August 31, 2023. For the full Summer Series Prize List, please click HERE.