Ocala, Fla.—March 25
Jumpers? No problem. Equitation? Absolutely. Hunter derbies? Yes please. Is there anything that Any Given Sunday and Hunter Holloway can’t do really, really well together?
The pair snagged their latest win in today’s $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the final week of competition at HITS Ocala after a spectacular handy round that boosted them from third to the front of the victory lap.
Hunter Holloway piloted Any Given Sunday to a no-holds-barred handy round, which gave them blue in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Photo by Mollie Bailey.With this win under their belt, Any Given Sunday and Hunter Holloway are aiming at USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Photo by Mollie Bailey.
They finished a full 13 points ahead of junior Brian Moggre and Personalized, with Baranus and Cassandra Kahle skyrocketing up the standings from ninth to finish third.
Tim Hott laid a course worthy of a serious purse in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium today, with big jumps and lots of options for creative turns and routes. In Round 2 riders jumped a snake of straw bales two times in a row any way they’d like, with loads of options to show off their handiest side to judges Christina Schlusemeyer, Phillip Long, Chance Arakelian and Scott Williamson.
The leaders after Round 1, Daniel Geitner and ESH Caresse Le Reve didn’t hold back in the handy, but a heartbreaking rail at a high option bumped them down to eventual seventh. A delicate rail atop a natural vertical crushed the hopes of several other riders as well.
Third after the first go, Holloway didn’t have any question in her mind what she had to do, and she picked up a lick as soon as she got in the ring and found the tightest turns she could around the track.
“My plan was go big or go home,” said Holloway, who piloted Any Given Sunday to second in another big derby earlier this circuit. “I know he’s as handy as they come, and I really wanted to win it. So I just said to him, ‘Come on, Sunny, we’re doing it.’ ”
Holloway, 19, put a cherry on top of her impressive junior career with a pair of wins at major equitation finals last fall, and she’s spent most of this circuit getting comfortable in her new role as a professional.
“I think the biggest thing is that she was excited about teaching, and there’s lots of girls who want to ride with her, and there’s lots of people who want to back her and send her horses,” said her mother, fellow grand prix rider Brandie Holloway. “She just wants to do it all. It’s figuring out how to juggle that.”
Tomorrow mother and daughter will both take a turn at the same class as they contest the Great American $1 Million, with Brandie on Lucky Strike and Hunter on Cassevel. Any Given Sunday will get the day off.
Find full results here.