JEFF GOGUL AND CORTESE CONQUER $5,000 USHJA NATIONAL HUNTER DERBY
After earning impressive scores of 93 in the classic round and 94 in the handy, Jeff Gogul and Cortese, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Stadium Horses LLC, won the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC. In addition to Cortese's first place finish, Gogul rode two other horses, Snowbird and Quite Ruffy, to fourth and tenth place finishes, respectively. Gogul, who recently moved to Wilmington, Ohio, rode Snowbird to the derby win during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show.
Out of 29 entries in the Stonelea Ring, only the top twelve combinations from the classic round were invited back to the handy. During the first round, Gogul and Cortese scored 89 plus 4 additional points for taking all of the high options. In the handy round, Gogul took a chance by taking an inside turn by the log to the high option oxer. Gogul explained that he was worried about risking a rub, but could count on Cortese to not spook at the obstacle. The pair scored a 90 in the handy, plus four extra bonus points for the high options, which solidified their victory and earned Gogul a pair of F. Lli Fabbri tall boots with his commemorative blue ribbon.
Daniel Bedoya, who placed fifth in the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix on Saturday night, enjoyed competing in the Stonelea Ring aboard Carolyn Elsey's 6-year-old gelding Gabli. Bedoya was not the only one who had to transition from the jumper ring as Gabli only began doing hunters this year. In 2016, the gelding won the 5-year-old Young Jumper Championships, but Bedoya decided because of his laid back personality, Gabli might enjoy the hunter ring more. In today's derby, the pair finished second, earning an 89.50 in the classic and a 91.00 in the handy after jumping all high options.
Even though Sunday marked the last day of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, hunter and show jumping competition will resume on Tuesday morning with the start of the Kentucky Summer Classic. The six-day long show will feature the fourth leg of the Hagyard Leading Rider Challenge as well as the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix sponsored by GGT Footing.
Photo by Annan Hepner