Grand Tour Carries Melissa Donnelly to Victory in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Traverse City, Mich. – July 21, 2019 –Week III of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, finished Sunday with a new hunter derby champion crowned after Melissa Donnelly of Just A Folly Farm in Oxford, Michigan, and Grand Tour expertly displayed their hunter prowess over two rounds of competition to earn top honors in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Greg Crolick Stables and Renaud Farm. In classic competition, Angela Dominguez and Snickers, Charlotte Jacobs with Iladin Du Rouet and Erin Floyd aboard Cleopatra’s Smile garnered their respective victories, while Teddi Pritzker and Willow CBF earned one of the junior hunter division championships.

Melissa Donnelly and Grand Tour with sponsors Greg and Jessica Crolick. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Thirty-eight entries started in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Greg Crolick Stables and Renaud Farm, on Sunday afternoon, and by the conclusion of the first round of riding the cut-off score to earn a place in the top 12 was a lofty 83.50. Heading into the handy round, Maria Rasmussen had ridden Maya Grove’s Business Time to the early lead thanks to their impressive score of 94, with Donnelly and Elizabeth Becker’s Grand Tour sitting in the second place position as the only other duo to break the 90-point threshold with their score of 91.

Melissa Donnelly and Grand Tour. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Returning as the second-to-last in the handy round, Donnelly and Grand Tour improved upon their earlier efforts and turned in a standout performance to garner 94 points, which would ultimately tie with Rasmussen and Business Time as the highest single score of the contest. With a composite tally of 185, Donnelly and Grand Tour narrowly edged out the early leaders for the victory, while Rasmussen and Business Time finished in second position only one point behind, with a handy round score of 90, for a total score of 184. The Week II derby winner, Jacob Pope rounded out the podium aboard Forest Hill Farm’s Unbelievable thanks to their score of 181.75.

As the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby champions, Donnelly and Grand Tour were also awarded the coveted Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week accolade for Week III.

Angela Dominguez and Snickers. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

On Saturday, the $800 Four Winds Farm & Equine Hospital NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic attracted a field of 27 entries to vie for the blue ribbon, with Dominguez and Courtney Lenkart’s Snickers ultimately topping the scorecard thanks to their two-round tally of 169 points. The team just narrowly edged out the competition to take the win by less than one point, with Cara Monforton and Paula Monforton’s One To Know earning second place with a score of 168.50.

In addition, the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring hosted exhibitors in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Classic on Saturday, with Jacobs and Iladin Du Rouet, owned by North Star, emerging victorious ahead of a talent-heavy pack. Jacobs’ win in the classic with Iladin Du Rouet added to her week’s growing list of accolades, as the duo already claimed the championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters as well as the reserve championship in the Performance 3’3” Hunters.

Charlotte Jacobs and Iladin Du Rouet. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

In the $1,000 Huntsover Farms Junior Hunter Classic, which offered younger competitors a chance to earn some prize money, Floyd took advantage of the opportunity and displayed stellar rounds with the ride on Cleopatra’s Smile, owned by Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc. Elizabeth Becker piloted her own Corlando 49 to second place overall, while Austin Krawitt navigated Caroline Lloyd’s Cartello Z to third place.

In the Large Junior 16–17 Hunters, Pritzker and Evergreen Stables LLC’s Willow CBF shone the brightest to capture the championship after winning more than half of the division’s classes. Following the first half of competition Friday, Pritzker and Willow CBF had positioned themselves as the early front-runners with blue ribbons in the handy and under saddle rounds. The pair returned to the ring Saturday to continue their winning ways, adding another first place finish over fences and a fifth place in the stake class to secure their spot as the champions. Earning the second-highest cumulative score, Bella Kay and her own Symbolic earned the reserve champion honors.

Teddi Pritzker and Willow CBF. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Week III of GLEF concluded Sunday, but hunter competition will continue for three more weeks, with national hunter derbies taking place each Sunday during Weeks III, IV and V. Week IV will also feature the highly anticipated $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Copper Fox LLC, as well as the inaugural Dudley B. Smith Equitation Championship, presented by Northern Pines Farm, in the Grand Prix Ring on Saturday, July 27.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Melissa Donnelly – $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Greg Crolick Stables and Renaud Farm, winner

On Grand Tour:
“He was really good and I was really pleased. We have had him for five weeks, and he is a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood. He stayed really focused, attentive and came right to the party for everything I asked him to do today. I have a really strong team that helps with all of the horses and takes great care of them. It paid off today.”

On GLEF:
“It is wonderful with the new improvements. It’s so nice having the extra ring and more space. The rings are a lot bigger, so I feel like we can get a lot more accomplished with all of the horses.”

On Traverse City:
“I’ve gotten to go putt putt golfing once, and all the kids have been out playing on the lake and getting to go boating and jet skiing. The kids and customers have been out having a lot of fun getting to do a lot of activities.”

Angela Dominguez – $800 Four Winds Farm & Equine Hospital NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Hunter Classic winner

On Snickers and their performances:
“This horse is Snickers, and he is owned by Courtney Lenkart. I have been showing him this past spring and summer, and we have had a wonderful series together. It was great. This was a great day because it is my third and final week at the GLEF series. I have been bridesmaid in the Adult Amateur Hunter Classic every week until now, so I guess the third week is the charm because I finally won the blue. I appreciate South Haven Farm for having my horses ready each and every week and each and every day to do the best that we can. They are so wonderful at that.”

On GLEF:
“I have been here before and I enjoy it so much as a horse show and a vacation. There are so many wonderful things to do besides horse show here. The facilities are wonderful and they have done a great job with the improvements. We are really happy to be here.”

Charlotte Jacobs – $1,000 Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Classic winner

On Iladin Du Rouet:
“He is 6 years old and I just started riding him at the beginning of this year. He was actually bred by my mom and he’s a baby of one of my old junior jumpers, so he was born and raised with us and then Havens Schatt had him for a year. I started riding him — we just clicked and it was awesome. He did great; he has had a good week. He showed earlier in the week in the Performance Hunters and was reserve champion, and then was champion in the amateur division and came back for the classic and was perfect.”

On GLEF:
“I think it’s beautiful. We got here the first day and I was just riding around in the main hunter ring and took a peek down in the rings and it looks amazing. They’ve done such a nice job with a little bit of ground work with the other rings and it looks incredible.”

Teddi Pritzker – Large Junior 16–17 Hunter division champion

 

On Willow CBF:
“My horse is Willow CBF and she is a chestnut mare. She is 11 years old and she is super sassy but also the most devoted horse. She always gives back when you give to her, she’s the best.”

On GLEF:
“I love it! I’m having a really great time and all my horses are really happy. There’s the lake and you can go out to dinner and be with your family after the show. It’s nice to be able to do a wide variety of things while I’m here, plus lots of cherry pie!”

RESULTS

$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Greg Crolick Stables and Renaud Farm:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Grand Tour / Melissa Donnelly / Elizabeth Becker / 91 / 94 / 185
2. Business Time / Maria Rasmussen / Maya Grove / 94 / 90 / 184
3. Unbelievable / Jacob Pope / Forest Hill Farm / 88.75 / 93 / 181.75
4. Comissario / Ailish Cunniffe / Whipstick Farm Ltd / 88.25 / 90 / 178.25
5. Greetings / Haley Hammer / Haley Hammer / 89 / 89 / 178
6. Monday Balous / Luke Jensen / Donald Stewart / 85 / 91 / 176
7. Hello Handsome / Teddi Pritzker / Evergreen Stables LLC / 88.50 / 79 / 167.50
8. Berlin / Audrey Jezek / Audrey Jezek / 85.50 / 77 / 162.50
9. Northface / Brennan Clare / Ashland Farms / 84 / 74 / 158
10. Drommels / Emma Flett / Emma Flett / 84 / 66 / 150

For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.