Nick Haness with Skyhawk and Cosmeo with Laura Wasserman, Melissa Brandes and Archie Cox

Del Mar, CA – Friday morning, the Showpark Ranch & Coast Classic kicked off with 25 high performance hunters galloping on the grass in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. The class culminated with a double win for owner Laura Wasserman and rider Nick Haness, with champion honors going to Skyhawk and second place to Cosmeo. After picking up both first and second in the classic round, aboard Skyhawk and Cosmeo respectively, Haness maintained his lead with solid second round scores for the one-two victory.

Two panels judged the class, the first Jimmy Lee and Jimmy Clapperton and the second Don Stewart Jr. (on his birthday nonetheless!) and Katherine Griffiths. The course, designed by Thomas Hern of Plymouth, Massachusetts, included two high options, a single oxer on a hill, and a delicate two-stride combination. For those who advanced to the handy round, another two high options and a hand gallop played a role in the scoring. Taking both higher options and tight inside turns, Haness used the track to his advantage, earning handy scores of 9 from each judging panel, which secured his lead.

Nick Haness and Skyhawk

With Skyhawk’s Derby rider, John French, on the injury list, Haness just stepped into the role this week. He has watched and competed against the talented gelding in numerous derbies. “I’m sorry John is hurt and wish him a speedy recovery,” said Haness. “Skyhawk is lovely to ride. He’s very brave and today I could feel that he was in it to win it.”

Along with ribbons and a USHJA cooler and halter, the pair was awarded a pair of Roeckl Sports riding gloves and an EquiFit hunter girth.

Sponsored awards also went out to many of the riders and contributors to recognize their outstanding performances. Laura Wasserman received the Balmoral Winning Owner Award, and trainer Archie Cox was the Blue Ribbon Blankets Winning Trainer.

Rider Augusta Iwasaki earned the The Plaid Horse Highest Scoring Junior Rider Award, with two rides in the top twelve and a fourth place finish aboard Vanderpump. Megan Kerpsack took home the One K Helmets Highest Scoring Amateur Rider Award on her mount Calandra.

Augusta Iwasaki and Vanderpump with Melissa Brandes

Sergio Macias Valdez was recognized for his excellence in grooming with the Makoto Farms Groom’s Award for Best Turned Out Horse, partnered with Geneve, owned by Amy Concha, and ridden to a fifth place finish by Jenny Karazissis.

Geneve’s groom Sergio Macias Valdez with Liz Reilly and Melissa Brandes

The $5,000 1.35-1.40m Interactive Mortgage Horse 10&U Futurity and $60,000 1.50m Grand Prix of California, presented by EQU Lifestyle Boutique, will highlight the Grand Prix Field on Saturday. Numerous SmartPak High Score and Grand Champion Awards will be presented on Sunday as the Ranch & Coast Classic comes to a close.

$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place – Entry Number – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd1 Score/Rd2 Score/Overall Score
1. 415 – Skyhawk – Nick Haness – Laura Wasserman – 182/187.5/369.5
2. 411 – Cosmeo – Nick Haness – Laura Wasserman – 170/198/368
3. 296 – Legacy – Jenny Karazissis – Emily Sukert – 164/195/359
4. 473 – Vanderpump – Augusta Iwasaki – Ashland Farms – 160/185/345
5. 451 – Geneve – Jenny Karazissis – Amy Concha – 160.5/180.5/341
6. 477 – Lucky in Love – Jamie Taylor – Ava Peck – 160.5/178/338.5
7. 471 – Small Kingdom – Jamie Taylor – Iwasaki & Reilly – 166/172/338
8. 237 – Burberry – Nick Haness – Strasburg Morin Inc – 150/184/334
9. 542 – Esperance – Mickie Sage – Lucky Jack Farm LLC – 163/149/312
10. 475 – Small Occasion – Augusta Iwasaki – Iwasaki & Reilly – 163.5/144/307.5
11. 292 – Ka-Ching – Michelle Morris – Melissa Sklenar – 151/156/307
12. 683 – Ninja – Nicole Haunert – Paul Haunert – 166/124/290

Photos by Captured Moment Photo