Almelo, owned by Mimi Abel-Smith of Middleburg, Va., and ridden by 17-year-old Katherine Newman, defeated a field of 20 starters to win the $10,000 International Hunter Derby last night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
The Derby is a two-round class, with the first round over a classic course. The top 13 finishers came back to compete over a handy hunter course, with both scores combined to determine the winner. The field included the top professional hunter riders in the country.
Newman's quick turns and smooth round in the second phase of the event won her the judges' points to put her on top.
Top professional hunter riders Jennifer Alfano and Scott Stewart placed second and third, respectively.
"I thought I'd be in there, but I never thought I'd win it," Newman said.
Tequila and his owner/rider, Carter Ware of Middleburg, Va., won the $2,500 North American League Pony Jumpers class in an eight-horse jump-off.
Tequila's time of 30.599 seconds edged second-place EZ To Spot and Adam Sklansky, whose time was 30.840. Tequila's win gave him the Pony Jumper High Score Award with 15 points after three classes on Saturday and yesterday.
"It was so exciting," said Ware, 13. "I was really, really nervous. It was nerve-racking riding in front of all those people. I was also nervous about going under lights."
Misdee Wrigley Miller of Paris, Ky., won the Championship Drive-Off of the Carriage Pleasure Drive earlier in the day, driving a tandem.