Zazou Hoffman (Santa Monica, CA) and Samson II galloped to victory with a speedy jump-off time of 75.363 seconds in the $30,000 Grand Prix, sponsored by EQ International Real Estate, at the Desert International Horse Park. Keri Potter (Del Mar, CA) and Jiminy Cricket finished second with a time of 76.295 seconds, while Elizabeth Gingras (Calgary, AB) aboard Daylight VDL were awarded third for their efforts with a time of 77.302 seconds.

Samson II, owned by Woodacres Stables LLC, and Hoffman were the last pair to test the jump-off course. “It was a very fun and fast jump-off class which is always great,” Hoffman commented. “The courses today were really good. There were some tricky things, but it felt like it was fair for everyone in the class.”

Hoffman and the Swedish Warmblood gelding have been long-time partners, “he is 16 this year so it is really nice to feel him in good form.” Hoffman and Samson II will return to the Grand Prix Stadium for Sunday’s $200,000 Go Rentals Grand Prix.

Program Presents First $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

The new Marshall & Sterling Insurance Derby Program debuted the first of three USHJA International Derbies during Desert Circuit. The program hosts a total of eleven derbies: five USHJA National Derbies, three USHJA International Derbies, one USHJA Pony Hunter Derby, and two Child/Adult Hunter Derbies (2’/2’3″ and 2’6″/2’9″ heights).

Erin Duffy (La Canada, CA) aboard Romeo were crowned Champion in the first USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by BUTET, at the Desert International Horse Park. Jamie Taylor (Tarzana, CA) and Cornelensky, owned by Spyglass Hill, were awarded Reserve Champion honors.

Twenty-one pairs challenged the first round of the Derby. “I really liked the course because it asked a bunch of questions about track and you had to really pay attention to it,” commented Duffy, who was the leader going into the handy after scoring a 183 points after round one.

The nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding, owned by Volant Stables, and Duffy have been paired together for less than year and have just started competing in Derbies together. “He just has a lot of scope and so much natural talent,” Duffy shared of her talented partner.

The derby program continues this week with our 2’/2’3″ Child/Adult Hunter Derby in Hunter Ring 6 at 8:00 AM on Sunday. If you can’t make it in person, be sure to watch online by clicking here.

Tali Dejong Earns Top Placing In $1,000 U25 Jumper Classic

Tali DeJong (Golden, CO) and Vaillant de Belle Vue were the only pair to finish clear in the U25 Jumper Classic, sponsored by VDL Stud. Although the pair are fairly new, they have taken well to each other, “I just got him in October and this is my fourth show on him,” DeJong shared. “He has such a good heart of gold; he is in my corner at all times.”

Although DeJong will be returning to Dallas, Texas, for a few weeks for school and to compete on the Southern Methodist University Equestrian Team, she is looking forward to returning to Thermal for Week VIII. “I really want to qualify and participate in the U25 EquiFit Invitational. I am really excited for that class and that it got added to the prize list,” DeJong concluded.