Greg Crolick and Augusta Iwasaki Emerge Victorious in Inaugural Traverse City Non-Pro and Pro Derby Finals 

Traverse City, Mich. – Sept. 19, 2021 – The grand finale to the 2021 Traverse City Horse Shows series took the form of the inaugural Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals. Unique to Traverse City, Michigan and offering over $275k in guaranteed prize money to hunter athletes, the Finals was set in place by management in order to elevate the hunter divisions and create additional opportunities to compete for some of the most prize money on offer in North American hunter sport. Junior rider Augusta Iwasaki showcased her derby talent Sunday afternoon, closing out the series by taking the top three spots in the $25,000 3’ Non-Pro Derby Final, presented by Makoto Farm. Professional athlete Greg Crolick continued his winning ways, topping another leaderboard with Jon Cotton’s Testify in the $50,000 3’ Pro Derby Final.

Augusta Iwasaki and Ever So Often, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Junior and amateur competitors were eager to try their hand at Keith J. Bollotte’s 11-obstacle first round track with the hopes of advancing to the handy round for a chance to really showcase their horses’ skills. At the conclusion of the first round, Iwasaki rose to the top of the leaderboard to sit in the first place position aboard Ava Peck’s Ever So Often on an impressive score of 95. Setting herself up nicely for a winning spot, Iwasaki also claimed the second position at the conclusion of the first round riding Iwasaki & Reilly’s Small Social to a score of 91. Gajoch and Westeros, owned by Samantha Gajoch, were hot on their heels in the third position with a score of 89. With just six points separating the top three, the door was open for a shakeup of the leaderboard during the handy round.

Augusta Iwasaki and Ever So Often, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Returning in reverse order to compete over Bellotte’s 11-fence track, Iwasaki proved she is a force to be reckoned with in the derby ring. Piloting four different mounts through skillful twists and turns, she had the clear advantage as the rider with most entries to her name. No stranger to a tactful handy course, Iwasaki put her best effort forward on each mount, moving her way up the leaderboard to eventually take over the top three spots. She clinched the win riding to a handy round score of 94 with Ever So Often, finishing on an impressive two-round total of 189. After earning scores of 91 and 90, Iwasaki and Small Social secured second place honors for their total score of 181. Iwasaki effortlessly navigated her trusty equitation mount Attendu de Lannois Z, owned by Ashland Farms, to scores of 87.5 and 91, rounding out the top three with a total score of 1785.

Greg Crolick and Testify

Earlier in the day, the professional hunter riders took to the arena for their shot at the top prize in the $50,000 3’ Pro Derby Final. Coming off of a win in Friday’s $50,000 Performance Hunter Final, Crolick and Testify entered the arena with confidence with top scores already under their belt. Repeating their winning ways, the duo topped the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round with a score of 95. Sitting just one point behind Crolick and Testify was Tiffany Morrissey and Kathryn Withers’ Copernicus K after receiving a first round score of 94. Just one point behind them, Crolick and Calisto, also owned by Cotton, scored a 93 to sit comfortably in the third place position at the conclusion of the first round.

Greg Crolick and Testify

With plenty of room in the scores for the leading spot to exchange hands in the handy round, Crolick knew he had to lay down a high-scoring ride aboard both mounts to secure the top spot. As the previous winners of Friday’s $50,000 Performance Hunter Final, Crolick and Testify did not falter throughout the 11-fence handy round, taking on the inside tracks and trot fence with ease. Cheers erupted as they cleared the final oxer and their handy score of 98 was announced, guaranteeing the pair the win with a total score of 193. Cinching the highest two-round score of the day, Crolick proved the seven-year-old Hanoverian gelding’s future is bright, walking away with the blue ribbon yet again. Morrissey and Copernicus K would hold their second place spot after earning a handy round score of 92.5 to finish on a total of 186.5. Jacob Pope moved his way up the leaderboard after navigating an impressive handy round aboard Lucas Mejia Fanjul’s G. Eleven, rounding out the top three of the class with scores of 91 and 95, concluding with a total score of 186.

Hunter athletes spoke highly of the opportunity to compete in championship classes to close out the show series in Traverse City. Sunday’s Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals competition concludes 12 exciting weeks of the 2021 Traverse City Horse Shows series. For more information about Traverse City Horse Shows, visit www.traversecityhorseshows.com

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Augusta Iwasaki – $25,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Derby Final, presented by Makoto Farm, winner

On Ever So Often:
“Ever So Often belongs to Ava Peck and I started riding him in the spring. She is a really great derby horse and division horse, and she is really young so it is special to be able to bring her up and be able to teach her how to do these classes. My biggest thing in the first round with her was that she prefers the left lead, but there were a lot of right leads in the course. I was focused on trying to land as many right leads as I could to keep it consistent.”

On Small Social:
“I have had Small Social for a little over a year now and I just did [the Platinum Performance/USHJA Hunter Derby Championships] a few weeks ago with him and have been to a few derbys. He was really great and the main thing with him is working to keep him focused. He is a really great horse but he loses his focus a lot so we just work to make sure that he stays in the game.”

On Attendu de Lannois Z:
“Attendu is actually my equitation horse, but he is also really great at the hunters too. My mom really likes when he does the hunters. This was good practice for [the ASPCA Macaly Regional Championships] next week in Kentucky and getting back in the groove.” 

On Rolo:
“I have been riding Rolo for a year and a half now and I started doing derbys on him first. He belongs to my friend Ariya [Nathu] and he is a special because he can do any class. I have never really ridden a horse that can do the equitation, hunters, and go in the jumper ring.”

On riding so many horses in one class:
“I take a minute in the schooling area with each horse to adjust to them. I have been riding these horses for enough time now that I know them and can get in the groove with them pretty easily, which is nice.” 

On winning the inaugural $25,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Derby Final:
“I think that it is really nice to have these hunter finals! I have never seen hunter classes like this before. We were here most of the summer and getting to finish off with these classes was pretty cool. You do not see anything like this at most shows where there are a lot of divisions and big classes. It is exciting to get to more important classes like these more regularly. This is making the hunter ring a lot more special.”

Greg Crolick – $50,000 3’ Pro Traverse City Derby Final winner

On competing in the $50,000 3’ Pro Traverse City Derby Final:
“All three of my horses were amazing and they were prepared perfectly. I could not have asked for any of them to have been any better. The course was very inviting and floating and each horse went great.”

On competing in the Traverse City Hunter Finals:
“The money was a complete incentive for us to come up here. The competition was very stiff! We will absolutely be coming back for these classes again next year.”

On Testify:
“With his size and his personality and demeanor, he and I together are a really good match. He was doing some derbys before he came to our program and I took him to the [USHJA] International Derby Finals and he made it to the top 22-horses and had great rounds, and I was really happy with him. He is only seven and he is a little bit young to be doing all of the bigger stuff, so coming here this week and having him take a breath and take his time worked out very well for us.” 

RESULTS

$25,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Derby Final winner
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total
1. Ever So Often / Augusta Iwasaki / Ava Peck / 95 / 94 | 189
2. Small Social / Augusta Iwasaki / Iwasaki & Reilly / 91 / 90 | 181
3. Attendu de Lannois Z / Augusta Iwasaki / Ashland Farms / 87.5 / 91 | 178.5
4. Sunman / Olivia Sweetnam / Sweet Oak Farm / 87 / 89 | 176
5. Westeros / Owen Gajoch / Samantha Gajoch / 89 / 83.5 | 172.5
6. Rolo / Augusta Iwasaki / Ariya Nathu / 88 / 84 | 172
7. Everglade VDL / Hailey Guidry / Honor Hill Farm LLC / 84 / 85 | 169
8. Baton Rouge / Ava Peck / Darby Wallis / 80 / 79 | 159
9. Alajolie / Alexander Miller / Farber Farms LLC / 70 / 58 | 128
10. RF Krossfire / Hailey Berger / Vinissa Blann / 68 / 0 | 68
11. Bon Ami / Lisa Berger / AM Sport Horses / 59 / 0 | 59
12. E.S. Diathago 2 / Hailey Berger / Boris Neyra / 49 / 0 | 49

$50,000 3’ Pro Traverse City Derby Final winner
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total
1. Testify / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 95 / 98 | 193
2. Copernicus K / Tiffany Morrissey / Kathryn Withers / 94 / 92.5 | 186.5
3. G. Eleven / Jacob Pope / Lucas Mejia Fanjul / 91 / 95 | 186
4. Calisto / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 93 / 91.5 | 184.5
5. Kuore / Greg Crolick / Renaud Farm LLC / 90 / 94 | 184
6. Heartfelt II / Tiffany Morrissey / Diener Farms LLC / 89 / 93 | 182
7. Suede / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 90.5 / 90 | 180.5
8. Bon Ami / Tiffany Morrissey / AM Sport Horses South Inc. / 86 / 89 | 175
9. WIth Honors / Jacob Pope / Corporate Way LLC / 84.5 / 88 | 172.5
10. Color-Coded / Tiffany Morrissey / Ella Short / 87 / 84 | 171
11. Podcast / Nicholas Pongracz / Donald Stewart / 84 / 83 | 167
12. Lonesome Dove / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 85 / 81 | 166

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