Kathryn Padilla and Heavenly Patch of Blue are Best in the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – West at Blenheim June Classic III
Kathryn Padilla rode Heavenly Patch of Blue to victory in the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – West on Saturday, July 1, to conclude a week of ponies in the spotlight at the Blenheim June Classic III in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Padilla and the 17-year-old Welsh mare, an entry of Highland Farm LLC, are no strangers to the winner’s circle, having also won the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby at the Blenheim Spring Classic II.
The duo led Saturday’s class from beginning to end, with judges Linda Hake, Mary Cohen, Randy Neuman and Philip Klipa awarding them impressive first-round scores of 92 and 90 for a 91 average.
“I wanted to try and get a 90 today, and I did!” said Padilla. “I’m just really proud of doing that. There’s always a lot of people in the crowd to watch [the derby] which makes it so fun. It’s different from other classes we do.”
Padilla and Heavenly Patch of Blue then returned to earn an average score of 83 over the Scott Starnes-designed handy course, clinching them the win with a total score of 174.
“I tried not to think about it,” said Padilla, who sealed the win with the expert navigation of a tricky inside turn. “I usually just think about the blue ribbon in my head and try to go in and win it. I changed my plan for the inside turn. I was going to take it on my other pony, Celebration, but I decided not to. On [Heavenly Patch of Blue], I knew I could get it done because I can always count on her.”
Padilla continued, “The reason her show name is Heavenly Patch of Blue is because she actually has a little patch of blue in her eye. Her barn name is Anna, and she’s a unicorn. We call her Anna Banana because she loves bananas, and it rhymes. She has a really spunky personality, and she knows when it’s time to win.”
With Padilla taking the championship win, the reserve championship with a score of 164 went to Bella Boreanaz and her own Special Gift, and Sarah Magallanes and Wellspring’s Roxstar rounded out the top three with a score of 162. Magallanes and Wellspring’s Roxstar were also presented with a blue ribbon for earning the highest score in the handy round with an 88.
Padilla and Heavenly Patch of Blue were also presented with the High Score Small Pony Award. Special Gift, ridden by Boreanaz, was named the High Score Large Pony, and Anderin’s Momento, ridden by Charli Prager, earned the High Score Medium Pony Award.
To view full results of the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – West, click here.