Ryan Sassmannshausen and Rosalita Rise to Win $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
On Sunday, Kyle Perkovich raced to the biggest win of his career with Rarity during the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix to close out the Lamplight Spring Spectacular III at HITS Chicago. He set the original pace to beat during the five-horse jump-off, leaving out a stride to the second fence and never slowing down as he bested the other double clears produced by Thomas Cerra with Incredible Loma and Lisa Goldman-Smolen with Sovereign, who placed second and third, respectively.
“This is my first big purse win, and it feels absolutely amazing,” smiled Perkovich. “This whole time at Lamplight, just creeping in there, hovering in that same spot the whole time and finally just breaking through and winning. This is the first year for Rarity to step up to this height and work at this level. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year, and it’s been a really fun journey. Taking it home during the last week feels really awesome!”
Hector Loyola set a technical first-round track, which included a line that began with a triple bar to a vertical-vertical double combination and finished with another oxer, causing downed rails for many in the original order. Five advanced to the short course, where they had to begin with a sharp rollback before two long gallops across the ring, another rollback to a vertical-oxer double combination, and finally a rollback to the last liverpool oxer on the far side of the ring.
Perkovich was the first to return with Rarity, and having knocked on the door throughout the three weeks of the Lamplight Spring Spectacular, they were ready to kick it open on Sunday. Quick turns and a blazing fast gallop helped them break the beam in a fault-free 41.736 seconds, setting an unbeatable pace for the day.
“The first spot that I made up the biggest time was from one to two,” he explained. “I landed, turned, saw the distance, and went for it. It was a little long, a flyer, but we just kept on going, and as soon as I hit that jump, I knew I was on the pace and had just to keep on going to stay on it. Everything came up beautifully, spun back around to the in-and-out, jumped it amazingly, had a little bit of a rub [before the last], but that was perfect – just landed perfectly straight, spun, and ran at the last. It was really good!”