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Jenny Karazissis and Undeniable Dominate Franktown Meadows $25,000 International Hunter Derby with Fourth Consecutive Victory

Washoe Valley, NV - August 3, 2014 - Jenny Karazissis came home with top honors yet again in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Franktown Meadows Equestrian Facility in Washoe Valley, NV. Karazissis and Undeniable continued as reigning champions after winning both classes this weekend at the Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby. As a two-day standalone competition, Franktown Meadows featured the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby August 1, and the $25,000 International Derby August 2. Karazissis and her mount won both derbies this year as well as last year, capturing a total of four blue ribbon victories. Because each derby is classified as a separate USEF licensed competition, all exhibitors were welcome to participate in both classes.
Winner Undeniable ridden by Jenny Karazissis owned by Kelly Straeter of Santa Monica, CA, of the $25,000 Franktown Meadows USHJA International Hunter Derby. August 2, 2014. Photo by Jenny Ross Koning for PhotoLyte.com

Fourteen horse and rider combinations took part in Saturday's two round competition on the lush grass field. Karazissis of Calabasas, CA, topped the leader board in the initial round and returned last in the order for the handy hunter course. Throughout the second round, Woodstock and Hope Glynn of Petaluma, CA, led with a score of 371.5. The pressure intensified when Undeniable threw a shoe before his final round. After a short break, Karazissis and her horse prepared again, and the pair proved undaunted by the interruption. Undeniable tallied an overall score of 391, taking over the lead and a prize money purse of $7,500. He is owned by Kelly Straeter and trains with Mary Gatti. 

"He was excellent today," grinned Karazissis. "It was a big advantage getting to come back last in the handy round. It was a little nerve-wrecking because I was about to walk into the ring when he pulled his shoe. I was mentally focused and ready to take off, and then I had to get off. After the farrier fixed it, I had to go back to the warm up ring, but I tried to stay focused and concentrate." Undeniable was unnerved by the situation and remained composed. "He just turns it on in the show ring," she explained. "He knows what it's about and loves his job."
Winner Undeniable ridden by Jenny Karazissis owned by Kelly Straeter of Santa Monica, CA, of the $25,000 Franktown Meadows USHJA International Hunter Derby. August 2, 2014. Photo by Jenny Ross Koning for PhotoLyte.com

Karazissis pointed out that her success this weekend stems from a group effort. "We have a great team," she acknowledged. "Mary Gatti is the trainer for this horse and knows him very well. This is the very first time that she hasn't been at a competition with him. She was really supportive and encouraged us to bring him here this weekend. The owner [Kelly Straeter] wasn't able to come watch, but her boyfriend came to support us and cheer us on. I have to thank Mary and Kelly, as well as Jesse, who is his groom, and my husband Kost for stepping in as ground man. It really made it even more exciting! Plus, we want to thank the MacLean Family and Julie Winkle for her sponsorship of the National."

In the International Derby, Glynn and Woodstock finished second overall. Woodstock is owned by Sabrina Hellman. Third place went to crowd favorite C. Quito and Jessie Lang of Jackson, WY. Glynn also took home the fourth place ribbon with Zaretina, who is owned by Emma Waldfogel. 
Second Place Woodstock ridden by Hope Glynn owned by Sabrina Hellman of Greenbrae, CA of the $25,000 Franktown Meadows USHJA International Hunter Derby. August 2, 2014. Photo by Jenny Ross Koning for PhotoLyte.com

"I thought Woodstock jumped better for me today than he's ever jumped before," revealed Glynn. "I couldn't have asked him to be any better. He took every high option and had just the right amount of energy. He rode a nice gallop and was brave and scopey. I was really pleased with how the horses went." Glynn has partnered with Woodstock for about five years and considers him "one of the best hunters ever." She raved, "He has an amazing front end. Whether you're long or short, he's just fantastic. He's a really solid citizen who always comes out a winner for me."

After watching Undeniable's outstanding performance in the first round, Glynn discussed her strategy for the handy hunter course. "Going into the second round, I had to jump all of the high options," she said. "I had to do everything I could to beat Jenny because I knew the judges liked her and she's on a great horse. I had to take a risk, so I took every big option and all the inside turns. He jumped great, but it just wasn't my day to be first."

Sponsored by MacLean Financial Group, Inc. and the Franktown Meadows Equestrian Facility, this weekend's competition was managed and course designed by Philip J. DeVita of Apoka, FL. The courses were composed of rustic, natural obstacles that reflected fox hunting fields and traditional horse trials. In addition, the show's well-decorated jumps reflected elements of Lake Tahoe and its neighboring city of Reno.

"I think both classes went very well," DeVita said. "We had good numbers in the National Derby, and the horses had good preparation for the International class. I think allowing them to do both classes helped the horses get comfortable out on the big grass field, and that's a big bonus." He noted, "We had great horses that were ridden by great riders. It was nice to see the quality and depth of horses that we had here today."

For additional information on the hunter derby, please go towww.FMHunterDerby.com.

Proceeds from the Franktown Meadows Hunter Derby benefit the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, a non-profit organization that distributes food and support for those in need. They serve more than 130 different direct service agencies who help the needy, the ill, the elderly, and children. To learn more about the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, please visit www.fbnn.org