Mechlin Farm Shines in $5,000 USHJA National Derby at Lamplight Spring Classic II
Wayne, Ill. – May 19, 2022 – Mechlin Farm had a dominating performance during Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at HITS Chicago. Sarah Mechlin Duhon led the way with her veteran mount Monterius after executing a flawless handy round. Katie Kantrovitz and Shenanigans, who are trained by Duhon, followed closely in second place, while Duhon also nabbed both third and fourth with Rold Gold and Zinc, respectively.
“I'm super proud of the program – we have such an amazing team,” expressed Duhon after leading the lap of honor. “Thanks to Ali McCool and Duncan White, back at the barn, as well as Wendy Hofmeister on the ground with her expertise. Winning these classes is not about the person in the irons, it is about everybody on the team!"
Mechlin Farm scored all four of the top ribbons
Thirty combinations gathered at Hunter 1 to compete over Dean Battaglia’s classic round course during the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, with the top 12 returning for the handy round. The second course featured four high options, a trot jump followed by a smooth rollback and a final gallop to the last oxer near the gate.
Katie Kantrovitz and Shenanigans
With three mounts qualified for the handy round, Duhon returned first aboard Monterius, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by BAE Ponies, LLC. The duo flowed through every turn and Monterius showcased a beautiful effort over each fence to set an unbeatable score of 92, which would eventually score the win with an overall score of 176. Kantrovitz and Shenanigans were just one point away with a combined score of 175 after earning a 90 during the handy round, closely following her trainer’s track. Duhon and Rold Gold earned a pair of 87’s for third, while Zinc was just half a point behind for fourth after leading the classic round with an 89.
Sarah Duhon and Rold Gold
“I was excited to do Monterious first in that handy track because he's my most experienced of the three horses,” explained Duhon. “I thought all the turns were tricky, so it was lucky to have him coming back first and test out those tight turns. It was a fun track!”
Duhon added, “We imported Monterius as a 5-year-old, and he's 8 now, so we've had him in our program for quite a long time. His owners have been really faithful, loyal customers and they've allowed us to take our time and bringing him along. This year he has really started to bloom. He's done four derbies at the last four horse shows, and he's been in the top five placings every time.”
Sarah Duhon and Monterius
Traveling from Missouri, Duhon and the team at Mechlin Farm have enjoyed their time at HITS Chicago this spring. “The facility is beautiful, and the staff is so friendly and nice,” she concluded. “Everybody's so easy to get along with and is so accommodating. I've grown up riding with everybody from the Midwest, so it's really fun to come here as a professional and compete with my barn.”
Competition during the Lamplight Spring Classic II will continue throughout the weekend as part of the HITS Chicago Series. Junior and amateur athletes will showcase their skills on Sunday during their respective hunter classics to close out the first week of the horse show, earning valuable points towards qualifying for the Marshall and Sterling Finals.