Amberlee Wentz and Up In Smoke Conquer $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC

May 31, 2019 - 8:00 PM

For Immediate Release


Mill Spring, NC – May 31, 2019 – Amberlee Wentz of Colorado Springs, CO, guided Dana Vollbracht’s Up In Smoke to a win in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), earning a two-round score of 168.5. In second, Luke Jensen (Denton, TX) rode Jill Barnett’s Coraggio PF to a 168 after two rounds, while Sara Ketcham and Claire de Lune Farm’s Hudson claimed third place on a score of 165 to represent Columbus, NC.


DSC_0200Amberlee Wentz and Up In Smoke

Nineteen horse-and-rider combinations tested the Skip Bailey (Chicago, IL) course design, and Wentz piloted two mounts of the 12 returning for the handy round, placing fourth aboard Dana Vollbracht’s Davidson on a score of 164.


“The course rode great,” Wentz reported. “It was a nice, fluid course, with only one related distance line and we just went out and had fun.”


DSC_0229Luke Jensen and Coraggio PF

Wentz and Up in Smoke have “been doing a few Derbies here and there,” Wentz relayed, but “this is his first Derby win with me. He normally does the 3’3″ Performance classes with me, before the Derbies, and then he shows with his mom.”


DSC_0233Sara Ketcham and Hudson

Having experienced 20 inches of snow at home in Colorado the week before competing at TIEC for the first time, Wentz admitted that “we are not sure we are going home! We love it – it’s amazing here. Everything that’s been done here, they have given great attention to detail from not only the bathrooms and the barns, but to how the entire grounds are set up,” she continued. “We are thrilled to be here, and staying on-site in one of the cabins, which is absolutely amazing.”


DSC_0284Amberlee Wentz and Up In Smoke in their presentation ceremony
alongside JP Godard, Competition Manager.


Wentz noted that her barn has traveled for competitions across the country, from Colorado to Texas and Kentucky, and that her horses are able to handle significant venue changes easily:


“The horses have all been pretty experienced and have shown quite a bit throughout the country at different venues. I am just really lucky to have great-minded horses; they have all been pretty good about all the new atmosphere,” she concluded.


For full results from the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, click here.


Tryon Spring 5 competition continues through Sunday, June 2, and features the highlight $132,000 Ingles Grand Prix CSI 3* in Tryon Stadium Saturday, June 1, at 8pm, and Sunday’s $36,000 1.45m Sunday Classic at approximately 10:15am. For more information about the Tryon Spring Series, visit


Photo credit ©TIEC. These photos are able to be used once in relation to this press release.



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