Ocala, FL-Andrew Kocher from Lake St. Louis, Missouri, took charge in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Welcome Stake on Wednesday at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. He not only won the class on his Rooney IV, but was also third-place with Prof de la Roque, owned by Postagestamp Farm, LLC, and fifth-place with his own Le Conte. Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, took second-place honors with Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises. Fourth-place was Diamantes Legacy with owner and rider Derek Petersen of Archer, Florida.
Martin Otto of Germany, designed the 1.40-meter course. Riders galloped the length of the stadium from fence one to fence two in both the first round and the jump-off with an optional, time-saving inside turn by the gazebo to a combination.
The jump-off finished with another very long gallop to the final oxer. Thirteen of thirty-one entries completed the first round without faults and moved on to an immediate jump-off where seven went clear.
First to move on to the jump-off was Petersen on Diamantes Legacy. They galloped to the second fence, and to the last, and took the inside turn by the gazebo for in a speedy 41.876 seconds. Rooney IV and Kocher were the next to try the jump-off track. Kocher chose to gallop around the gazebo for a longer route but never took back, taking over the lead with a time of 39.933 seconds.
A few trips later, Kocher returned ot the ring and was double-clear again, this time on Prof de la Roque. He went around the gazebo again but cut inside the in and out to the last fence. He couldn’t best his own time, putting him in second with a time of 41.097 seconds. Vale and Carlo chose the inside the gazebo route and kept up the pace to knock Kocher out of second-place, clocking in at 40.918. Kocher’s final attempt at the win was on Le Conte and he placed fifth with a time of 42.456 seconds.
“This is my first time competing in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium,” said Kocher. “This is fun—it’s a great ring and my horses are fresh and jumping really well. I tried the turns both ways but it was definitely faster to go around, then just turn and run.”
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com