Thermal, CA: Hunter exhibitors took center stage as the weekend kicked off in Desert Circuit VI. Riders vied for a prestigious victory and a slice of the purse in Friday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
The top 14 horse and riders from the first round returned to compete in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, which serves as a qualifier for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September, but it was Katie Gardner of Moorpark, California, who garnered the win in the two-round classic. Gardner, aboard Maldini, owned by Star Lane Farms, Inc., claimed the top spot with the highest score in both rounds. Their first-round score of 87, combined with their second-round improvement to 90 earned them a total of 177 for the win.
Second-place went to Laguna Beach, California, equestrian John Bragg and Lukatoni, owned by Pamela Moellenhoff. They scored consistently high in the first and second round, earning a first-round score of 85 and a second-round score of 86 to total 171 for their efforts. Bragg sealed another spot in the top five, earning fourth-place with Drachen, owned by Marcia Richardson. They earned scores of 82 and 84, respectively for a total of 166.
Jillian Stuart of Rancho Santa Fe, California, took home the third-place title with Andover, owned by Magnolia Farms. They came in just behind Bragg, earning their place in the ribbons with a first-round score of 83, combined with their second-round score of 84 for a total of 167.
The top five rounded out with Shannon J. Beck of San Francisco, California, and Sambuca, owned by Kaylin Faidi. Their first-round score of 81, combined with their improved second-round score of 84, earned them a total of 165, just behind Bragg’s fourth-place mount.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Week VI’s $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix proved exciting as only four points separated the top five finishers. It was Maude Frye of Woodside, California, and her own Declaration, who took home the blue. Among the top 15 who returned in the two-round classic, Frye and Declaration proved they were the team to beat with the highest scores of both rounds. They earned a first-round score of 86 and a second-round score of 87, giving them a total of 173 for the win.
Bunistar, owned and ridden by Naomi Rubin of Portula Valley, California, came in just behind Frye for second place. Rubin rode her mount to garner a first-round score of 85 and a second-round score of 86, earning a total of 171 for their efforts.
Winner of the $1,500 Platinum Performance at HITS Desert Circuit last week, Beach Drive, owned by Susan Lund and ridden by Canadian equestrian Leila Templin, placed third in the ribbons with a first-round score of 84.5 combined with a second-round score of 86 for a total of 170.5 for their efforts.
Seattle, Washington, equestrian Grace Pearson piloted Cambiaso, owned by Highland Horses, LLC, to a fourth-place finish. Their combined scores of 83, improving to an 87 in the second round gave them a total score of 170, just behind Lund and Beach Drive. Templin also garnered fifth-place and Maple Bay, owned by Ellen Brown. They finished just behind Pearson with scores of 84 and 85 for a total of 169.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.