CULPEPER, VA – Harold Chopping and Caramo got a sweet taste of high-stakes hunter competition in last year’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, where they finished 12th overall. The pair plans to return in 2014, ready to take a larger bite of the prize, and got off to an ideal start with Caroline Russell Howe’s Danish Warmblood Gelding, winning HITS Culpeper's $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix this weekend.
Consistent, willing, poetic even – Caramo carried Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina to top scores in both rounds of the Hunter Prix, stealing the spotlight. An avid crowd gathered in plush seating in the newly installed Marshall & Sterling Lounge at the main hunter ring, and watched as Chopping pocketed an 83 in the first round. This set him up to return last in the second, where they scored an 85, giving the pair a total of 168 and the unchallenged win.
“At this point I feel lucky to have such a nice horse to ride - he couldn’t have been better today,” said Chopping. “Caramo is the best hunter I’ve ever ridden.”
Despite being Chopping’s go-to hunter, he admits that made hunters don’t develop overnight. “Caramo is 12 this year and proof that it takes time to build these horses up,” he added. “You always hope your 7, 8 and 9-year olds are going to get it right, but when you see what an experienced horse can do consistently at every venue, it’s clear that it takes some work—and mileage.”
After dominating the Devoucoux Hunter Prix during the Commonwealth National in April, Jason Berry of Verona, Virginia piloted France Porter’s Limited Edition to second with scores of 80 and 82. Jonelle Mullen of Aldie, Virginia jumped to third aboard Heartthrob for Joseph Mullen with a 76 and 79.
Winn Alden of Bristow, Virginia collected a 78 and 74.5 in the irons of Chad Keenum’s Playmate for fourth while Grace Long rounded out the top five on DLV Valentine for Badger Hill Farm, LLC with a 73 and 76.
The abundance of recent grounds improvements at Commonwealth Park have been received with praise and appreciation. In addition to new barns, new footing has been installed, and the efforts of Tom Struzzieri and the HITS staff, according to Chopping, are welcome. “The new footing, updated facility and HITS’ series— just get better and better,” he said. “It was a really nice move for the facility, and a pleasure to show and win here today.”
- Caramo, Caroline Russell Howe, Harold Chopping
- Limited Edition, Frances Porter, Jason Berry
- Heartthrob, Joseph Mullen, Jonelle Mullen
- Playmate, Chad Keenum, Winn Alden
- DLV Valentine, Badger Hill Farm, LLC, Grace Long
- Silver Lining, Bridget Finnerty, Bridget Finnerty
- Daddy's Bentley, Lauren Boldt, Lauren Boldt
- Suit and Tie, Hillary Gerhardt, Jason Berry
- Glad Rags, Amy Zettler, Amy Zettler
- Diablo DLS, Cady Klimas, Cady Klimas
- Make it Rain, Ed Lane, Ana Bertozzi
- Zowie, Jackie Arakelian, Patty Stovel
Dudley Mac Farlane of Darien, Connecticut has set her sights on the Platinum Performance $250,000 Hunter Prix Final highlighting competition at the HITS Championship in September. McFarlane is quickly turning her dream into a reality, as she and her own All Carolina jumped to a win Saturday’s Platinum Performance qualifier with scores of 81 and 74 for a 155 total and blue ribbon.
Jumping first in the class, Mac Farlane didn’t let “first-to-go” nerves get the best of her and was quick to post the top score of the round.
She would not go uncontested, however, as Brooke Cole of Rockville, Virginia and her two mounts were also chasing the top spot. Under the direction of trainer Winn Alden, Cole and her own Poetic Justice produced a 75 and 79.5 to finish a half point off the lead.
With a single point separating the top three spots, Cole was also third in the irons of her own Markelo with a 72 and 82. Elizabeth Wiley of The Plains, Virginia ended fourth aboard her own Say Again while Mac Farlane pulled out another top finish and jumped her own Roland Park to fifth after scores of 70 and 72.
- All Carolina, Dudley Mac Farlane, Dudley Mac Farlane
- Poetic Justice, Brooke Cole, Brooke Cole
- Markelo, Brooke Cole, Brooke Cole
- Say Again, Elizabeth Wiley, Elizabeth Wiley
- Roland Park, Dudley Mac Farlane, Dudley Mac Farlane
- Sandro Reuben, Franny Selhaver-Ramos, Franny Selhaver-Ramos
- Crescendo, Elizabeth Wiley, Elizabeth Wiley
- Hyplast De Neige, Silver Springs Farm, Kristiina Claffee