Ocala, FL (January 31, 2011) - The HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit came to an end on Sunday with another beautiful day in the sun, as top riders took home the victories in the two feature classes of the day. Grand Prix superstar Tracy Magness and Hunter veteran Betty Oare walked away with the top honors to close out the highly-successful Pre-Circuit at HITS Post Time Farm as now all eyes turn to the six-week, AA-rated circuit which begins on February 8.
Maryland's Tracy Magness and her longtime sport partner Tarco Van Ter Moude, owned by Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko, won the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, as they once again embark on the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix.
"This was a great course for the Pre-Circuit," commented Magness, who found her way back to the winner's circle early. "It's just the beginning of the season and the horses are getting back into the swing of things. I thought it was inviting and fair enough to set the pace for the winter."
Magness was one of 34 horse-and-rider combinations to take the field and navigate the course designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida which saw an outstanding 13 jump-off rounds. The talented pool of riders had a series of challenges to overcome on Russell's track, which included 13 efforts that featured a double and triple combination, all within a tight time of 83 seconds that left no room for mistakes.
James Gillam of North Hatley, Quebec, Canada and Maggie Gallagher's Chanel were the first on course and set the pace with a clear effort. Three rounds later it was young star David Tromp and Beyaert Farm's Vienna with the clear ride to force the jump-off. Tromp steered two mounts to the jump-off as he later posted a clear round on Bayaert Farm's Renoir du Buisson. The talented rider had an impressive season last year at HITS Saugerties which saw him show in the prestigious Pfizer Million. Tromp is back on the fast-track to qualify, once again, for this epic event with two Grand Prix already under his belt.
Fellow young competitor Billie Derouet of Bromont, Quebec, Canada and her own Sweet Dreams found their way to the jump-off for the first time this season and looked to challenge for the blue ribbon as the crowd cheered. A mixed bag of veterans began to fuel the excitement as several HITS regulars Kirk Webby of Whitehouse, New Jersey and Tolleshunt Horse Farm's La Rocco Jun; Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois and Woodrun's Uppsala; Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude; Roberto Teran of King City, Ontario, Canada and King Ridge Stables' Grande Finale 3E; and Patty Stovel of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania and her own Carigor Z all put out impressive performances to rival the youngsters. Despite the overwhelming presence in the jump-off, many riders fell victim to the obstacles on the course, including nine pairs failing to overcome the triple combination. Scattered rails throughout the course also proved that each line posed a threat.
The first five rounds in the jump-off saw rails fall across the field as in the first round, until third-place finishers Webby and La Rocco Jun set the Great American Time to Beat at 34.186 seconds with the first double-clear round of the afternoon. Three trips later, Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude took the lead with a double-clear effort of their own in 33.704 seconds.
Tynan and Cartier Van Schuttershof were second-to-last to show and posted a double-clear effort in 33.953 seconds, which would be good enough for the red ribbon.
Stovel and her longtime partner Carigor Z were the last to show and had the fastest round in a nail-biting 32.423 seconds; however, the last rail down saw a heartbreaking finale to a great outing, giving Magness another Grand Prix win on her resume.
"Tarco [Van Ter Moude] and I have been showing together a really long time," said Magness. "We've had a great start with a win in the Brook Ledge Open Welcome the first week, and then today's Grand Prix. I'm hoping we stay healthy and continue to have another great season here."
Rounding out the top five in the class were Granato and Mad Season in fourth and Teran aboard Grand Finale 3E in fifth.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Wednesday's $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome saw 21 High-Performance riders looking to start off the week with a big win in the 1.40 meter class. Doug Russell's course was a prelude to Sunday's Grand Prix, as Paul Halpern and Roman K, owned by CompetitiveJumpers.com, entered the ring first and ultimately walked away the winners. Second place went to Denise Wilson and Corsavita, owned by Blue Gate Farm, LLC. Rounding out the top three were Pfizer Million alumni Derek Petersen and his own Eli.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
$2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Capone, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare, took home the win in the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix for the second week in a row, this time with Betty Oare herself in the irons. Oare, of Warrenton, Virginia was ecstatic over the win as her new horse has proven to be nothing less than spectacular in the short three weeks in which she has owned him.
$2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
The team of Oare and Capone had a first-round score of 80 to lead them to the second round.
"Capone won last week with Kelley [Farmer] and she really got things started for us this season," beamed Oare. "I really, truly enjoyed showing today in this class. It was a real nice course that was so inviting. It made you think and ride smart."
Oare and Capone were one of 18 to take the field on a course designed by Doug Russell. The first round saw an array of talented horse-and-rider pairs eager to get the winter started with a good performance. Sarah Lane, who won a $5,000 Devoucoux class last year at HITS Culpeper, returned with a first round score of 78 aboard Kenya, owned by Shoal Creek Stables, LTD. Shachine Belle and Melissa Smith's Ksenyio scored a 75 to return to the second round. Belle's student, Katie Tyler, and her own Galliard, hunted their way to a first-round score of 81. Ashton Belcher and Amanda Bartling's One Way Ticket scored an 82, and last week's second-place winners Cathy Inch aboard Katriina Routsalo's Rainier, scored an 83. The top first round scores proved that the second round would be a close battle for any pair to win.
Oare's second-round score of 82.5 for a total of 162.5 points was enough to take the lead and gave the pair their first win together this season at HITS Ocala.
"This horse has been such a pleasure to ride," said Oare who plans to showcase him in the Amateur-Owner Hunters. "The course rode very smooth and flowing and he does everything I ask him too."
Second place was awarded to Shachine Belle and Ksenyio with a total of 162 points and third place went to Sarah Lane and Kenya with a total of 161 points. Rounding out the top five were Ashton Belcher and One Way Ticket with 160.5 points, and Laura Linback aboard Ariano with a total of 160 points.
The Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final has everyone buzzing, especially Oare. "The HITS team has done such a great job with everything as usual," she said. "I'm really excited about this Hunter Final and I plan on showing here and in Culpeper in order to qualify."
The all-new Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final is another innovative offering from HITS that has equestrians from around the country eager to earn their spot in this historic event, which takes place the same weekend as the Pfizer Million in Saugerties, New York. For more information on the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, including complete qualifying specifications, please click here.
Up Next - HITS Ocala Rated Circuit
The AA-rated HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is set to kick-off on Tuesday, February 8 with the Ocala Winter Classic. Six consecutive weeks of competition will see some of the most exciting show jumping today as top riders make plans to qualify for the second annual Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and the first ever Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. Both events will take place September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
For more information on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, or to request a prize list, please visit HitsShows.com or call 845.246.8833.
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to this year's phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final. The Devoucoux Hunter Prix will be a featured event at all HITS horse shows this season as riders from around the country set out to qualify for the historic Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10 -11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Tarco Van Ter Moude Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko Tracy Magness $7,500 0 0 33.704
2 Cartier Van Schuttershof Emily Skoggard Willie Tynan $5,500 0 0 33.953
3 La Rocco Jun Tolleshunt Horse Farm Kirk Webby $3,250 0 0 34.186
4 Mad Season Alex Granato Alex Granato $2,000 0 4 32.369
5 Grande Finale 3E King Ridge Stables Roberto Teran $1,500 0 4 32.415
6 Carigor Z Patty Stovel Patty Stovel $1,250 0 4 32.423
7 Uppsala Woodrun Laura Linback $1,000 0 4 33.285
8 Chanel Maggie Gallagher James Gillam $750 0 4 35.734
9 Alley Oop Hays Investment Corp. Brandie Holloway $750 0 4 38.246
10 Sweet Dreams Billie Derouet Billie Derouet $500 0 4 38.423
11 Renoir du Buisson Beyaert Farm Inc. David Tromp $500 0 8 33.381
12 Vienna Beyaert Farm Inc. David Tromp $500 0 8 34.267
$2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY
1 Capone Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare Betty Oare $750
2 Ksenyio Melissa Smith Shachine Belle $500
3 Kenya Shoal Creek Stables, LTD. Sarah Lane $350
4 One Way Ticket Amanda Bartling Ashton Belcher $250
5 Ariano Woodrun Laura Linback $200
6 Galliard Katie Smith Katie Smith $175
7 Rainier Katriina Ruotsalo Cathy Inch $150
8 Yours Truly Robin Terry Raphael Richard Matthews $125
Photos: Tracy Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
HITS Account Executive Corporate Sponsorship Lisa Engel presented the ribbon and a cooler courtesy of Shires to Tracy Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
Paul Halpern and Roman K in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. © ESI Photography.
Betty Oare and Capone in the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. © ESI Photography.
HITS Account Executive Corporate Sponsorship Lisa Engel presented the ribbon and a cooler courtesy of Judy's Tack Shop to Betty Oare and Capone in the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. © ESI Photography.