Ocala, FL - That’s a wrap! The 2010 HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit featured two consecutive weeks of competition which saw an overall increase in entries with some exciting new events bringing together both new and familiar faces. The momentum won’t stop here. HITS is gearing up for six weeks of AA-rated shows starting Tuesday, February 9, as the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix continues.
"We spend so much time indoors that it’s nice to come down here and get the horses used to bigger land, being around others and the outdoors," said Hillary Johnson, a trainer at Meadowview Farm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. "It’s great to be around good horses and riders and see what everyone else is doing."
"The Pre-Circuit is always a lot of fun!" exclaimed Jaclyn Pavlos, a rider from Savannah, Georgia. "I like the relaxed atmosphere but it still has the same excitement of horse showing before the regular circuit."
Callan Solem is on the red carpet as she makes her way to the Grand Prix ring this winter season. Winning back-to-back $25,000 HITS Grand Prix classes, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, expect to see her in the winner’s circle for upcoming events as she works her way toward qualifying for the Pfizer Million. The Grand Prix season in Ocala will feature some of the top high-performance riders this year, as 12 more qualifiers for the Pfizer Million are scheduled and prize money reaches $100,000 on Sunday, March 21, with the DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group.
Marshall & Sterling member riders were in full force this Pre-Circuit! Winning the coveted $20,500 four-legged Child/Adult Jumper Championship was Isaac Leffkowitz riding Alpha Pappa Tango, while Amanda Foard won the $500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Hunter Classic back-to-back each Sunday riding Julian.
Devoucoux Derby Dazzles!
Easily one of the most talked about events of the Pre-Circuit was the new $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby. The 3’3” two-round event is one of the newest divisions to count for points in the Marshall & Sterling League and was the platform for rising stars Kristen VanDerveen and Samantha Smith, both inaugural Devoucoux Hunter Derby winners. This class will continue to be a main event each Sunday when the stakes grow to $10,000 of prize money on the line during the rated circuit.
For a complete list of results from the HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit, please visit the Results Page of the HITS website.
Time To Party!
HITS exhibitors took a break to gather after an exciting day of show jumping on Friday at The Sanctuary, located at 5590 NW Highway 225 and Highway 27, for food, fun and a tour of the premier facility in Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.
“It’s a beautiful place, and they do so much for the horses here,” said Jodi Czaplick, an exhibitor who was joined by her family. “This is the perfect place to be, especially if your horse is injured and needs treatment. It’s really convenient.”
Familiar faces wined and dined as the crew at The Sanctuary showed horse lovers the new and exciting capabilities that the facility has to offer. In the middle of the room sat the Cold Saltwater Hydrotherapy machine which uses saltwater to treat soft tissue injuries, arthritis, skin disorders, joint inflammation, as well as prevent further injuries.
The six week AA-rated circuit at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida begins Tuesday, February 9 with the Ocala Winter Classic. The highlight of the first week will be the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby, a $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Thursday, and the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health on Sunday. All Grand Prix events at HITS Ocala are Qualifiers for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, which will take place on September 12 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. Also, during the first rated week there will be an invite-only sponsor reception at the Hilton Ocala’s Arthur’s on Thursday, February 11, as well as a special VIP catered lunch by Pi on Broadway on Sunday, February 14 in the VIP tent.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit our website at HitsShows.com.
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 will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12. For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.