Ocala, FL: The weekend started off right for hunter exhibitors in Week IV of the Ocala Winter Circuit with Saturday’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix, with a bigger prize purse of $10,000, and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix.
$10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Aaron Vale has been on fire in the Ocala Horse Properties Grand Prix Stadium, and on Saturday, he returned to claim the throne in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, a qualifying opportunity for the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix at the HITS Championship in September 2016. The Texas native, aboard Dress Balou, owned by Donald Stewart, rocked the class with a first-round score of 88 and a second-round score of 93 to take home the title with a total of 181, proving they are ready defend their crown as two-time champions in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final.
Behind Vale was Week III’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix winner Daniel Geitner of Aiken, South Carolina riding Sky Pilot, owned by Allison Mills. They turned out the highest score in the first round with a 91, combined with an 84 in the second, totaling 175 for second-place.
Third went to Bedminster, New Jersey, equestrian Amanda Steege aboard Calvary, owned by Jessica Tindley. They earned scores of 81 and 88, respectively for a total of 169. The effort marked Steege’s second time placing in the top three after garnering second place in Ocala Week III’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.
Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and Caramo, owned by Caroline Russel Howe, came in fourth-place. Rounding out the top five was Cassandra Kahle and Redfield Farm’s Chicago.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Ocala’s fourth qualifying opportunity for the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final at the HITS Championship in September 2016, got underway on Saturday.
The team to beat was Acido 7 and rider and owner Elizabeth Bailey, of Roanoke, Virginia, as they garnered the highest scoring trip of both rounds. They earned a first-round score of 85, improving to a second-round score of 87 for a total of 172 for the coveted, blue ribbon.
Boston equestrian, Corinne Milbury, and Parker, owned by Saddle Ridge LLC, came in behind Bailey with a first-round score of 78.5, making a comeback with a second-round score of 82, earning second-place with a total of 162.5.
Third-place was awarded to Reveille Z, owned and ridden by Sydney DeGrazia from Rochester, New York. A score of 79 in the first round combined with an 80 in the second, gave them a total of 159. Fourth-place went to St. Petersburg, Florida, equestrian Emma Witham and Zenith UHS, owned by 2VR Showjumpers. Elizabeth Traband of Round Hill, Virginia, and her mount, Huh, claimed fifth.
Hunter exhibitors have plenty of excitement ahead in the coming weeks of the Ocala Winter Circuit. The biggest hunter week of the Winter, Week VI, will feature a plethora of exclusive events: the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the World Championship Hunter Rider Week and the debut of the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) Zone 4 Handy Hunter Classic to the Ocala Masters (Week VI).
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.