Thermal, California: John Bragg and Laura Strasburg's Social Hour took top prize once more in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Saturday afternoon at HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.
Second-place winner Jenny Karazissis, riding Sierrah Gonzalez’s Norwegian Wood, bested Bragg in the first round with a score of 87 to Bragg's 86, but Bragg trumped Karazissis in Round 2 with an 88 to her 85, to take the blue ribbon and secure his third first place Devoucoux Hunter Prix win this year.
Bragg, who took a total of three out of the top six places Saturday, including fifth on London, owned by Cindy Fox, and sixth on Lukatoni owned by Pamela Moellenhoff had also won weeks one and two of this season’s HITS Desert Circuit on Strasburg’s Social hour. Karazissis, on Endeavor, owned by Linda Gatti Sears, also took seventh place in this Saturday’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix.
“The course was great – long bending lines,” said Bragg, after riding over to claim his ribbon. Still atop Social Hour, with Strasburg nearby, he added, “They set it up just right, so we kind of galloped. It was nice open course.”
When asked about his repeat wins, Bragg added, “I have some very nice horses this year; I'm very lucky. This horse has won four [HITS Devoucoux Hunter Prix], the first one in November at the National Sunshine Series Week II, and three of the four here, too.” Strasburg just bought the 17 hand 8-year-old chestnut gelding in November. “He literally just showed up at the horse show in November. He's gotten better and better each week,” Bragg said.
Karazissis said Bragg’s been tough to beat, but she’s proud of the horses she rode. “I had three in the [Saturday’s Devoucoux] class; two made it back to the second round. The other one I ended up seventh. This is his [Endeavor’s] first Hunter Prix. He's just doing the 3' 3" pre-greens starting this year,” she said. “I was very proud of the way he handed it.
“Norwegian Wood is very brave, and I didn't expect him to care at all. This is his second derby; he was fourth last time so it's nice that he moved up a little bit and got second this time, but John has been pretty impossible to beat. He beat me in November; I was second to him. And then I've been second to him Week II, and fourth last time. He's been really tough to beat.”
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix (DC IV)
Place Horse Owner Rider Prize Rd. 1/2 Total
1 Social Hour Laura Strasburg John Bragg $1,500 86/88 174
2 Norwegian Wood Sierrah Gonzalez Jenny Karazissis $1,000 87/85 172
3 Rococco Avery Hellman Eleanor Hellman $700 84/84 168
4 Frido Megan Carmaisa Tanya Levorchick $500 80/85.5 165.5
5 London Cindy Fox John Bragg $400 83-82 165
6 Lukatoni Pamela Moellenhoff John Bragg $350 78.5/86 164.5
7 Endeavor Linda Gatti Sears Jenny Karazissis $300 82/81 163
8 Corduroy Kings Wood Farm LLC Gretchen Lof $250 81/81/5 162.5