Straight from the Hart! Junior Rider Kelsey Hart Wins the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby

Saugerties, NY - Junior rider Kelsey Hart would have been happy with a second-place finish in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Saturday afternoon at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

However, when she posted a second-round score of 87 to take the overall lead scoring the improbable victory became a reality. Hart, a senior at the Albany Academies, was so surprised by her victory because she beat out one of her trainers, Amy Momrow, to win the class.

Momrow and Deborah Brenner’s Star Quest Serenade were in the driver’s seat after scoring an 87 in the first round, while Hart and her horse Agostino were in fourth place after the first round. "I was expecting Amy to win," said Hart. "I would have been happy with second place, but I am thrilled to come out the winner."

When the class was over Momrow and her ride would finish in seventh place. "In the first round I was a little conservative," said Hart. "My plan in the second round was to come out with more pace and fire off the ground. The judge seemed to be impressed with my hand gallop. That seemed to put me over the edge."

Taking second place in the popular class that featured 27 starters on a course set by Rian Beals was Kristen Newton riding Sara Crispino's Time After Time. Third place was awarded to Johanna Hyppa, who rode Banner Farm's Larry to the yellow ribbon. Rounding out the top five was Steal the Show , ridden by Jenny Fisher and Eysium, ridden by Danielle Franchi, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Hart trains at Albany, New York’s Stepping Stone Farm and the triumph in the Devoucoux Derby was icing on the cake for the opening week of the HITS spring show series. Under the watchful eye of trainer Monty Kelly, the barn collected numerous weekly championships at HITS-on-the-Hudson I, including titles in the Regular Working Hunters and First Year Green Hunters by Star Quest Serenade, piloted by Momrow.

“It was a great week for us at HITS,” said Kelly, who has 31 horses at HITS Saugerties. “This is one of our favorite places because the schedule is so diverse and it allows us to bring almost our entire barn.”

This spring and summer the all-new Devoucoux Hunter Derby is a featured event at both HITS Saugerties and HITS Culpeper, and represents the 13th division to count for points in the Marshall & Sterling League. The Devoucoux Derby Finals will be offered at the 2010 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals on September 15-19 in Saugerties, New York.

Show Jumping at HITS Saugerties continues this week with HITS-on-the-Hudson II and features another installment of the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby, as well as two more qualifiers for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson on Sunday, September 12.  

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

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

Saturday's $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby
1 Agostino Kelsey Hart Kelsey Hart  $3,000
2 Time After Time  Sara Crispino  Kristen Newton  $2,000
3 Larry Banner Farm  Johanna Hyyppa  $1,400
4 Steal the Show  Hillcrest Farm  Jenny Fischer  $1,000
5 Elysium Danielle Franchi Danielle Franchi $800
6 Star Quest's Serenade Deborah Brenner  Amy Momrow $700
7 Claudio Volo Farm, Inc.  Hannah Lavin  $600
8 Reubin Himself Susan Banta Lowery  David Wilbur  $500

Photos: Kelsey Hart and Agostino in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby. © ESI Photography.
Kelsey Hart is congratulated after capturing the top prize in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby. © ESI Photography.