HITS Ocala Circuit in Review

Saturday, March 24, 2012
Posted by HITS ENews


Ocala, FL - March 23, 2012 - The 2012 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit was one of the most exciting seasons ever at HITS Post Time Farm with outstanding weather and nine weeks of non-stop hunter/jumper competition. All season long, riders from every level showcased their talents as the road to HITS Championship Weekend, scheduled for September 7-9 at HITS-on-the-Hudson, made its annual stop in Ocala, Florida.

$100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group
After seven consecutive weeks of rated show jumping, High-Performance riders were well primed for the HITS Ocala season finale – the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group. Judging by the crowds that gathered and the challenges presented within the ring, Sunday’s Grand Prix was the most exciting class of the season.

Forty-one competitors attempted to pocket serious prize money and valuable qualifying positions for the 2012 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. International Course Designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico set the toughest track of the season as Aaron Vale of Morriston, Florida and Karen Cudmore of Omaha, Nebraska went head-to-head in the jump-off.

Cudmore prevailed as she and Blair Cudmore’s Shea captured first place after a four fault jump-off round in 52.13 seconds. Vale and Honeylands Douglason, owned by Doug’s Crew, dropped two rails in the jump-off in 48.65 seconds to finish in second.

HITS Ocala delighted equestrian enthusiasts from around the world via a live webcast of the day’s events. Courtesy of HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, and A Good Show, the Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix went viral. Expert commentating was provided during the event by HRTV Host Caton Bredar, with special play-by-play by Mike Moran and Dennis Mitchell. The webcast is available on-demand and can be viewed by clicking here.

To view complete results from the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, click here.

Pfizer Million Rankings

After one of the most dominant seasons ever at HITS Ocala by any rider, Tracy Fenney leads the way in the 2012 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix Rider Rankings with her mount MTM Centano. Fenney earned $84,500 this season with MTM Centano and leads the pack of riders coast-to-coast who have the Pfizer Million on their agenda.

HITS Thermal’s Chris Pratt and Cruise follow in second place with $72,800 and Francie Steinwedell-Carvin with Taunus are in third with $60,955.

$10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

Kate Conover of Ocala, Florida and Redfield’s Peron finished the season strong with a win in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, which marked their second victory together this season. The third place finalist at the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix last September, Conover again has her sights set on the class for this year.

Second place was awarded to the winner of the inaugural Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, Samantha Schaefer and John Skinner’s Wonderland, while fellow finalist Jane Gaston and her own Lumiere finished in third. Maryland native Mary Lisa Leffler and Rolling Acres’ Gerona 92 finished with another ribbon in fourth place to add more points to their standings. Leffler, who also pinned at the inaugural Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, currently leads the way in the preliminary Devoucoux Rider Rankings and surely has September 8-9 circled on her calendar.

Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Standings
HITS Ocala’s Mary Lisa Leffler and Gerona 92 lead the way in the standings for the 2012 Diamond Mills $500,000 3’3 Hunter Prix Final.  Once a Grand Prix team, the duo now excels in the hunters as they plan to make stops at HITS Culpeper and eventually HITS-on-the-Hudson for the greatest show jumping weekend of all time.

HITS Thermal’s Joie Gatlin and Nick Haness follow closely in second and third place and this September will undoubtedly make the trip across the country for the chance of a lifetime. To view the full preliminary rider rankings please click here.

R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship

If capturing his first Grand Prix victory this season apparently wasn’t enough, sixteen year old Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey repeated history last Saturday when he won the R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship for the second year in a row at HITS Ocala.

“This is a fun class to do because of how it’s set up,” said Hughes. “It’s really challenging, but it’s definitely good for improving your riding. We all help each other out in this class and it’s good when you can compete and have fun with your friends in a class like this.”

A unique class, the R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship is designed to challenge riders with an array of tests, which include gymnastics lines and flying lead changes, all without help or assistance from their trainers. A panel of judges, as well as a schooling area committee, award a total score to each competitor based on their performance during two rounds of competition. The top riders who returned for the second round to join Hughes included Hasbrouck Donovan of Gainesville, Florida, Hunter Holloway of Topeka, Kansas and Alexandra Carlton of Madison, Connecticut. 

Hughes finished ahead of the pack, while Holloway placed second, Donovan third and Carlton fourth. The top four riders have displayed their talents all season long with outings in various classes, including the Grand Prix, Junior Hunters and Junior Jumpers.

$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Team Barber Child/Adult Jumper Classic

Sunday’s Grand Prix wasn’t the only big event of the day in the Grand Prix field – the $25,000 Marshall & Sterling Team Barber Child/Adult Jumper Classic kicked-off a picture-perfect day with 78 competitors prepped to compete.

Katherine Edgell of Flanders, New Jersey and her own Miss Kitty captured the first place ribbon. Edgell and Miss Kitty have had great success together for many years at HITS Ocala, Culpeper and HITS-on-the-Hudson. In 2010, Edgell and Miss Kitty won the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic night class at HITS Ocala. Each year, they make their way to the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals in Saugerties, New York in hopes of capturing the national title and consistently finish within the top ribbons.

“She’s amazing - a once in a lifetime partner,” said Edgell of her beloved mare. “I gave her an opportunity to shine and she owned it. She navigated the first round flawlessly and I knew she was in the zone and that the jump-off could be ours.  I executed the turns just how Emil [Spadone] and I planned and we got it done. Every win we have together is special but there was no better way to end the circuit than to win the biggest class on the final day.”

Edgell’s excitement for Miss Kitty was not only for her win, but potentially bigger news. “We are in the process of breeding her and hopefully she is already pregnant.” If Miss Kitty’s career is any indication of her breeding potential, someday her foal will undoubtedly find its way to the ribbons.

Second place was awarded to Charlene Graham of Fairport, New York aboard her own Capricette. Graham had an amazing season, starting with being crowned the overall champion of the $20,500 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship at the HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit. Third place was awarded to another member of the Redfield Farm in Califon, New Jersey, Olivia Dorey and Redfield’s Wynand. Rounding out the top five was Abbey Slaven and Wilander¸owned by DC Sales & Entertainment, LLC, in fourth place, and Reily Rieker with Jack Towell’s Iago Du Quesnoy in fifth.

Photos: One of only two riders in the jump-off, Karen Cudmore sails to a win aboard Blair Cudmore’s Shea in Sunday’s $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group; Tracy Fenney picked up her seventh HITS Ocala Grand Prix win on MTM Timon in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during the Ocala Winter Celebration; Kate Conover and Peron on course in Sunday's $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala;  Michael Hughes partners up with Terrapin Hill Farm, LLC's El Campeon's Danish to win the R.W. Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship at HITS Ocala; Katherine Edgell of Flanders, New Jersey and her own Miss Kitty captured the first place ribbon in the 2012 $25,000 Marshall & Sterling Team Barber Child/Adult Jumper Classic at HITS Ocala; All photos ©ESI Photography