OCALA, FL (January 24, 2011)—
The Ocala January Classic came to an end on Sunday and was highlighted by the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, the first qualifiers of 2011 for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and the Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, respectively.
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
Andres Rodriguez of Boca Raton, Florida, and Andres Olivares' Davinci took home the victory in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The class saw 33 starters take the field on a course designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida, that produced six clear rounds for the jump-off.
The first clear round of the class came early, when Paul Halpern of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Amanda Weaver's Sevastian K, second in the order, jumped clean. Two trips later, eventual winner Rodriguez and Davinci forced a jump-off with a clear effort of their own. The next 20 trips saw team after team fail to overcome the course with rails down across the field.
Four more would eventually go clean, including Brook Ledge Open Welcome winners Tracy Magness of Maryland and Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko's Tarco Van Ter Moude; Kirk Webby of Whitehouse, New Jersey and Tolleshunt Horse Farm's La Rocco Jun; Rodriguez and his second mount, Olivares' Secret; and David Tromp of North Salem, New York aboard Renoir du Buisson, owned by Beyaert Farm Inc.
First to show in the jump-off was Halpern and Sevastian K, who ended with 12 jumping faults and 15 on the clock, for a total of 27 faults. Rodriguez and Davinci were next and jumped clear, setting the Great American Time to Beat at 51.061 seconds, a time which would go unrivaled.
Magness and Tarco Van Ter Moude looked for their second win of the week and came within a fraction of a second. A clear round in 51.889 seconds would eventually place the team third.
Webby aboard La Rocco Jun and Rodriguez aboard his second mount Secret, both ended with faults on the field. Tromp, looking for his first Grand Prix win ever in Ocala, made a great effort aboard Renoir du Buisson, with a clear round and a time of 51.322 seconds, just tenths off the winning time. His valiant effort placed him second.
Rodriguez, training with fellow Grand Prix rider Sergio Campos of Ocala, Florida, will have a tremendous amount of momentum heading into next weeks competition.
"Andres is a very talented young rider who will be showing here in Ocala more often to try and qualify for the Pfizer Million," Campos said. "The course was a bit technical, but a very nice, inviting first Grand Prix back for the season. And the footing was great."
Rounding out the top-five finishers in the class were Webby and La Rocco Jun in fourth place and Rodriquez and Secret in fifth place.
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
Devoucoux Hunter Prix
The $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix rounded out the exciting return of show jumping at HITS Post Time Farm. The first qualifier for the unprecedented Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York, saw 22 horse-and-riders go on the hunt.
Taking home the victory with scores of 83 and 84 for a total of 167 points was an ecstatic Kelley Farmer of Keswick, Virginia, who showed new mount Capone, an entry owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Oare.
"This is a new horse for Betty [Oare]," said Farmer. "He's been great so far. We're so proud of what he's been able to do in just the two weeks we've had him."
Farmer was one of 22 starters on the field designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida. The horse-and-rider team earned the top score in both rounds to take home the win.
"It was a nice course, there were no traps or surprises, it flowed very nicely and a lot of the horses today jumped good," she commented. "I think a class like this where the Final is a $500,000 event is a great addition to the horse show and is always going to be one of the best classes to show in."
Farmer will be returning to HITS Ocala throughout the season to try and qualify for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.
Second place was awarded to Cathy Inch of Chelmsford, Ontario, Canada and Katriina Ruotsalo's Rainier, while Ocala's own Megan Edrick rode Don Stewart's War Eagle to a third-place ribbon.
"He's a very versatile horse [Rainier]," said Inch of her mount. "He always steps up and rises to the occasion."
The all-new Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final is another innovative offering from HITS that has equestrians from around the country eager to earn their spot in this historic event, which takes place the same weekend as the Pfizer Million in Saugerties, New York. For more information on the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, including complete qualifying specifications, please click here.
The $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix will return next Sunday at the Ocala January Festival, for the conclusion of the HITS Ocala Pre-Circuit.
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to this year's phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final. The Devoucoux Hunter Prix will be a featured event at all HITS horse shows this season as riders from around the country set out to qualify for the historic Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
$2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
For more information on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, or to request a prize list, please visit www.HitsShows.com or call 845.246.8833.
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 took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10 -11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.