HITS Ocala Week II Wrap-Up
RELEASE: February 25, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the HITS Media Team
The second week of show jumping at HITS Ocala wrapped on Sunday with warm weather and exciting action, proving that the "Horse Capital of the World" is also the "Land of Opportunity," as the Grand Prix Arena saw some new faces emerge in the winner’s circle.
In Thursday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Lacy Morrone-Cramer from Pittstown, NJ, earned her first grand prix win of the season riding Ulysses Van De Krekebeke, owned by Equi Sport, LLC. The duo bested 36 pairs and, according to Morrone-Cramer, it was all thanks to a last second decision. “From the triple bar to the triple combination everyone was jumping the line in the eight,” explained Morrone-Cramer. “When I was out there it was a last second decision, but I decided to jump it in the seven and it worked!”
Sunday’s $50,000 Charles Owen Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, marked the first-time victory for grand prix newcomer Full A’s, shown by Matthais Hollberg of Apex, NC. Owned by APEX Equestrian Center, it was only the fifth grand prix the horse had ever competed in. “He’s won a few ribbons, but this was the first time he’s ever jumped clean in a grand prix, let alone win,” exclaimed a very happy Hollberg after the class.
Finishing alongside Hollberg in the top three were Hugh Graham on Executive Privilege 3E and Kristen VanderVeen on Bull Run’s La Bamba.Back-to-Back Wins for Bumpus in the Devoucoux Hunter Derby
Kristen Bumpus continued to shine at HITS Ocala, as she won the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby for the second week in a row on Inspired, owned by Hannah Curran. Bumpus is currently battling an injury to her Achilles tendon, but she hasn’t let that slow her down. With back-to-back wins in the popular new Derby, she’s the one to beat and plans to keep going for the blue this season in Ocala.
Hot on her heels is youngster Chase Boggio, who finished second behind Bumpus for the past two weeks. This time around he was just 0.75 points away from matching Bumpus aboard his own mount, Graphiq. David Connors locked in third place aboard Nadia with 167 points.
Each passing week the Devoucoux Hunter Derby continues to grow in popularity and numbers. Sunday’s class drew large crowds of spectators to watch 50 of the top hunters on the East Coast take aim at this unique class. The Devoucoux Hunter Derby counts for points in the Marshall & Sterling League and will be offered as a division at the National Finals in September. $10,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High Classic
New Jersey’s Michael Hughes and Twister, owned by Drumnacross Farm, seemed to have an enjoyable week at HITS Ocala. The pair took first place in Sunday’s $10,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High Classic, and earlier in the week, they won the $1,000 Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High.
The U-Dump Jumper Classic is another weekly fixture on the HITS Ocala schedule this season, providing Junior and Amateur riders some fabulous prize money and a spotlight in the Grand Prix ring on Sunday mornings. Pfizer Million Rankings
The most talked about event in the equine industry, the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, which will take place on September 12 at HITS-on-the-Hudson, continues to peak interest with each passing week. High-performance riders from coast-to-coast are competing at HITS events to qualify for this mega event, which is shaping up to be the "Super Bowl" of Grand Prix classes. Five of the top 10 riders in the preliminary Pfizer Million Standings are competing at HITS Ocala. New Jersey’s Callan Solem has five grand prix classes in the bag so far and $22,000 in prize money aboard Quiet Winter Farm’s Allison. Solem still needs to compete in three more grand prix events to reach a total of eight, the minimum to qualify for the event. Other Ocala riders showing up in the top 10 are Tracy Fenney, Hugh Graham, Kent Farrington and now, Matthais Hollberg. HITS Ocala will host eight more qualifiers for the Pfizer Million, including the big ticket $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, on Sunday, March 21, as the road to the Pfizer Million continues.Catena Leading Rider Race
Solem and Allison are also sitting at the top of the 2010 Catena Leading Rider Standings, with 48 points. The top-ranked grand prix rider on the 2010 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will receive a beautiful Catena diamond-face watch at the conclusion of the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, on Sunday, March 21.Special Event Schedule Shifts into High Gear
Thursday night provided an evening of elegance for HITS competitors and sponsors at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club Equine Art Gala and was a huge success. Artwork on display included the original painting by Mary Bridgeman, which was featured on the cover of the Official HITS Ocala Show Program. The artists Mindy Colton, Karen Bowden, Mary Cour Burrows, Bobbie Deuell, Andre Pater, Marsha Schloesser, Mary Verrandeaux and Joanna Zeller Quentin were all present and displayed their beautiful equine art while mingling with HITS guests, sharing the stories that inspired their work. There was a simultaneous silent auction to benefit the Humane Society of Marion County and all proceeds were donated to the no-kill shelter.
On Friday evening, the "bayou was jumping" at the HITS Mardi Gras Exhibitor Party. Harry’s Seafood, Bar and Grille came to the show grounds and served up its famous Louisiana-style cooking, while exhibitors enjoyed a night of spicy food, beads and good times.
Saturday night, the party moved to The Sanctuary, HITS Official Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center, as exhibitors enjoyed an encore open house and exhibitor party to celebrate the start of the AA-rated Circuit at HITS Ocala. “We saw a lot of new faces here," said Amy Grabe, one of the owners of the state-of-the-art facility. “The party was a huge success and it was so nice to be able to share our facility and show off our equipment to the HITS crowd.”
Sunday night Ocala Horse Properties and Ipanema held a party at Compass Gym, welcoming everyone to HITS, complete with live music, food, drink and a silent auction to benefit the Marion County Humane Society.
Monday featured the annual HITS Golf tournament, presented by Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. The winning team was Cathy Roy, Anne and Rick Thompson, followed by Cody and Allan Garray, Tom Spiegler and Jim Tenney. Brook Ledge locked in third position with Brian Roberts, Paul Sharp, Will Turner and Scott Ryan. Mona’s Monograms generously provided the awards and welcome items for all golfers. Mona’s handles all monogramming and embroidery needs on-site at HITS Post Time Farm in their beautiful new mobile unit which is located in the vendor’s area. Coming Up
The Ocala Masters (February 23–28) is the next stop on the road to the Pfizer Million and will be highlighted this week by the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the $75,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The return of the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby will take place on Sunday, as well as a full lineup of classes for the hunter, jumper and equitation divisions throughout the week.
Kicking off the HITS Ocala social calendar this week during the Ocala Masters, Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse will be hosting the Pfizer High-Performance Rider Dinner on Thursday, February 25, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This is a by invitation event, so if you’re a high-performance rider on the road to the Pfizer Million, make sure to see a show secretary for details.
Friday night, bring your talent from the show ring to center stage at the HITS Restaurant from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the HITS Ocala Star Search Exhibitor Party. Food will be provided by Pi on Broadway and drinks will be served starting at 6 p.m., while the talent competition will begin at 6:45 p.m. A select panel of judges will critique the contestants and select a winner. Besides winning fun prizes, the best performer will have the opportunity to sing the National Anthem prior to Sunday's $75,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Saturday night, the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Children/Adult Jumper Classic takes place at 6 p.m. in the Grand Prix Arena under the lights. New VIP restaurant partner Cody’s Original Roadhouse will be serving up dinner for all exhibitors under the VIP tent so everyone can enjoy the spirited competition.
This Sunday, February 28, the World of the Horse returns to HITS Ocala prior to the start of the $75,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The exhibition showcases a colorful parade of riders and riding disciplines to delight all horse lovers.
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.
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 www.HitsShows.com.