HITS Ocala Week III Wrap-Up
RELEASE: March 4, 2010
—HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, FL, wrapped up its third week of AA-rated show jumping on Sunday after an exciting series of classes and special events highlighted another fantastic week on the road to the Pfizer Million.
The week saw HITS Ocala’s 2009 Leading Grand Prix Rider Tracy Magness make her anticipated return to the winners’ circle when she captured Thursday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko’s Tarco Van Ter Moude.
"I feel like we’ve been knocking on the door for the last two weeks," said Magness, who has competed in all eight of the Grand Prix classes offered in Ocala this season and has placed in six of them. In fact, Magness is one of the first riders in the country to meet the initial requirement for qualifying for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, which takes place September 12 in Saugerties, NY. Together, she and Tarco Van Ter Moude have earned nearly $17,000 in Grand Prix prize money and are fifth in the Pfizer Million Rankings.
The temperature wasn’t the only thing that grew higher on Sunday, as prize money reached $75,000 in the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. This time it was Andre Thieme of Germany and his horse, Cesar, who took home the blue ribbon, a complimentary bucket of Strongid® C 2X, and a first-place check of $22,500.
David Jennings of Shaker Heights, OH, is another high-performance rider enjoying success at HITS Ocala this season. Like Magness, Jennings has competed in all eight Grand Prix classes and has placed in six of them on his mount Marcus Aurelius. Thanks to a second-place finish in Sunday’s $75,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, Jennings was propelled into the top three of the Pfizer Million Standings with $22,500 in prize money.
Jennings and Marcus Aurelius have been jumping together for nearly two years, and last year won at least five Grand Prix classes. The pair qualified for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix in 2009 and made it to the jump-off, ultimately finishing ninth in the class. Jennings has his sights squarely set on the Pfizer Million.
"I’m focused on qualifying for the Pfizer Million," said Jennings, who plans to give Marcus Aurelius the week off to rest up for the final two weeks of the season. "Knock on wood, this season has been great. I’ve spent most of my life in Palm Beach. Ocala is a very nice change of venue. Everything about Ocala and the HITS shows is very inviting. I’ve enjoyed the change. With the horses I have now, it’s nice to not have to be in Palm Beach and Ocala is a great alternative."
After Ocala, Jennings will head to Culpeper and look to add to his Pfizer Million purse. "We’ll probably venture up to Saugerties this summer, as well to get used to the ring and the footing," added Jennings. "I haven’t been to Saugerties in a while, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the place has developed."$10,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High Classic
Michael Hughes of New Jersey had another big week at HITS Ocala, taking home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High Classic on Pracht. This was the second week in a row that Hughes has won the event after winning last week’s competition on Twister.
The $10,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Owner Jumper High Classic continues to be one of the most popular weekly classes at HITS Ocala as it allows riders of all ages to enjoy a moment in the spotlight in the Grand Prix field.David Connors Wins His First Devoucoux Derby
After two weeks of domination in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby by Kristen Bumpus and Inspired, a new winner emerged in Sunday’s featured hunter class. Ocala native David Connors earned a score of 173 to capture the win in this week’s Devoucoux Derby aboard Carol Stillwell’s Nadia. Connors and Nadia have improved upon their performance each week in the Devoucoux Derby, as the pair finished fourth in the class two weeks ago, and third last week.
The $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby is the only class of the week that Nadia competes in. “I look forward to keep competing in this class. It’s a really great event,” said Connors.$15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic
Saturday night, the Grand Prix arena was buzzing with excitement as hundreds of fans filled the stands and the VIP tent, cheering loudly as 67 horse-and-rider teams competed under the lights for glory in the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child Adult Jumper Classic.
As spectators enjoyed a complimentary dinner provided by Cody’s Original Roadhouse, Katherine Edgell, of Mendham, NJ, and Miss Kitty bested 66 other riders for the win in what turned out to be one of the most exciting classes of the season at HITS Ocala.
"It was a pretty difficult course but she was very smooth in the first round…she’s perfect," Edgell said of her mount. "There was some very strong competition in the jump-off, so it was a little bit of blood, instinct and adrenaline mixed in there."Catena Leading Rider Race Ticks On…
While Callan Solem and Allison are still sitting at the top of the 2010 Catena Leading Rider Standings with 48 points, Magness and Thieme are now within striking distance as things start to heat up in this Leading Rider race. The top-ranked Grand Prix rider on the 2010 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will receive a beautiful Catena diamond-faced watch at the conclusion of the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, on Sunday, March 21.Special Events!
Thursday night featured the Pfizer High-Performance Dinner presented by Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse where more than 60 guests dined together.
On Friday night, riders took their talents from the show ring to center stage at the Third Annual HITS Ocala Star Exhibitor Party. The celebrity panel of judges, Christina “Ellen” Schulsemeyer, Chucky “Simon” Waters and Mattias “Randy” Hallberg, provided their professional feedback and selected this year’s winners. Taking home top honors was Alex Babick who impressed the crowd with his rendition of “Unchained Melody.” Food was served up by Pi on Broadway, and beverages and prizes were compliments of Bernie Little Distributors.
Sunday afternoon prior to the $75,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix featured the return of the HITS World of the Horse celebration. Fans filled the bleachers to watch Carol Fletcher and her Peruvian Horse ride to a choreographed act, while the famous Gypsy King wowed the audience with the beauty of the Gypsy Vanner thanks to Dennis Thompson’s farm, Gypsy Gold, LLC. The Humane Society of Marion County was also on site this weekend with the first of three Adopt-a-Pet Days. We are proud to report that a few dogs were adopted into a couple of very special homes.Coming Up
Show jumping at HITS Post Time Farm continues this week with the Ocala Tournament from March 2-7, featuring a full lineup of exciting classes and two more qualifying Grand Prix classes for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, including Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and Sunday's $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. It also will be an exciting week for hunters, as well with the $5,000 Children’s Hunter Classic on Saturday evening, which will also include an encore culinary “performance” by Cody’s Original Roadhouse, who will be serving up dinner ringside, while the next installment of the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby will take place on Sunday afternoon.
Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse will be providing the VIP luncheon this Sunday, so if you haven’t gotten your table yet, make sure to order now.