Desert Circuit V Week in Review: Top Hunter Rider John French Wins Another $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby
RELEASE: March 11, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By the HITS Media Team
John French entered last week’s $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby as a heavy favorite, and during the popular two-round classic, he showed exactly why when he captured the top two places in the class to conclude a fabulous week during Desert Circuit V at the HITS Desert Horse Park, in Thermal, CA.
French, from Gilroy, CA, took the top placing aboard Lisa Martinez-Bates' Brego and was also second aboard Yellow Dog, LLC's Crown Affair en route to collecting $5,000 in prize money for the afternoon. So far during the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit, French has won three blue ribbons in the weekly $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derbies and has taken the top honors in the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby. Making his run at HITS Thermal even more impressive, French has won his three $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derbies on different mounts.
"If you win two grand prix classes it's considered a good year," said French. "I have been fortunate enough to win four hunter derbies in one circuit."
After French's triumph, he headed over to the pony ring to train some of his students. "One of the kids asked me if I got a 400, again," joked French.
Teenager Melissa Doddridge captured the crown in the lone $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby that wasn't won by French when she rode Pamela Doddridge's Bentley to the winners' circle during Desert Circuit II. In Sunday's feature class for hunters, she gave it her best shot, placing three horses in the top six, including a third-place effort aboard Bentley.
The Tustin, CA, native was fourth aboard Best Man, and sixth riding Delux. French has won more than $15,000 in prize money during the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derbies and Doddridge has pocketed more than $12,000. Look for these duos to continue to battle it out for big-time prize money when the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby returns on Sunday during Desert Circuit VI.
This winter, the all-new Devoucoux Hunter Derby has been a featured event at both the HITS Desert Circuit and the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in Ocala, FL, and represents the 13th division to count for points in the Marshall & Sterling League. In addition to the $10,000 classes at HITS winter shows in Thermal and Ocala, qualifying classes for the Devoucoux Hunter Derby will be offered at the HITS Culpeper and HITS Saugerties shows this spring and summer. HITS has also invited a select number of additional horse shows in the Northeast to add the Devoucoux Hunter Derby to their show schedules, which will help facilitate the growth of the class and provide further qualifying opportunities for the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals. The Devoucoux Derby Finals will be offered at the 2010 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals on September 16-19 in Saugerties, NY. Feeling like Royalty! John Pearce named Leading World Cup Rider
Canadian Olympian John Pearce has risen to the height of the occasion during the biggest events of the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit. Thanks in large part to his triumph aboard Forest View Farm's Son of a Gun in the $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during Desert Circuit III he was named the Royal Champion Leading World Cup Rider.
In a tight race, Pearce used an 11th-place effort during Saturday night's $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, to win the trophy and a year’s supply of Royal Champion Supplements.
Royal Champion is the ultimate in scientifically advanced supplements. Their products are uniquely formulated, using all natural ingredients of the highest quality to meet each horse's nutritional needs. For more information on Royal Champion, visit http://royalchampion.com
With the Royal Champion Leading World Cup Rider Award already in his trophy case, Pearce continues to earn precious qualifying prize money for the $1 Million Pfizer Grand Prix that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson, in Saugerties, NY. Currently, Pearce and Chianto sit at number two of the preliminary Rider Rankings in the chase for the Million with more than $30,000 in money won.
Helen McNaught and Guy Thomas also had strong outings during Desert Circuit V to help climb the ladder in the preliminary Rider Rankings. On Thursday night, Helen McNaught and Caballo won the $30,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and on Sunday it was New Zealand's Guy Thomas riding Peterbilt to the top prize in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. McNaught is currently third in the Rider Rankings, while Thomas cracked into the top 10 thanks to Sunday’s win and sits at number nine in the rankings.
For the moment, Canadian Olympian John Anderson is still at the number one spot on the Rider Rankings thanks to winning $40,900 in prize money aboard Terrific.
Anderson is also in the top spot of the Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider Standings. The top-ranked grand prix rider on the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit will receive a beautiful Catena diamond-faced watch at the conclusion of the $300,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Pfizer Animal Health on Sunday, March 14.
Show jumping at the HITS Desert Circuit resumes with Desert Circuit VI. In addition to hosting the R.W Mutch Equitation Classic and the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby, HITS Thermal will also feature two more Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix qualifiers, including the gigantic $300,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Pfizer Animal Health on Sunday afternoon. Lamborghini will be onsite offering test drives of the famed Italian sports cars all weekend.
The season finale represents the largest purse ever offered on the West Coast and is the final qualifier of the HITS Thermal season for the Pfizer Million. With a first-place payout of $90,000, this class is on everyone’s radar as a win or a top placing in the class will catapult a qualified rider to the top of the Pfizer Million Rider Rankings.
This celebrated day will also feature the presentation of the Antarès Grand Circuit Champion Awards during the ever-popular Parade of Champions, which will take place in the Grand Prix ring before world renowned high-performance riders take aim at the course designed by international course designer Olaf Petersen.
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, or for more information on HITS schedule of classes and event, please visit www.HitsShows.com