(C) ESI Photography. Adrienne Iverson and Fandango HX.
OCALA, Florida (March 22, 2015): On Monday, March 23, the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium will host the iconic Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, but first, Hunters had their day in the sun for the $25,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Spectators remained on the edge of their seats as it all came down to the last round of the day when Fandango HX, owned by Redfield Farms, piloted by Adrienne Iverson of Toronto, Canada, swooped in to dominate the class and claim a first place finish.
A field of 36, many of which were top Devoucoux Hunter Prix circuit contenders including Robert Lee, Harold Chopping, Aaron Vale and Amanda Steege, took to Buddy Brown’s course for their piece of the final hunter prize purse of the HITS Ocala season. Iverson proved to be in-it-to-win-it as she left the first round with an impressive 92 for the lead, giving full credit to her five-year-old stallion mount.
“The first round was interesting and fun, but fair for everybody,” said Iverson. “It was Fandango’s first derby and he handled it really well. He is incredibly brave and natural at this. I’m really excited for the future with him.”
Throughout Round Two, the top of the leaderboard continued to alternate. Claiming the round’s high score of 90, Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida and Dress Balou, owned by Donald Stewart, cruised up the standings eleven spots with scores of 80 and 90, for a combined total of 170. Vale briefly held the top spot until Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina, riding Caroline Russell Howe’s Caramo, rode to scores of 90 and 82.5 for a total of 172 to take the lead.
It wasn’t until Iverson’s entrance was the fate of the class decided. Last to go, Iverson focused on her performance and her partner, not the pressure. Ultimately scoring a 81.5 for a combined total of 173.5, Iverson bumped Chopping to second and Vale to third.
“It didn’t matter how everyone else did. I just tried to do as well as I could,” said Iverson. “It was definitely nice to win his first hunter prix. You can’t win them all if you don’t win the first one.”
Looking ahead, Iverson has Championship Weekend dreams for Fandango HX. “We’re aiming for the Stal Hendrix Pre-Green Futurity in Saugerties,” she said, although her immediate future is equally as exciting.
“I’m really excited for tomorrow,” she added, referring to her shot at the richest purse in show jumping at the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, where she will ride Donar R.
Fourth place went to Lavish, owned by Phyllis Harlow, led by David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio, to scores of 85 and 84.5, totaling 169.5. Greg Prince of Sherborn, Massachusetts capped off fifth place with Chances R, owned by Artillery Lane LLC, and scores of 83 and 84, for a combined total of 167.