OCALA, FL (January, 20, 2013) – Between riding to first and third in today’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and coaching fellow rider Ellen Toon to second, Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey got the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit started on a high note. After finishing third in last year’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, Steege has lost no momentum and has her sights set on returning to Saugerties, New York this year to again ride in the final.
She piloted Tony Arena’s Majestic to the win today after a first round score of 83 was combined with the high score of the second round, an 85, for a two-round total of 168.
“Not only is he [Majestic] an amazing jumper, he is just a good guy and he always tries his hardest,” said Steege of the 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding that carried her to today’s win. “We started together about four years ago and he does everything from International Hunter Derbies to the 2’ Pre-Adult Hunters – it isn’t often that you find a horse that can do it all.”
Arena purchased Majestic from Emil Spadone four years ago and Steege believes that he could be a top contender for the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final in September. “We have shown together a lot, but I was really impressed with him today – he went really well despite coming off some rest. He hasn’t shown since October,” said Steege.
Toon, of South Salem, New York, and her own Invincible were called back on top after a first round score of 84, but a rub in the second round delivered a score of 81 and a 165 for second place.
Steege appeared twice in the top three after riding Monica Oliver’s Kryptonite, a newcomer to the hunter prix scene, to third with an 81 and 82 for an overall score of 163. “He has never done anything like this before, so I was ecstatic with how he performed. Both my horses went extremely well,” said Steege.
Brandie Holloway of Topeka, Kansas was fourth in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix with Hays Investment Corp.’s Cascina. The pair posted a final score of 156.5. Rounding out the top five was Darcy Hayes of Aurora, Ontario aboard Madison Hayes’ Smile with a total score of 155.
“These classes are fantastic,” added Steege. “To win $60,000 last year after coming in third in a hunter class is huge. I hope it sets precedent in our sport and delivers a little bit of well-deserved attention to hunters. Hopefully other shows will begin to follow Tom [Struzzeiri]’s lead.”
$1,500 HITS Hunter Prix
Yesterday, Steege coached Kimberly Maloomian of Needham, Massachusetts to a win in the $1,500 HITS Hunter Prix. Maloomian and Urlala, owned by Terry S. Maloomian, kicked off Winter qualifying for the HITS $250,000 Hunter Prix Final, scheduled for this September as part of HITS Championship Weekend in Saugerties, New York.
Maloomian posted the top score in the first round with an 81 and returned in the second with an 82 for a two-round total of 163. Behind her, Corinne Milbury of Boston, Massachusetts. finished in second with her own Kavalier. The pair earned a first round score of 79 and a second round score of 78 for a total of 152. Rounding out the top three was Raven Weinlein of Palm Coast, Florida in the irons of her own La Vita. Their pair of 76s gave them a final score of 152.
“The new ring is great to ride in and today’s course was a nice, flowing ride,” said Maloomian of the Outside Course at HITS Post Time Farm, newly designed and boasting innovated course options for hunter and equitation classes. “I love doing the hunter prix – we always have so much fun.”
Maloomian competed with Urlala in last year’s inaugural HITS $250,000 Hunter Prix Final and finished 10th overall with the 11-year-old mare.
“She [Urlala] is awesome – she never lets us down,” said Maloomian of the mare who’s other job is carrying Maloomian’s mother in the Pre-Adult Hunters. “Whenever I am standing at the in-gate with Urlala I know that nothing much can go wrong.”
Steege says that many of the amateur riders in her barn have designed their schedules around qualifying for the HITS Hunter Prix Final and Maloomian admits that she is one of them. “I can’t wait to get to Saugerties and do it again,” she said.
Capping the class was Alexa Bayko of Salisbury, Massachusetts and Monica Hunt’s Essex Street in fourth with a total score of 151. Katharine Vonhoistein of Mt. Kisco New York finished in fifth with her own Surreal and a final score of 140.
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 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 third-annual Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 7-8 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
About Diamond Mills Hotel & Tavern
Just 100 miles outside of New York City, nestled in the Village of Saugerties, Diamond Mills is a 30-room luxury hotel featuring stellar accommodations, fine dining at The Tavern and full-service events at a state-of-the art Special Events Center. Diamond Mills is a proud member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, an unsurpassed collection of over 520 luxury hotels around the world. Saugerties’ newest luxury hotel is also the proud sponsor of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, which will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson as part of the HITS Championship Weekend. For more information about Diamond Mills or the special VIP packages available to HITS-on-the-Hudson exhibitors, please visit DiamondMillsHotel.com or call 845.247.0700.