SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (July 11, 2011) — Two of the leaders in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Rider Rankings dueled it out in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix with amateur rider Jane Gaston and her own Lumiere coming out on top to highlight the Showday National at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.
Gaston, a well known artist, especially in the equine world, entered Saturday’s class ranked third in the current Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Rider Rankings and continues to prove that she is one of the favorites to win it all in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.
“This horse is just great,” said Gaston of The Plains, Virginia. “He got his start at HITS Culpeper five years ago as a baby and has won both Devoucoux classes so far here this year, so I feel like this is his home.
“But I am looking forward to going to Saugerties! The place is just beautiful. I have been there as a spectator, but I have never shown there,” said Gaston, looking forward to making her debut at HITS-on-the-Hudson this fall.
Gaston has made it clear that qualifying for the Diamond Mills Final is one of her goals this year. “I love the concept of this class. It really levels the playing field because it eliminates things like riders having multiple rides. And yes, I would say we are one of the favorites in the Final – as long as I stay out of his way!”
For Gaston, to make her way to the winner’s circle for the third time this season she had to outperform a field of 34. The course was set by Rian Beals, of Saugerties, New York and after the top 12 advanced to the second round it was Gaston and her horse that would emerge as the winner.
In the first round, it was Mary Lisa Leffler of Brooksville, Maryland and Wilder Mountain Farm’s Zivago who led the way with a score of 88. The pair entered Saturday’s competition ranked second in the current Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Rider Rankings and continues to impress each time they show. Gaston and Lumiere scored an 85 in the first round and sat in second place.
Once the course was set for the second round, the top 12 battled for the winner’s share of the purse. Gaston and her horse scored a 91 (178 total) to really put the heat on Leffler and the rest of the field. Leffler and Zivago gave it their best effort, scoring an 89 (177 total) – just shy of the blue ribbon. Meg O’Mara of Rumson, New Jersey finished in third place aboard Don Stewart’s Walk the Line to lead an impressive showing for junior riders in the class. Fellow junior Ashley Foster of Brooksville, Maryland, who is Leffler’s niece, was fifth aboard Meridian Farm’s Summer Fling as three of the top five placings in the class belonged to juniors and amateurs. Rounding out the top five was Ian Silitch (Ocala, Florida) aboard Paige Flournoy’s Oliver de Upatoi in fourth place.
Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was the first of four remaining qualifiers at HITS Culpeper for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, which will take place the weekend of September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
Show jumping at HITS Culpeper resumes this week with the Cavalier Classic and will feature a full slate of action including Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and Sunday’s $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Devoucoux, makers of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to this year’s phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 3’3″ 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 historic Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 10-11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
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 took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
|1||Lumiere||Jane Gaston||Jane Gaston||$1,500|
|2||Zivago||Wilder Mountain Farm||Mary Lisa Leffler||$1,000|
|3||Walk the Line||Don Stewart/Meg O’Mara||Meg O’Mara||$350|
|4||Oliver de Upatoi||Paige Flournoy||Ian Silitch||$250|
|5||Summer Fling||Meridan Farm||Ashley Foster||$200|
|6||Tarzan||Greener Pastures Inc||Geoffrey Hesslink||$175|
|7||Morocco||Nancy Moore||Megan Bifano||$150|
|8||The Lion’s Share||Amanda Hartman||Sue Lyman||$125|