OCALA, FL (February 7, 2012) – As the Ocala Premier celebrated its first full week of rated show jumping at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida, hunter riders were treated with another gorgeous day to showcase the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, New York, one of the nation’s top hunter riders, enjoyed a successful day after she captured the blue ribbon in Sunday’s main hunter event aboard Helen Lenahan’s Sting.
Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida designed a first round course for 35 competitors and welcomed the top 12 scores to return for a second round to determine the overall winner. Alfano and Sting posted the best first round score of 87 to lead the way and followed it with a second round high-score of 89 to earn her the decisive victory.
Alfano is no stranger to the winner’s circle, and throughout her illustrious career has won many top place finishes at nearly every major horse show and year-end finals in the country.
“It was a nice course,” said Alfano. “I think a lot of the horses rode nicely and it was a fun class to do. This class has become very popular, especially with the [Diamond Mills Hunter Prix] Finals and they’ve done a great job at making it feel special.”
Second place was awarded to Chris Nelson of Northlake, Texas aboard Playboy Des Plants of le Bocage, owned by The Stables at le Bocage.
Kate Conover and Redfield Farm’s Peron captured the third place ribbon. Conover, of Califon, New Jersey earned several top finishes last year at HITS Ocala and HITS-on-the-Hudson to qualify for the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. She and Balios Z ultimately finished third in the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final in Saugerties. A professional rider at Redfield Farm for head trainer Emil Spadone, Conover, alongside hundreds of juniors and amateurs, will be on the hunt to qualify for the 2012 return of the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final.
Rounding out the top five in Sunday’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix were Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey and Tony Arena’s Majestic in fourth, while Patty Stovel aboard Shoal Creek Stables’ Kenya, another Diamond Mills duo who finished in 11th place last year at the Final, finished in fifth place spot on Sunday.
$1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix
The $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix took place on Saturday as junior and amateur riders embarked on the road to the all-new $250,000 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final, which will take place alongside the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final and the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix September 7-9 at HITS-on-the-Hudson. Michelle Stopford of Reddick, Florida aboard Mark Stopford’s Agassi topped the field of 19 competitors to take home the blue. Last week’s winner Jodi Czaplick of Morriston, Florida and her own Untold finished in second place, while Shannon Valley of Kildeer, Illinois finished in third aboard Donna Struve’s Insight.
The Ocala Winter Classic begins on Tuesday and will feature a full lineup of classes from grassroots to High-Performance competition. The road to the America’s richest weekend of show jumping – the HITS Championship Weekend, which will take place September 7-9 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York – continues this week in Ocala with two more qualifiers for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, one more for the $250,000 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final and one more for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.
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 second-annual Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, which will take place September 8-9 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.