OCALA, FL (March 21, 2012) – Kate Conover of Ocala, Florida and Redfield Farm’s Peron captured the grand finale for hunter riders at HITS Ocala when they scored the top prize in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix to put a bow on the 2012 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.
“It was a challenging course that was set in the grand hunter ring,” said Conover. “There were lots of new jumps out there that we had not seen throughout the circuit and they were a nice touch.”
The two-round classic featured 51 horse-and-rider pairs on a course designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida. At the end of the first round, it was Megan Edrick of Ocala, Florida and Liz Hudspeth’s Fairfax in the lead with a first round score of 87. In the second round, Edrick received a 76 for a total of 167 points, which would eventually finish in ninth place.
At the conclusion of the first round, Conover sat in the seventh spot after scoring an 83.25 before she stepped up to the plate in round two and nailed an 88 which gave her a total score of 171.25 to take the lead and eventually secure the triumph.
“You can always count on Kate Conover to step up in the fourth quarter,” said Emil Spadone, of Redfield Farm. “She came back strong and pulled off an 88. That’s no surprise to anyone who knows what Kate is capable of.”
Conover, who rides professionally for Spadone at Redfield Farm, finished third last year in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final seems to be well on her way to a return trip to Saugerties.
“Never count Kate out,” said Spadone. “She is a great rider and always a contender no matter what class she is showing in.”
Second-place honors belonged to last year’s champion of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland aboard John Skinner’s Wonderland. Schaefer notched an 82 in round one and earned the highest score of 89 in the second round as her 171 put her just behind Conover in second place. While amateur rider Jane Gaston of The Plains, Virginia and her own Lumiere finished in third place with a total score of 169.5.
Madison Manners and Unlimited take $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix
Junior rider Madison Maners of Matthews, North Carolina secured the first-place check aboard her own Unlimited when she beat out 37 starters in the $1,500 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix during the Ocala Winter Celebration.
Manners laid down a consistent effort in the class bringing home a pair of 83’s in the two round classic as she earned the highest overall score of 166 en route to the victory aboard Unlimited.
The victory was a decisive one for the junior rider as Kimberly Maloomian (Needhman, Massachusetts) finished in a distant second place after receiving a combined score of 159 aboard Terry Maloomian’s Urlala to grab the red ribbon. Rounding out the top three finishers was Corinne Milbury (Boston, Massachusetts) aboard Lauren Sherman’s Curtain Bluff who scored a combined total of 155.5.
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.