Photo: David Raposa and Iliona.
“It’s not goodbye; it’s see you soon!” is what many people were saying this week during the Ocala Championship, as the final week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit came to a close. Week X proved to be one of the most exciting weeks yet, with high stakes classes for both hunters and jumpers, including the fifth annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.
The week kicked off with the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome and a victory by Michael Hutchinson and RONALDO DE LA POMME with a jump-off time of 35.850. In second was Taylor Land and FALCO V with a jump-off time of 37.973. Devin Ryan came in third aboard FLORIDA with a jump-off time of 38.342. Fourth place was Rachel Schnurr and PRINCE GARBO with a jump-off time of 38.528, while Tracy Magness rounded out the top five aboard INTENZ VAN HD with a jump-off time of 39.045.
On Thursday, the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix took place once again. This week, David Raposa took the top spot aboard ILIONA with a jump-off time of 40.620. Newcomer to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium, Jamie Barge, took second aboard LUEBBO with a jump-off time of 41.498. Sharn Wordley was third with CASPER in a jump-off time of 41.530 and three time $1 Million Grand Prix winner, Andre Thieme, was fourth aboard ARETINO 13 with a jump-off time of 41.936. Week VII $50,000 HITS Grand Prix winner, Callan Solem, took fifth aboard DAVIDSON with a jump-off time of 42.887.
Friday afternoon, the $10,000 Open Prix took place, with $265,000 Longines Grand Prix winner (Week V), Rowan Willis, taking the win aboard SHARK with a jump-off time of 31.672. In second was Wordley aboard RYE VAL DE MAI with a jump-off time of 32.611, while Lisa Goldman was third aboard her well-known mount CENTURION B with a jump-off time of 34.859. Emanuel Andrade continued to impress, taking fourth aboard JOLI JUMPER with a jump-off time of 34.993 and fifth was Lillie Keenan and CHACCOLETTE with a jump-off time of 35.748.
Friday evening, the HITS Equitation Championships took place, giving young riders a chance to shine in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Madeline Schaefer was awarded first place aboard CORRENDO with a two-round score of 178. Brian Moggre was second aboard MTM GEM with a two-round score of 174. Only one point behind was Sophee Steckbeck and CURT Z with a two-round score of 173. Fourth was awarded to C. Blair Spencer aboard WASSINI with a two-round score of 169. Rounding out the top five was Danny Mahon and CHOPPER 5 with a two-round score of 161.5.
Saturday was an exciting day, with several jumper classics taking place, as well as the $25,000 USHJA International Derby. Starting the day off was the $10,000 KindredBio 1.30m Junior/Amateur-Owner/Amateur Jumper Classic. Kady Abrahamson took first place aboard BASCO H2 with a jump-off time of 35.372. Moggre was second aboard TOUR EIFFEL with a jump-off time of 36.431. In third was Quinn Larimer and LIMBOY VON WORRENBERG with a jump-off time of 37.020 and Nicole Loochtan was fourth aboard CAIMAN DES SEQUOIAS with a jump-off time of 43.423. Fifth was Darby Toben aboard D’ARTAGNAN with a jump-off time of 45.920.
In the $10,000 1.35 Classic, Hutchinson again took the win aboard RONALDO DE LA POMME with a jump-off time of 41.835. Second was Jennifer Ann Smith and LAISSEZ FAIRE 3E with a jump-off time of 46.715. Wordley, took another top five placing aboard RYE VAL DE MAI, placing third with a four-fault jump-off time of 40.853. Fourth was Ryan aboard FLORIDA with a four-fault jump-off time of 41.209 and Jennifer Brennan was fifth aboard MAC with a four-fault jump-off time of 42.724.
In the $25,000 U-Dump Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, Callie Smith and Tamara Morse battled it out in the jump-off as the only two clears from the first round. Smith came out on top with one time-fault in the jump-off in 48.575 aboard FLOYD W. Tamara Morse was second aboard RAVENNA ALDEHEID Z with a rail and one time fault in a time of 48.623. Third was Nicole Belissimo and HARLEY DAVID as the fastest of the four-faulters in round-one with a time of 70.268. Just a second behind her was Kady Abrahamson and CHARLINE 28 with a four-fault score in 71.358 and Bryn Sadler was fifth aboard CEZARRO with a four-fault time of 74.420.
Kate Taylor and CHACCA BLUE took the win in the $25,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic with a jump-off time of 31.257. Grace Debney was second aboard BYOLGA with a jump-off time of 31.736. In third was Alyson Gurney and BLACK FRIDAY with a jump-off time of 33.550 and Sherri Jamison took fourth place with MAY’S NEWS in a jump-off time of 34.364. Fifth was Joy Slater aboard OILEAN UNO with a jump-off time of 34.648.
Saturday evening, the second $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby of the circuit took place in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Holly Shepherd was awarded first place after two beautiful rounds and a total score of 370. Shepherd rode her gelding KODACHROME, securing first place and $7,500 in prize money after masterfully maneuvering through both rounds. Samantha Schaefer was second aboard IN THE KNOW with a two-round score of 364. Third place was Hunt Tosh and FLAMINGO-K with a two score of 362.75. ATTENTION PLEASE and David Jennings were fourth with a two-round score of 355.5. Cassandra Kahle rounded out the top five aboard DIADORA with a two-round score of 354.5.
On Sunday, the Horseware Ireland Grand Circuit Champions and Tack Warehouse Second-Half Circuit Champions made their way into the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium for the Parade of Champions and recognition of their season-long achievements. Several Special awards were also presented, including the following:
Kindred Bio Leading Rider: Brian Moggre
Laura Pickett Grand Junior Hunter Champion: Rockette, Kaitlyn Williams
Farm Credit Tackroom Award: Sapphire Riding Academy, trainer Doug Boyd
Absorbine Groom’s Award: Robert Buniowski, groom for Grand Prix Rider Rowan Willis of Australia
Visit hitsshows.com for more information.