(c) ESI Photography. Amanda Steege and Zidane jump in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.
Steege’s Student Kimberly Maloomian Takes $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix on Urlala
Ocala, Florida (January 31, 2015): Saturday was a great day for Amanda Steege and Zidane, owned by Susan Darragh, who took home a $1,500 prize for first place in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, and chalked up two in a row after their win last week. They scored an 85.5 in the first round and an 87 in the second, propelling them to the top of the leaderboard. Steege’s student, Kimberly Maloomian, of Needham, Massachusetts, also won Saturday in the $1500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix.
Hunters were the focus of Saturday afternoon’s Outside Course at HITS Ocala with the two special classes: the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. These classes are qualifiers for the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final and the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final held at HITS Saugerties in September during the HITS Championship.
Saturday’s courses, designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida, included jumps up and down a hill, bending lines, and an option on the approach to the first jump in round two.
Steege, of Bedminster, New Jersey, said she wants to be among the top 20 riders in the year-end standings so she can ride two horses in the $500,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final at HITS Saugerties in New York in September. So far, she has won two out of three HITS Ocala $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix this season after placing second in week one.
“I’m really excited about the changes HITS made for the specs for 2015 that are allowing for the top 20 for to ride two horses in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Final for a few reasons: First of all, I think making that change is going to encourage riders to show in that class more, but also will encourage hunter riders to ride their best horses,” Steege said. “The possibility of riding two will really motivate people to be more successful on a weekly basis, and I think it will make it a more exciting competitive class.”
A close second in the Hunter Prix on Saturday went to Patty Stovel of Georgetown, Kentucky, riding Winner HS, owned by Peggy Jones of Culpeper, Virginia, and trained by Sandra Ruiz. Stovel and Winner HS scored an 86 in the first round and an 85 in the second to earn $1,000. She said after the class, “We are getting closer. Last week he was ninth. He was a jumper and just started doing the hunters.”
Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland, placed both third and fourth. Schaefer was third riding her own Stallone, with scores of 87 and 82 — moving up from last week’s fifth place finish, and fourth with her horse Classified, with scores of 84 and 83.
$1500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix
Kimberly Maloomian, riding her mother Terry Maloomian’s horse, Urlala, had a triumphant return to the winner’s circle in her first Hunter Prix since winning the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final last September. Maloomian and Urlala won $1500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Saturday with scores of 82 and 84 to top the leaderboard. Riders in the top 20 in the year-end standings for the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix can also ride two horses in the $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final.
Maloomian, who trains with Steege, said, “Urlala was originally purchased for my Mom to do the 2-foot division. She may not be the fanciest horse that I have, but she’s the nicest one. You always know when you are standing at the in-gate that you are going to jump all the jumps — she’s not going to spook at anything and it’s such a nice feeling.”
Steege said of her student’s win, “It was a thrill for team Ashmeadow (Steege’s farm) to have dominated the Hunter Prix in week three of HITS Ocala.”
Casey Zuraitis of Sutton, Massachusetts, riding her own KT Four Seasons, scored a first round of 85 and a second round score of 80 to finish just one point behind and take home second place and a check for $300. Third place with an 83 and a 78 went to Alexa Riccio of Ogunquit, Maine, riding Captain Millet, owned by Kevin Davis of Lincoln, Nebraska.