Ocala, Fla. – Dec. 17, 2018 – Back and better than ever, returning for the 38th consecutive year, the 2019 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit kicked off with the Ocala Holiday Classic.
Starting off the week in the Grand Prix Ring was the $2,500 Johnson Horse Transportation Welcome where Aaron Vale took home the blue ribbon aboard Eye Catcher with a faultless finish in 33.357 seconds. Second place was awarded to Taylor Land and Falco V with a clear round in 34.307 seconds, followed by Kris Killam and Boreale de Talma in third place with 8 faults in 35.456 seconds.
It was a three-for-three finish for Nicole Bellissimo in the $10,000 Open Prix on Thursday as she took top honors aboard VDL Bellefleur in a time of 35.118. She captured the second place award aboard Casino and rounded out the third spot with Jersey V.D. Hunters.
Grace Debney finished first and second in the $2,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Classic aboard Darc Kiss Z and Byolga, respectively.
Taking home the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Jr/A-O/Am 1.30m Jumper Classic was Alexandra Millar and Vampyr Van De Rib.
Hayley Waters would start her day with a one-two finish in the $7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/Am 1.40m Jumper Classic aboard Galous and Qurint, respectively.
Taking home top honors in Sunday’s featured class, the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, was Jordan Petersen and Cantano 29. Petersen would cross the timers, with the only fault free ride in the jump-off, in 39.366 for the blue ribbon. Second place was awarded to Waters aboard Uppie De Lis with a four-fault finish in 36.015 seconds while Sharn Wordley and Gatsby rounded out the top three with 4 faults in 37.146 seconds.
In the hunter rings, riders were ambitious to earn some early qualifying points for the HITS Championship held annually in Saugerties, New York.
Helen Goddard topped the field in the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix, guiding her mount, My Way, to an overall score of 167. Goddard had the high score of an 85 in the first round and maintained her first place standing with an 82 in the second round. Taylor Adams rode Big Hoss to second place with a score of 162 while third place was awarded to Grace Dreyer and Cambastian with a score of 159.
The Ocala Holiday Festival begins this Wednesday, December 19 and will feature USEF-Rated hunter, jumper and equitation classes.