Aaron Vale Secures the Win in the $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix

Aaron Vale Secures the Win in $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix
Megan Wexler Shows How it's Done in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix

The second half of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit got underway with Week VI, where riders continue to show up and show off in featured competition at HITS Post Time Farm. After several top five finishes so far, Aaron Vale claimed the blue ribbon in the $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix, while Megan Wexler was putting in work at the Hunter Ring to take home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

Riders have been at the 'Top of Their Game' all season, as HITS Ocala hosts over two dozen featured classes and more than 100 divisions each week. Read on as HITS congratulates all the winners at Week VI, and wishes the best of luck to all in the race for the Tack Shack of Ocala Second-Half Circuit Awards, HITS Ocala Grand Circuit Champion Circuit Awards, and those eyeing the prize in the seventh annual Great American $1 Million Grand Prix.
Tracy Fenney added another win to her record as she secured top honors in the $5,000 Open Welcome on Wednesday afternoon. This week's win came aboard MTM DOLCE VITA in a time of 36.349.

2nd Place: Lisa Goldman-Smolen & AS DI SOGRAND [36.947]
3rd Place: Stevie Murphy & CABALIERO 2 [40.070]
Taking home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 HITS Open Prix on Thursday was Kris Killam and BOREALE DE TALMA in a time of 38.359. 

2nd Place: Kama Godek & CONTINUITY [38.806]
3rd Place: Goldman-Smolen & BENGTSSON VDL [39.028]

Featured competition continued on Friday afternoon with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix when Devin Ryan took the win aboard CASPAR'S LASINO. This team produced the first clear round in the jump-off and their quick time of 45.737 would hold strong through the rest of the competition.

2nd Place: Jaclyn Duff & VENUS DU GUE [45.740]
3rd Place: Fenney & MTM APPLE [4-Faults, 44.901]
Goldman-Smolen and BENGTSSON VDL moved up from their third place finish on Thursday to win Saturday's $15,000 1.40m Jumper Classic. As the first to return in the jump-off, they laid down a dominating performance crossing the timers in 34.586. Goldman-Smolen would return just 3 short trips later to secure a third place finish in the class as well, aboard AS DI SOGRAND.

2nd Place: Bree Rosales & CALIFORNIA PJ [35.350]
3rd Place: Goldman-Smolen & AS DI SOGRAND [35.611]
Jumper Classic Winners
$1,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic - Low: Sophia Ayers & CASANOVA JUNIOR
$1,500 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic - Medium: Hallie Weegar & FANTASTIKA UTOPIA
$2,000 M&S Child Jumper Classic - High: Pippa Spingler & QUONTINE DE LA ROQUE
$2,000 M&S Adult Jumper Classic - High: Holly Bachor & FEWALDINE

$2,500 Pyranha Jr 1.25m Jumper Classic: Ana Ramos & JORNO
$2,500 Pyranha A-O/AM 1.25m Jumper Classic: Brooke Cudmore & SOUTHERN ROSE

$5,000 Summit Joint Performance Jr/A-O/Am 1.35m Jumper Classic:
$7,500 U-Dump Jr/A-O/AM 1.45m Jumper Classic: Laurel Blakemore & FINE FLEUR
HITS Ocala welcomed 55 riders to the Grand Prix Stadium for Sunday's $150,000 Crum & Forster Grand Prix. Grand Prix Champions and Olympic hopefuls took to a carefully planned course designed by Mark McGown of Kilmarnok, Scotland.

Each rider had their eye on the prize in the 12-horse jump-off hoping to take home the lion's share of prize money. Aaron Vale and ELUSIVE led the field in 43.277 with over a full second separating them from the second place finisher.

“The course didn’t walk that difficult,” said Vale, “but it had some hidden challenges. In the jump-off you had to be quite careful in the beginning, so it made for an interesting test to stay clean, but still be fast.”

Vale and ELUSIVE have had a successful season so far, winning both Grand Prix during the HITS Ocala Holiday Classic in December, and place third and sixth earlier this Circuit leading up to today's victory.

While Vale hasn’t finalized which horse he’ll show in the Great American Million, he had the chance to watch some of the competition he’ll face as previous three-time Great American Million winner Andre Thieme and Great American Million veteran Devin Ryan were hot on his heels.

2nd Place: Ryan & CASPAR'S LASINO [44.544]
3rd Place: Andre Thieme & CHAKARIA [44.581]
Nigel Wallbank and his pup 'Guinness' of Crum & Forster presented Aaron Vale with the prize check. Crum & Forster provides Equine Mortality Insurance with coverage offered for all breeds, including the sport horse, and protection to horse owners. Each week, HITS Ocala Grand Prix winner's are presented a gift basket courtesy of Angel's Salumi & Truffles.
The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit also features Hunter Prix competition each week that serves as the qualifiers for the HITS Championship that takes place annually in Saugerties, New York. HITS is proud to host some of the riches hunter classes in the world including the Diamond Mills and Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Finals, as well as some of the richest USHJA International Hunter Derbies across the nation.
Taking home the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was Megan Wexler for her ride aboard AMARA. Wexler moved up from her second place finish in the Prix last week to take the top prize in Week VI with scores of 87 and 88 for an overall score of 175.

2nd Place: Daniel Geitner & HUDSON [172]
3rd Place: Robert Lee & EEA TIMBERLAND [169]
Also moving up in the standings from their performance last week was Schuyler Dayner and LONDON T to take top honors in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Scores of 84 and 86 would total a 170 and the win in Week VI.

2nd Place: Rylynn Conway & QUIDAM'S REVEAL [168]
3rd Place: Hannah Bedwell & DESERT PARTY [159]
Hunter Classic Winners

$1,000 USHJA Green Hunter Incentive: Jennifer Alfano & RHAPSODY

$500 USHJA Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge - Pony: Isabel Bertelsen & NEPTUNE
$500 USHJA Zone 4 Handy Hunter Challenge - Child/Adult: Olivia Drexler & DOLITA

$1,000 A-O 3'6" Hunter Classic: Laura Linback & ATTENTION PLEASE 
$1,000 ALL-IN Removal A-O 3'3" Hunter Classic: Jamie Auletto & IDE W
$1,000 CWD Jr 3'6" Hunter Classic - Small: Hannah Dodd & SCHUMACHER
$1,000 Antares Jr 3'6" Hunter Classic - Large: Claire Campbell & CAPTIVATE
$1,000 Jr 3'3" Hunter Classic: Maddie Tosh & COLD HARBOR

$500 M&S SmartPak Adult Hunter Classic: Alysson Siopes & QUALITY BOY
$500 M&S Child Hunter Classic - Horse: Kate Howlin & GRAY SHOTT
$500 M&S Child Hunter Classic - Pony: Lyla Tuttle & SUNBIRD

M&S Bit O'Straw Hunter Classic: Beth A. Ford Estey & KODIAK HARBOR

$1,000 Perfect Products Pony Hunter Classic: Tosh & STORYTELLER
Click here for the full listing of results from the HITS Ocala Masters.
Social Scene

Coming up this week is the WEF Sport Horse Auction which will be streamed LIVE at HITS in the Stadium on Thursday, February 27. Don't forget - the next Circuit awards to be presented are the Tack Shack of Ocala 2nd-Half and Overall Champions which will be announced Week X!

VIP Tables and Individual Passes are now available for the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, Sunday, March 22. Tables seating 6 guests are $1,000 for the day, or purchase individual passes for $150 per person. VIP Tables and passes must be purchased in advance in the Horse Show Office and are not refundable. Full Table reservations will have a reserved table for 6 guests; Individual reservations will be open seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Enjoy the Great American Million in VIP Style! 
HITS is excited to be back in Ocala for its 39th consecutive year of horse shows - be sure to check out the Official Prize List for details on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit and all we have to offer! 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 352.620.2275 or info@hitsshows.comEnter today! We look forward to seeing you at this year’s circuit!

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