Week IX of 2022 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit Concludes
The 2022 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit is coming to a close, with nine weeks of competition now complete. This past week, Ocala Winter Celebration, featured FEI CSI2* competition, a $100,000 HITS Grand Prix, a $10,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix, and preparations for the biggest class in the country this year, the Great American $500,000 Grand Prix on March 27! Read on for the winners of Week IX's featured competition.
Marylisa Leffler went back-to-back in the $5,000 Open Welcome on Wednesday. Just as she had done Week VIII, Leffler posted the only clear jump-off round riding ZAZA Z, crossing the timers in 41.282.
2nd Place: Devin Ryan & ASCALITTA SBK Z [4-faults, 41.631] 3rd Place: Tracy Magness & CHOPIN DU CHATEAU HOLLOGNE Z [4-faults, 41.751]
Genevieve Munson returned to the top of the leaderboard at HITS Ocala in Thursday's $7,500 HITS Open Prix. Munson and ZONDERLING narrowly edged out their competition, with their time of 34.472 earning the win by less than a quarter of a second.
2nd Place: Daniel Geitner & LOTUS VAN HET HAGEHOF [34.702] 3rd Place: Elisa Broz & VOLSTRUPS CODY [37.290]
On a day known for celebrating "the Luck of the Irish," it was the skill of a Chilean that made the difference in Thursday's $25,000 FEI CSI2* SmartPak Welcome. After Juan Manuel Bolanos set the Great American Time to Beat in the jump-off of 40.11, Chile's Samuel Parot bettered that by almost five seconds, setting the lead at 35.87. Laura Hite and Tanimara Macari's strong efforts followed, but neither could find as much speed as Parot. The two-time Olympian had to withstand attempts from four more riders to clinch the win with SINGULON and celebrate to his country's National Anthem.
2nd Place: Macari & ISLA DE MUZE [37.62] 3rd Place: Hite & CALYPSO VD ZUUTHOEVE [37.69]
In Saturday's $10,000 Post Time Classic, Kaitlin Campbell saved the best for last. The final rider to take to the jump-off course, Campbell sped past Robert Lee's leading time, crossing the timers in 35.449 with CALCO DE TRIVERA.
2nd Place: Lee & SPICE OF LIFE [36.785] 3rd Place: Andre Thieme & HUUPIE [37.940]
FEI CSI2* competition for the season concluded with Saturday's $50,000 FEI Grand Prix. Out of an impressive field of international talent, only New Zealand's Sharn Wordley, with two mounts, and El Salvador's Juan Manuel Bolanos could ride their way into Joey Rycroft's jump-off course. For his first attempt, Wordley set a fast time of 45.06, but dropped a rail on the second jump of the combination. After switching horses, Wordley re-entered the ring with MICK JAGGER, planning a more conservative approach to ensure he made a clean run. Wordley accomplished just that, completing the course in 46.62. Bolanos appeared to be on pace to beat Wordley, but a rail at the final jump relegated him to third place and gave Wordley the top two spots on the podium.
2nd Place: Wordley & VALENTINE CAR [4-faults, 45.06] 3rd Place: Bolanos & ZILOUET MYSTIC ROSE [4-faults, 45.57]
Andre Thieme showed that he is ready to defend his title in the Great American $500,000 Grand Prix by finishing one-two in Sunday's $100,000 HITS Grand Prix. Thieme was the first rider to attempt the jump-off course, setting the Great American Time to Beat of 41.239 with his first mount. After two unsuccessful attempts to beat him, Thieme returned with CELLISTO and bested himself by mere fractions of a second, setting the new Great American Time to Beat at 41.210. None of the five riders to follow could beat the German Olympian and reigning European Champion, giving Thieme his fourth Grand Prix win of the Circuit and great momentum as he attempts to win his third Great American Grand Prix at HITS Ocala.
2nd Place: Thieme & CONACCO [41.239] 3rd Place: Devin Ryan & EDDIE BLUE [42.821]
The Adeptus Leading Jumper Rider Award is presented each week to the rider accumulating the most points in one of the Open 0.65m to 1.40m divisions.
Congratulations to this week's winner: Jenna Post
M&S Junior Medal: Sophie Dupon
Pyranha Children's Medal - Horse: Sutton Suelthaus
Dover Saddlery Adult Medal: Natasha Williams
M&S Junior/Amateur Horsemanship: Emily Ainslie
With a consistently strong performance, Nikki Diamantis earned the win in Saturday's $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Diamantis and KARUSO earned matching scores of 85 in each of the two rounds for a total score of 170.
2nd Place: Ella Witt & CAMMARATA  3rd Place: Tess Lee & VALIANT 
Daniel Geitner claimed the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Diamond Mills Hunter Prix. Geitner's scores of 94 in the first round and 95 in the second round totalled a nearly perfect 189. LORD DON and proud owner Page Flournoy joined Geitner in the winner's circle.
2nd Place: David Wilbur & INFERNO HX  3rd Place: Geitner & PEN AND INK 
Hunter Classic Winners
M&S Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic: Melissa Ofoia & ESPERADO