Comissario and Morgan Ward Cash In to Win $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala
Ocala, Fla. – January 28, 2023 – Morgan Ward once again returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday, this time aboard Comissario after garnering the top score during the $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix. Turning in impressive scores of 85 and 86, the pair jumped to victory just ahead of Alexa Bayko, who claimed two of the top three spots with All of Me and MTM Dixon, respectively.
Morgan Ward and Comissario. Photo by ESI
“Comissario is my solid citizen that I've had for a few years and we’ve accomplished a lot of big wins,” smiled Ward. “He is my main man – the spoiled rotten king of the barn! I don't ever ride him with a bridle at home. He would jump around this derby with no bridle if it were allowed. He's the sweetest horse in the world!”
Alexa Bayko and All of Me. Photo by ESI
Ward’s partnership with Comissario was showcased in the ring as they gave a brilliant performance during both classic rounds of the $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix. Their first round was awarded an 85, and they returned to the ring on a mission to capture the winning title. With a smooth and flowing gallop throughout the course, they earned an 86 for a total score of 171. Bayko followed closely with All of Me and MTM Dixon, placing second aboard All of Me with a score of 170, just one point behind Ward. MTM Dixon earned a two-round total of 167.5 for the third-place honors.
Alexa Bayko and MTM Dixon. Photo by ESI Photography
“Comissario felt really good this week,” said Ward after her win. “He was on it and he felt fantastic from the start. We just wanted consistency. I had a bit more pace in round two and got a better score, but he is a big kick ride. You can gallop to anything, and he just jumps phenomenally.”
Ward concluded, “The footing at HITS is fantastic. All my horses have been jumping great these past two weeks, so I've been very pleased with it. The staff has been amazing. I love how everything is a little bit more friendly. It feels like home to me, so I'm happy to be back. We're aiming for the big derby next with Comissario, and then when we get home, we'll be doing HITS Saugerties and HITS Vermont.”
Hunter action at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will continue next week with the third $5,000 HITS Hunter Prix and the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Horses and riders hoping to make their derby debuts will have the opportunity to showcase their skills during the Post Time 2'6" and 2’ Hunter Derbies. Top horses and riders should mark their calendars today for the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies, which will be held during Weeks 4 and 9 at Post Time Farm. For more information visit the horse show office or www.hitsshows.com.