Ocala, FL (February 29, 2016): The Platinum Performance Hunter Prix boasted an increased prize purse of $5,000 in Week VI of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit as competitors rallied for a shot in the top placings and a slice of the money.
Thirty-one horses challenged the 13-fence course in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium for the blue-ribbon, but only one horse and rider could take home the winner’s share. Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, equestrian Amy Lloyd Thompson piloted Paramount, owned by Jeffrey Ayers, to the top of the leaderboard in the two-round Classic to garner the victory.
Eleven returned to the ring for the second round beginning with Rachael Hopkins of Ashland, Massachusetts, and US Marshall, owned by Kiki Hopkins. They improved their first round score of a 69 to an 80 for a total score of 149, which would ultimately earn them fifth-place and their third top five finish of the Ocala Winter Circuit.
Seventh to return was Kristine D’Andrea of Orange, Connecticut, aboard her own Zoe. D’Andrea and her black mare took to the course and gracefully finished the second round with a score of 79, combined with their first-round score of 77 for a total of 156, earning them third-place for their efforts.
The last three trips to enter the ring put on a show as all remaining trips scored in the 80’s to round out the top five finishes. Thompson and Paramount were the first of the three to contest the course. They were awarded a second-round score of 81, which combined with their first-round score of 84 gave them a total of 165 for the lead.
Following Thompson was Rochester, New York, rider Sydney DeGrazia aboard Extraordinary. They put in a precise second round to earn a score of 82, which combined with their first round score of 81 gave them a total of 163, just behind Thompson for the eventual second-place.
Fourth-place went to the final trip of the $5,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix, Jaqueline Maggiore of South Boston, Massachusetts, and Contina. They earned a first round score of 69.5, improving to an 80.5 in the second round to claim fourth with a total of 150.