Crete, IL – May 19, 2017 – The new HITS Balmoral Park show series offers weekly hunter derby options to exhibitors including the Devoucoux Hunter Prix, the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and the USHJA National Hunter Derby. Competitors can qualify for big cash at the HITS Championships in Saugerties, NY, September 6th-10th by qualifying and competing in the $100,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final for junior and amateur riders and the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, open to all riders.
The Showplace Spring Spectacular series in June at Balmoral Park will carry on the Chicago tradition of Derby Tuesday offering a special VIP lunch along with a $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby presented by Bull Run Farm, a $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, a $2,500 Balmoral Children’s Adult Hunter Derby and a $2,500 USHJA Pony Derby. The day is a favorite for exhibitors and spectators alike with a big grand prix atmosphere featuring top hunters from across the country.
During the second official show week at the new venue, derbies took over the main hunter ring. The winner in the $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was Donna Struve’s Sabrina with Josey Gentry in the tack. Sabrina was bred and raised by Struve and trainers Scott and Josey Gentry of Bristol, Wisconsin. Sabrina is no stranger to the winner’s circle with numerous tri-color ribbons attached to her name. In 2012, she was named the Sallie B Wheeler US National Hunter Breeding Champion. Sabrina, a 2011 foal, (Cabardino x Tapestry) was handled by Bucky Reynolds at the championship. Struve also took home the J. Arthur Reynolds Memorial Trophy as the breeder of the Overall Grand Champion. In addition, Sabrina also won the Dave Kelley Perpetual Trophy donated by Nokomis Farm for being the Overall Grand Champion. In 2013, the chestnut mare was the Best Young Horse at Devon. The mare has earned numerous championships under tack as well, working her way up the ranks in the Baby Green division and the Green Conformation division.
Struve and the Gentry’s spend the winters at their farm in Ocala, Florida, and show at the HITS Ocala shows. Many Tapestry Farm babies get their start at Struve’s Ocala farm where her favorite pass time is playing with the youngsters and planning the next breeding season.
“This was Sabrina’s first Hunter Prix,” commented Scott Gentry. “I thought she jumped beautifully. She’s still a young, green horse. Jumping the beautiful courses here at Balmoral the last two weeks has really raised her game.”
Second went to McKenna Nagy’s Calvin with Kathleen Caya of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and third went to Molly McAdow of Long Grove, Illinois, and Lanie Bricker’s Quattro 39.
The $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby put Taylor Battaglia, Woodstock, Illinois, in the winner’s circle with Rodriguez TR, owned by Katherine Werthman.
“The Balmoral facility is absolutely stunning!” commented Battaglia. “I was very proud of Doc’s [Rodriguez TR] performance in an arena he has never stepped foot in! I’m very thankful that the Werthman family allowed me to pilot their horse. Doc holds a very special place in my heart because I broke him out as a baby and shortly after sold him to the Werthmans. It was a great experience and I look forward to many more!”
Trainer Katie Leverick of Millennium Farm, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, took second and third with Char Suter’s Bisous followed by her second horse, Dreaming Out Loud.
“When we toured a month ago we were so excited to get here and start showing and once we got here, it exceeded our expectations,” said Leverick. “The facility is beautiful and so well done, the footing is incredible and our horses couldn’t be happier! The derbies have been well designed and I’m excited to get back for more in June at Spring Spectacular.”
Winning the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix for the second week in a row was Tameron Peterson of Foristell, Missouri, and Ingram Hill. Peterson rides with Jeannine Lamb-Hugi and Winter Meadow Farm in Mundelein, Illinois. Lamb-Hugi also spends some of the winter at HITS Ocala.
“My horse is as comfortable at Balmoral as he is at home,” remarked Peterson. “Since he’s happy here he can do his best. It’s been fun.”
Junior and amateur hunter competition takes place over the weekend featuring Marshall & Sterling and WIHS classics for all qualifying divisions.
For more information on the Showplace Spring Spectacular series visit www.hitsshows.com.
635. $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
result horse / owner rider
1 Rodriguez TR
Katherine Werthman Taylor Battaglia
Char Suter Katie Leverick
3 Dreaming Out Loud
Char Suter Katie Leverick
Jenna Sack Liz Atkins
5 Ingram Hill
Flying Hill Farm Tameron Petersen
Margaret Papka Abigail Papka
7 High Time
Deborah Perkins Molly Alvarez
8 Icaris Vede
Donald Stewart Gia Gulino
631. $2,500 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
result horse / owner rider
Donna Struve Josey Gentry
McKenna Nagy Kathleen Caya
3 QUATTRO 39
Lanie Bricker Molly McAdow
Sarah Howe Lisa Goldman
Molly McAdow Molly McAdow
Dudley B Smith Paige Matthies
About HITS Balmoral Park:
HITS purchased the historic Balmoral Park Race Track in 2016 after harness racing ended in December of 2015. The property has a long history dating back to 1925, hosting famous race horses such as triple crown winner, Whirlaway, and the country’s top jockeys such as Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Jr, and Julie Krone. In 1991, the track became Chicago’s premiere harness racing track.
HITS has renovated the venue to add 9 show rings and adjacent warm-up rings with all weather footing and completely updated 23 barns with brand new stalls and rubber mats, while keeping the history of the park alive. The climate controlled grandstand offers space for spectators, vendors, VIP and corporate seating.
Partnering with Pat Boyle and Showplace Productions, the 13 week show series offers world class show jumping in the Midwest, featuring USHJA International and National Hunter Derbies, FEI classes and the USHJA Children’s Adult Jumper Championships. HITS offers $15 million in prize money annually through all of its venues including Ocala, Saugerties, Thermal and Culpeper.
For more information visit www.hitsshows.com.