Edited Press Release
Dec. 15, 2023 – Ocala, FL – Shadbellies and shining coats densely populated the warm up area of Hunter One at the HITS Post Time Farm on Friday afternoon as the stage was set for the week’s hunter highlight: the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Hosting yet another week of top-tier hunter, jumper, and equitation competition, the Ocala Holiday Classic proved to have an extra special air to it this year as it boasted a newly-acquired World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) status. Besting a field of top hunter combinations, Isaac Leffkowitz and Casimir Ice capped off the day with the final first-place finish.
Taking the final track in Hunter One on Friday, top combinations contested the tidy design of the hunt-and-go track to contend for top honors in the highlight event. Leffkowitz’s partner is one he’s built up rapport with for several years and the pair’s confidence in each other showed throughout their performance.
“I thought he was just wonderful,” he gushed of his self-owned 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding. “He has been a really incredible horse for me in the few years I have had him and today was no different. I think he likes this venue as well.”
As far as Leffkowitz’s round, some added handiness towards the ‘go’ portion of the hunt-and-go track appeared to be the winning strategy.
“He jumped all of the jumps in the first half great,” he continued. “To the hay bales I decided I was going to be a little more handy and I immediately did a tight rollback to do a direct line to the single oxer across the middle, which ended up working out great for him.”
Following closely on the combination’s heels was Dorothy Douglas to take the reserve with Nina Koloseike’s seven-year-old Holsteiner gelding MTM Ahoy. Young professional Morgan Ward rounded out the top three on the Morlynn Farm’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Denmark.
Tim Maddrix Has Legendary Performance with Legend
Earlier in the day in Hunter One, the week’s derby day kicked off with a winning performance from Tim Maddrix and Missy Nolen’s five-year-old Warmblood gelding Legend. In a moment that was perhaps even more legendary than his name, Maddrix piloted the young gelding to the top of the leaderboard in the horse’s first ever derby competition.
“He actually just started in the 3’0” Green Hunter division this week, so we were kind of just hoping to get around today,” Maddrix chuckled. “He jumped spectacularly. I like the hunt-and-go format and I thought the course rode great; there were some good options for turns and places you could be handy, and somehow my horse who has never done a handy before ended up being pretty handy!”
Maddrix believes Legend to have a bright future ahead of him with both himself and his owner as he steps into the winter season.
“We purchased him over the summer, so we plan to do some more Green Hunter classes this winter and some derbies, and then hopefully she will get to take over the ride next year,” he explained.
Hayley Waters Wear earned the runner-up position aboard Chuck Waters’ eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding Genuine, while David Jennings and Due North, the nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Libby Hott, secured the final spot in the victory gallop.
Tracy Fenney Takes Over with Cool Girl PS
Across the HITS Post Time Farm in the Grand Prix Ring on Friday, Tracy Fenney nailed a fast and flawless round in the $10,000 HITS Open Prix to take the win with Cool Girl PS. Just under thirty duos tested their luck against the track but, as she often does, Fenney meant business. With a blazing time of 42.24 seconds, she narrowly inched out the week’s Welcome Stake winner, Jared Petersen.
“She can be a little bit rowdy riding but the jumps are always really good,” Fenney confessed of the MTM Farm’s eight-year-old Oldenburg mare (Casallco). “She wants to jump and be careful always. All of the horses are so at ease here and, from the footing to the weather, today couldn’t have been prettier.”
Petersen just missed the mark as he came in at 42.25 seconds aboard Charm City Sport Horses, LLC’s 11-year-old Westphalian gelding (Contendro I) Cupido. Adding a mere fraction to the time, Carly Campbell-Cooper and John Jamieson’s eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding Baretino PS delivered the next best round with a time of 42.41 seconds to land in third place.
Competition at HITS Post Time Farm will resume Saturday, December 16, 2023. For a full schedule visit showmanagementsystem.com.