Edited Press Release
Dec. 17, 2023 – Ocala, FL – As the clouds parted and the wind swept the soggy remnants of the previous day’s torrential downpour from the showgrounds at HITS Post Time Farm, just under thirty combinations geared up for the week’s finale event. The Ocala Holiday Classic hosted a slew of jumper, equitation, and hunter classes and boasted a new WCHR rating as the final week of competition before the new year. A harrowing state-wide storm looked like it could cause an early end to the weekend for shows across Florida, but the improvements made to the property proved advantageous and the afternoon’s featured class carried on without incident. With his first of three mounts, local Sharn Wordley earned the top call after putting forth two clear efforts and an unbeatable time on Valentine Car.
Oscar Soberon designed the day’s pinnacle track as 25 pairs made their final preparations. The track produced only five faultless first-round efforts as jump four proved especially tricky for several competitors.
“I think that jump had a little bit tighter right hand turn on an already tough turn to go around,” explained Wordley. “The first round time was agreeable so I gave myself a bit more space to that particular fence than some others.”
Ultimately Wordley’s successful first round came with a more familiar mount to him, the 14-year-old Warmblood gelding (Son of Juan Car) owned by Fernando Cardenas, as his other two partners for the day were less familiar. As the first to produce a good effort in round one, Wordley was first back into the ring for round two where he matched his previous efforts with another clean round and a daunting time of 36.51 seconds.
“Derek Petersen is always very fast and he was coming up behind me, so I had to go fast enough to make sure we put the pressure on him,” he detailed. “I think particularly on the rollback to the vertical was where I was a bit quicker. Oscar built a nice track for the group of horses that were here and the jump off flowed nicely.”
The class’s success was a testament to more than just Wordley’s riding ability, as the arena in which he secured his win also boasts Wordley-Martin footing, and was well ready for the event.
“The footing was great, and they were actually even watering it this morning,” he laughed. “It rode really well and while I am a little biased, I am also the first to tell you if I don’t like the footing. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.”
Derek Petersen and his nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zirocco Blue VDL) Zechariah were hot on Wordley’s heels and ultimately took the second place with a time of 37.42 seconds. Dominique Damico and Amberfax Farm, Inc’s nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Plot Blue) Jamaica rounded out the victory gallop as the only other double-clear contenders and a time of 40.40 seconds. Competition at the HITS Post Time Farm will resume with the highly-anticipated winter circuit kicking off on January 16, 2024. For a full list of results, please visit showmanagementsystem.com.