Damico Dominates in $25,000 Alliant Private Client Grand Prix 

Jan. 25, 2024 – Ocala, FL – A full slate of competition resumed at the HITS Post Time Farm as the second week of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit kicked off. The circuit plays host to ten weeks of top-knotch classes and riders from the most beginner to advanced levels. Featured jumper competition debuted on Thursday as 20 exhibitors sat at the ready for the $25,000 Alliant Private Client Grand Prix. After the lead changed hands several times, Dominique Damico earned the top honors aboard Amberfax Farm Inc’s 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Plot Blue), Jamaica. 

The combinations contesting Ivan Tagle’s first round track brought their A-game on Thursday afternoon as nine entries went on to advance to the short course. The class’s second starting order was stacked with stunningly-fast riders including the likes of Derek Petersen, Jared Petersen, Hunter Holloway, and Damico making up just part of the field. With consistently good results throughout the venue’s December horse shows, Damico and Jamaica had been knocking at the door of a win and were hungry for the victory. 

Dominique Damico stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

“I thought the course jumped really nice and there were a couple questions about strides that Jamaica handled really well, so I was really pleased to go clear,” detailed Damico. “I went last so it gave me some reference for time, because there were for sure a lot of fast riders in the class.” 

For Damico, the win was a challenge, but one she was confident she could tackle as long as she had Jamaica with her.

“He is so fast and careful, that I knew if I set him up to do his job, he could win the class,” she described of her longtime partner. “I’ve been riding him since he was seven years old and have produced him up to this level, so I know him very well. He’s not big but in these types of situations I actually think it gives him an advantage. He’s incredibly fast and careful.”

Derek Petersen and his 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zirocco Blue VDL), Zechariah, looked to hold the class lead with their time of 36.44 seconds down to the very last ride when Damico sliced mere milliseconds off the clock and finished in 36.39 seconds. Under the guidance of Lisa Goldman-Smolen, Barbara Disko’s 18-year-old Selle Francais stallion, Sovereign, rounded out the victory gallop with a fault-free finish in 37.32 seconds.

The week started off with a win from the power duo of Marylisa Leffler and Rolling Acres LLC’s Za Za Z in the $2,500 Parlanti Open Welcome. The pair began a wildly successful start to 2024 with multiple wins at the Sarasota Winter Classic before bringing their talents back to HITS Ocala for the winter.