Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hunters: HITS: Culpeper: Jane Gaston Takes the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper

©ESI Photography.
Jane Gaston and Lumiere in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper.

CULPEPER, VA (April 26, 2011)—Amateur rider Jane Gaston jumped one step closer to qualifying for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final on Saturday when she rode her own Lumiere to top honors in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.

Going into the competition on Saturday afternoon Gaston (The Plains, Virginia) already had two of five Devoucoux Qualifiers needed to become eligible. Thanks to Saturday’s first-place finish, she now has 228 points on her leading mount and, perhaps more importantly, another Qualifier in the bag. With just two more Devoucoux Hunter Prix needed to become eligible, Gaston is well on her way to earning a spot in the largest prize money Hunter Prix Final in the world.

Earlier this year, Gaston had two fantastic finishes in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Ocala. During Week III she took first place in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and then two weeks later she finished third in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Both finishes were aboard Lumiere, which is why she now sits in the number two spot in the preliminary Diamond Mills Rider Rankings.

“It’s too much prize money for me not to try,” said Gaston. “This is the one class I wanted to show in and it was a lot of fun to do so. Plus, it’s a bonus to be able to get another [Devoucoux]qualifier right in my own backyard at HITS Culpeper.”

In Saturday’s feature class for hunters, Gaston and Lumiere were the top pair to show over course designer Rian Beals’ (Saugerties, New York) first-round track and scored an 89 to take a commanding lead that would not be relinquish. After the opening round, fellow Amateur Alisa Berry (Sweet Briar, Virginia) and her own Resilient were in the number two spot after they scored an 85, while Sarah Lane (Chester Springs, Pennsylvania) and Shoal Creek Stables’ Kenya sat in third place with a score of 82 heading into the handy.

“Even though I had a nice lead, I thought anything could happen in the second round,” said Gaston. “It’s a tricky sport and I knew I had to be on my game for the handy round.”

© ESI Photography.
Jane Gaston and Lumiere are congratulated by HITS’ Holly Bachor after winning The $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Culpeper.

The top 15 returned for the second round and Gaston added to her lead when she scored an 81 for a total of 170 to emerge as the winner and capture the first-place check! Berry and Resilient were fueled by a second-round score of 77for a total of 162 to take home the red ribbon, while Callan Solem (Glenmore, Pennsylvania) took third place aboard Barbara Scott’s Cinderella after they put forth a brilliant effort in the second round to earn a total score of 161.5.

Also excelling in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix was Professional rider Jason Berry (Sweet Briar, Virginia). Berry, who had two horses in the Devoucoux class, joined his wife Alisa Berry in the ribbons with a fourth-place finish aboard Alyson Booth’s Dominus and a ninth-place effort aboard Sarah Lightbody’s Primetime.

Rounding out the top five in the class was Savannah Jenkins (Virginia Beach, Virginia) and Sarah Boudreau’s Nobska Point. For a complete list of results from the HITS Commonwealth National, please click here.

HITS Culpeper will host four more Devoucoux Qualifiers in July and August when the Showday National (July 6-10), the Cavalier Classic (July 13-17), the Winston National (August 17-21) and Constitution Classic (August 24-28) will each offer a $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix.

The road to the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final now heads north to Saugerties, New York where the next three $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Qualifiers will be offered at the HITS-on-the-Hudson Spring Series, May 25 – June 12. After the July Culpeper shows, HITS Saugerties will host three more $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Qualifiers at its Summer Series, July 20 – August 7. After the August Culpeper shows, HITS Saugerties will host the final Devoucoux Hunter Prix Qualifier on Saturday, September 4.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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