SAUGERTIES, NY (August 24, 2010) — Todd Minikus and Little Annie, owned by Todd Minikus LTD, captured Sunday’s $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, to highlight the Winston National at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia.
The win marked Minikus’ eighth Grand Prix needed to become eligible for the Pfizer Million and he now enters the top 20 of the Eligible Rider Rankings at number 17.
Minikus, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Little Annie were one of 25 horse-and-rider combinations to ride the course designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida, which saw six pairs advance to the jump-off.
“I thought Jerry [Dougherty] did a great job setting the course and getting six clean,” said Minikus.
Dougherty’s first-round course featured 13 efforts, which included two different combinations. Starting the class was up and coming Grand Prix superstar Kristen VanderVeen on Bull Run’s La Bamba, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc. VanderVeen, of St. Charles, Illinois, who scored a series of ribbons this past winter at HITS Ocala, went clean to kick off the event.
In an exciting turn of events, a showdown appeared to be on the horizon as the next pair of Minikus and his first mount, Romy, owned by the Diamond Group, also produced a clean round to force a jump-off early on in the class.
Two trips later, Conor O’Regan of Ireland and Solerina, owned by Frances O’Regan, added to the excitement of who would emerge victorious when they joined VanderVeen and Minikus with a clear effort.
With 21 competitors remaining, many competitors began to fall victim to challenges on the course. HITS superstars Tracy Fenney on her two mounts MTM Timon and MTM Centano and Candice King on Toronto, owned by AAA Eq LLC, both suffered one time fault each in nail-biting efforts.
At the end of the first round, VanderVeen on her second mount, Bull Run’s Alpha & Omega, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.; Minikus on his winning mount, Little Annie; and Virginia’s Gavin Moylan on Van Gogh, owned by Hugo Yslas, found their way to the jump-off.
First to show in the jump-off was VanderVeen and Bull Run’s La Bamba, who set the Great American Time to Beat at 42.456 seconds to set the pace with the first double-clear effort of the class.
Next to show was Minikus on Romy, who despite having a strong start ended up with eight jumping faults, one refusal and seven time faults for a total of 19 faults in 54.923 seconds.
O’Regan and Solerina returned third and went clean in 46.354 seconds, which ultimately placed third.
VanderVeen returned on her second mount, Bull Run’s Alpha & Omega, and looked to catch her own leading time. The team caught the time in 40.578 seconds, however, a rail down would ultimately place the team fourth.
“It was a great class,” said VanderVeen, who also took second in Friday’s $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Prix. “My horses have been great and I’m really excited for the chance to compete in the Pfizer Million.”
Minikus and Little Annie returned next and quickly took the lead with a clear round in 39.810 seconds that went challenged and pushed VanderVeen and Bull Run’s La Bamba into second place.
Last to show was Moylan and Van Gogh, who had eight faults in 43.289 seconds to place fifth.
After the class, Minikus expressed his thoughts on the day. “Kristen [VanderVeen] had a great round in the jump-off,” said Minikus. “My mare [Little Annie] is so careful, I just let her rip and she handled it very nicely.”
“I’d really like to thank my sponsor, Purina Mills, for all the support they give me,” said Minikus. “I’d also like to thank HITS for the great opportunity to compete in a million dollar class and I’m very excited to be a part of it.”
Thanks to her second-place finish, VanderVeen moved up the Rankings and now sits comfortably at number 28, while Fenney who sits in second place also added to her winnings aboard her leading horse MTM Timon as riders prepare for the final two weeks of qualifiers.
The road to the Pfizer Million continues this week at HITS Culpeper with the Constitution Classic from August 25 through August 29. The $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby will highlight the Constitution Classic before the road to the Pfizer Million makes its final destination at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York, starting Wednesday, September 1.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, including ticket prices that include the special concert by music legend John Fogerty, please visit our website at www.HitsShows.com.
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 will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
$40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
|1||Little Annie||Todd Minikus, LTD||Todd Minikus||$12,000||0||0||39.810|
|2||Bull Run’s La Bamba||Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.||Kristen VanderVeen||$8,800||0||0||42.456|
|3||Solerina||Frances O’Regan||Conor O’Regan||$5,200||0||0||46.354|
|4||Bull Run’s Alpha & Omega||Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.||Kristen VanderVeen||$3,200||0||4||40.578|
|5||Van Gogh||Hugo Yslas||Gavin Moylan||$2,400||0||8||43.289|
|6||Romy||Diamond Group||Todd Minikus||$2,000||0||19||54.923|
|7||Toronto||AAA Eq LLC||Candice King||$1,600||1|
|8||MTM Centano||MTM Farm||Tracy Fenney||$1,200||1|
|9||MTM Timon||MTM Farm||Tracy Fenney||$1,200||1|
|10||Lazaro||Jordan Coyne||Derek Petersen||$800||4|
|11||Chambacunero||TG Show Stables||Manuel Torres||$800||4|
|12||Carigor Z||Patty Stovel||Patty Stovel||$800||4|
HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • 845.246.6371 Fax • www.HitsShows.com