SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (June 6, 2011) — McLain Ward, aboard Oh’ D Eole, has taken HITS-on-the-Hudson by storm, capturing Sunday’s $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and earning his third consecutive Grand Prix victory. Ward also clinched the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson I on his own Oh’ D Eole last Sunday, and Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Domino.
The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist of Brewster, New York, outshined 28 starters on Sunday’s course designed by Danny Foster of Canada.
“It’s been incredible. [Oh’ D Eole] is really gaining a lot of momentum in the Grand Prix ring and this circuit has been great for us so far,” said Ward. “Danny [Foster] has always been consistent with building good courses and proved that again today with a really nice track.”
Foster’s first-round course proved difficult as nearly half the 28-entry class fell victim to his double and triple combinations. The course did not see a clear round until the eighth go, when Ward posted a time of 87.380 seconds – 4.619 seconds faster than the time allowed. Overall, the course only produced three clear rounds. Isabelle LaPierre of Breakeyville, Quebec, Canada in the irons of La Chaudiere Farm’s Vicki Vale joined Ward and posted the second clear round after 13 unsuccessful trips. Darragh Kerins of Wellington, Florida on Miranda Fischer’s Hot Wheels joined Ward and LaPierre in the jump-off after posting the third and final clear ride in the first round.
Foster’s short course consisted of eight efforts, including the A element from the double combination and the B and C elements of the triple. Ward rose to challenge and posted a time of 45.904 seconds with no faults in the jump-off, setting the Great American Time to Beat.
“This horse is very fast,” commented Ward. “I’m able to make a lot of nice, neat inside turns with her and she does it beautifully. She’s still a fairly young horse and she has a ton of scope. I’m just very pleased with how it all turned out today.”
The third fence of the jump-off spelled trouble for LaPierre and Vicki Vale. With one rail down, they finished with four jumping faults and eight time faults with a time of 57.064 seconds, placing them in third.
Kerins rode third in the jump-off with a chance to avenge Friday’s second-place ribbon under Ward. He came up short, however, knocking down one rail for four faults with a time of 47.505 seconds and, once again, finished behind Ward. As a pair, Kerins and Hot Wheels have been out of the Grand Prix spotlight for three years, but they have made a spectacular re-entry with two red ribbons in a row on the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix.
Rounding out the top five was Germaine Edelmann of Rexford, New York aboard Blue River Farm Sales’ Carotino, who had just two time faults in the first round, leaving them in fourth place. Kate Levy of Wellington, on Kate Levy LLC & Christian Woshenko’s Lirving De Volsin, finished in fifth place after having a rail down at the third fence of the first round.
“This was an awesome class,” said course designer Danny Foster. “McLain is the best rider in the world. What he’s able to do is truly amazing and he makes it look simple. It is exciting to have three in the jump-off and it leaves no room for error.”
HITS-on-the-Hudson III begins this week and will conclude the Spring Series of horse shows in Saugerties, New York. The $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, will take place Friday, June 10, while the $100,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, will provide the exclamation point to three weeks of competition and the last chance to earn huge prize money this spring. As the road to the Pfizer Million prepares to travel south to Culpeper, Virginia for the start of the summer circuit on July 6, all eyes will be set this week on the action in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium.
$75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
|1||Oh’ D Eole||McLain Ward||McLain Ward||$22,500||0||0||45.904|
|2||Hot Wheels||Miranda Fischer||Darragh Kerins||$16,500||0||4||47.505|
|3||Vicki Vale||La Chaudiere Farm||Isabelle LaPierre||$9,750||0||12||57.064|
|4||Carotino||Blue River Farm Sales||Germaine Edelmann||$6,000||2|
|5||Lirving De Volsin||Kate Levy LLC & Christian Woshenko||Kate Levy||$4,500||4|
|6||Lapacco||South Beach Stables||Schuyler Riley||$3,750||4|
|7||Game Ready||Susan Grange||Yann Candele||$3,000||4|
|8||Wannahave||The Wannahave Group||Darragh Kenny||$2,250||4|
|9||Urame||Oakwood Stables||Todd Minikus||$2,250||4|
|10||Colorado||Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, Inc.||Andrew Bourns||$1,500||4|
|11||Ultimo||Stransky’s Mission||Hector Florentino||$1,500||4|
|12||HH Calvano||Double H Farm||Quentin Judge||$1,500||4|