Leone Kicks Off the American Gold Cup with a Win aboard Tiffany
Wellington, FL – September 14, 2012 – In one of the most justifiably difficult courses of the fall season, Olympian Peter Leone and Monica Carrera’s Lincourt Gino delivered an enormous effort at HITS Saugerties for the coveted Pfizer Million on Sunday, September 9th. A large crowd of spectators silently followed Leone as he skillfully piloted Gino around the course, leaving all the rails in place until the final fence, where the pair had an unfortunate rail. In the end, only three riders went clear in the first round to return for the jump off.
“This course was his biggest yet and he met the challenge,” said Leone proudly of the big bay Irish Sporthorse gelding. Gino is a favorite of the Lionshare Farm staff for his kind and affectionate disposition.
In an interview for PhelpsSports.com, course designer Olaf Peterson Jr. shared the high degree of difficulty he planned into the Pfizer Million course. “I designed this course with the scopey horse in mind as well as a rider who could solve a lot,” he said.
SAUGERTIES, NY (September 10, 2012) – While the tunes of concert headliner Michael McDonald played in the background, McLain Ward soaked in another Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix victory last night. After riding to a win in the inaugural event in 2010 aboard the famed mare Sapphire, Ward returned to glory, this time in the irons of Grant Road Partners, LLC’s Antares F, who is fresh off the Olympic Games in London.
“With being injured and trying to qualify for the Olympics, our schedule was a little unpredictable this year, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of this class and it was a great thing to aim this horse to at the end of his year,” said Ward. “The jumps were beautiful and the course was hard. You needed a real Olympic caliber horse to jump a lot of those obstacles.”
Ward of Brewster, New York was one of three riders to produce clear rounds over Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s intimidating track. Petersen tested riders with scope, turns, distances and everything in between. The 14-obstacle course offered several options for both approaches and striding, but specifically tested riders at a one-stride to a one-stride triple combination at fence 11. He also included a four-meter wide water element and a long two-stride double combination early in the course.
SAUGERTIES, NY (September 3, 2012) – Despite already being qualified for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, Therese Peck and her own MTM Off the Cuff sealed the deal after they rode to victory in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Wild Card at HITS Saugerties. Peck, who hails from Flower Mound, Texas, rides under the direction of Michael McCormick and is more than ready to make her second appearance at HITS Championship Weekend.
“Last year I rode a four-year-old in the final and I am really excited to ride him [MTM Off the Cuff]this year,” said Peck about the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding. “He is a real trooper and basically ready for anything.”
Peck’s win this weekend served as her 2012 Saugerties debut and first Devoucoux Hunter Prix victory of the year. She pocketed the win, however, on unfamiliar territory as it was her first time to see the new Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson.
“The course was great,” she said. “We don’t get so see a lot of hills and banks and we had so much fun with it. I am really excited for next weekend.”
SAUGERTIES, NY (August 31, 2012) – After winning four in a row during Weeks V and VI at HITS Saugerties this summer, Laura Chapot is off to another great start as she and Mary Chapot’s Umberto rode to a win in today’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. They topped a field of 30 horses who rode over Jerry Dougherty’s track and pocketed the last $25,000 grand prix before HITS Championship Weekend arrives September 7-9.
Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida set a 13-obstacle course, which included 16 jumping efforts. He tripped up most riders with a one-stride to a two-stride triple combination at fence eight and a tight one-stride double at fence eleven. The two combinations alone ruined all hope for clear rounds for nine riders, while eleven persevered to the jump-off.
“You never know what you are going to get on Friday because the field is so mixed – there are a lot of young horses here and there are a lot of horses who are in it to prepare for Sunday’s grand prix,” said Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey. “But, all-in-all, I think the course was really nice and I was very pleased with how my horses jumped it.”
SAUGERTIES, NY (July 22, 2012) – With a win in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix at HITS Saugerties, Ellen Toon and her own Invincible picked up their fifth qualifying class and are on their way to HITS Championship Weekend for their second appearance in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.
“I was a little rusty coming into this class,” admitted Toon of South Salem, New York. “But, he [Invincible] is such a seasoned and enthusiastic competitor, he always makes me feel more confident. As soon as he picked up a canter in the ring, I knew we were going to have a good day.”
Saturday’s Devoucoux Hunter Prix took place in the newly debuted Outside Course at HITS-on-the-Hudson and featured a dynamic track built by Rian Beals of Saugerties, New York.
“Jumping off the bank was really nice and made for a fun first round,” said Toon. “The footing in this new ring gets better and better each week.”
SAUGERTIES, NY (July 20, 2012) – Summer show jumping got underway at HITS Saugerties this week as Schuyler Riley and M. Michael Meller’s Waterloo clinched first place in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Riley of Wellington, Florida and Meller’s nine-year-old Warmblood topped a four-horse jump-off and posted the only double clear round of the day for the win.
Olaf Petersen, Sr. of Paehl, Germany set a first round, which offered a dynamic 13-obstacle course with several bending lines and rollbacks in between. The first of two combinations was a double at four, which proved to be a challenge for many, dashing any hope of a fault-free round for over half the field.
“This was a really nice size course and it offered a lot of different questions,” said Riley. “Once I picked a track and committed, it rode beautifully.”
SAUGERTIES, NY (June 12, 2012) – Jimmy Torano continued to impress at HITS Saugerties when he captured the top prize in Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Kathryn Haefner, LLC’s Venza to highlight HITS-on-the-Hudson III.
Torano of SW Ranches, Florida is now a repeat winner in the featured class for hunter riders as he took home top honors during HITS-on-the-Hudson I aboard Venza. On Saturday, Torano bested 64 horse-and-rider combinations that showed over Rian Beals’ first round course and the top 12 that returned for round two.
“It’s been a successful couple of weeks here in Saugerties,” said Torano. “There were more than 60 in this class and that shows how popular it has become. Anytime you need a pair of 90s to win a class shows how tight the competition really was.”
With two wins in the bag, Torano is well on his way to making an appearance in September’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final in Saugerties, New York.