SAUGERTIES, NY (July 27, 2010) — Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward and Goldika 559 won the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday, marking the third Grand Prix victory for the duo this year in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium at HITS Saugerties.
Ward, of Brewster, New York and 18-year-old mare Goldika 559, owned by McLain Ward & Blue Chip Bloodstock, were one of 27 horse-and-rider combinations to take the field on a course designed by International Course Designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico, which saw just four pairs advance to the jump-off.
Hernandez’s first-round course proved challenging, as the first six competitors pairs failed to go clean, with a majority of faults coming in the two double combinations. The time allowed, at 83 seconds, was tight as well and caused many to incur time faults over the course.
The first clear effort came in the reins of the winner of Friday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Margie Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida on Indigo, owned by Gladewinds Farm Inc.
“It was a difficult course,” said Engle. “The in-and-out to the in-and-out was difficult; it was an oxer to oxer with difficult striding to a vertical to vertical, with very tough planks.”
Three trips later, Ward and Goldika 559 went clean to force a jump-off which had all the makings of a repeat from Friday’s class when Engle finished first and second and Ward finished right behind her in third and fourth.
At the end of the first round, Ward on his second mount, Vocas, owned by Louisburg Farm, and Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, aboard MTM Centano, owned by MTM Farm, composed an all-star jump-off.
With Ward having two mounts in the jump-off, the odds were heavily in his favor to seal a victory, although Engle seemed to have major momentum from Friday’s win and Fenney has a habit of defeating the best of the best.
Engle and Indigo started things off and right away the pair set the Great American Time to Beat at 34.612 seconds in the first double-clear effort.
“He [Indigo] jumped so well and was so fast on Friday that I went as fast I felt comfortable going and he was super,” she said. “I got him around the end of March and he’s been a great horse.”
Ward and Goldika 559 were next to show, taking the lead away from Engle with a clean round in 32.895 seconds, more than two seconds faster that Engle.
With two trips remaining, Ward was next to show aboard Vocas and had another clear effort in 35.867, which would ultimately place third. Fenney and MTM Centano were last to show in the jump-off. Unfortunately, the pair had to settle for fourth place after they dropped a rail which cost them four faults.
Callan Solem, of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, rounded out the top five in the class as she was one of the several riders who suffered a time fault in the first round aboard Torlando Group’s VDL Torlando.
Sunday’s featured class marked Ward’s eighth Grand Prix needed to become eligible for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and he now enters the Eligible Rider Rankings at fourth place. Engle also hit eight Grand Prix classes on Sunday and is now tied for 14th in the Rankings with $29,250 in prize money won on her leading horse Indigo. Fenney sits at number three in the Rankings, while Solem is 10th.
“The footing held up so good in that ring and I think there have been better and better horses competing there in order to qualify, so it’s been very competitive,” said Engle.
Show jumping at HITS Saugerties continues this week with an exciting lineup of classes and events, including the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Friday, July 30, the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Saturday, July 31, and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday, August 1. Also, don’t miss the return of the popular Arenus Puttin’ Plus Party on Friday, July 30 at the Puttin’ Plus mini-golf, go-cart and batting cage facility located across from the show grounds on Washington Avenue.
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.
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
|1||Goldika 559||McLain Ward & Blue Chip Bloodstock||McLain Ward||$15,000||0||0||32.895|
|2||Indigo||Gladewinds Farm Inc.||Margie Engle||$11,000||0||0||34.612|
|3||Vocas||Louisburg Farm||McLain Ward||$6,500||0||0||35.867|
|4||MTM Centano||MTM Farm||Tracy Fenney||$4,000||0||4||33.321|
|5||VDL Torlando||Torlando Group||Callan Solem||$3,000||1|
|6||MTM Timon||MTM Farm||Tracy Fenney||$2,500||4|
|7||Vent Du Nord||Kate Levy, LLC||Kate Levy||$2,000||4|
|8||Oh’ D Eole||McLain Ward||McLain Ward||$1,500||4|
|9||Hidden Creek’s Campella||Hidden Creek Farm||Margie Engle||$1,500||4|
|10||Skara Glen’s Voltan H||Skara Glen Stables||Candice King||$1,000||5|
|11||Renoir du Buisson||Beyaert Farm Inc.||David Tromp||$1,000||8|
|12||Tsarin||Mary & Laura Chapot||Laura Chapot||$1,000||8|
HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • 845.246.6371 Fax • www.HitsShows.com