©ESI Photography. With Wings delivered Karen Polle a belated birthday present when he carried her to a win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.
SAUGERTIES, NY (July 26, 2013) – After turning 21 on Thursday, Karen Polle of New York, New York and With Wings celebrated with a blue ribbon in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. Under clear blue skies, Polle and With Wings were definitely sporting their wings, riding to an impressively quick jump-off round and ultimately topping an original field of 50 contenders.
A star-studded field, including the likes of Margie Engle, Peter Wylde and McLain Ward took to a course set by Olaf Petersen, Sr. of Paehl, Germany, with Polle among them on two mounts. The course was certainly not lacking in height and tested both horse and rider in the first round with a double combination at the fourth fence and a bending line to a triple combination at fence eight. In total, Petersen set 13 obstacles, which included 16 jumping efforts. Faults were spread evenly throughout the course, but a wide oxer at fence 13 proved to be the heartbreaker of the day, delivering rails to 15 pairs.
Polle got her introduction to the course early, as she and her own Bottom Line jumped first in the order. “It’s always so nerve racking to be first in the ring – I am not a fan of going first, but today I think it actually worked in my favor. I had plenty of time to think through my round on With Wings having already jumped the course once,” said Polle.
Friday’s win was the second grand prix victory for Polle, but her first in the irons of With Wings. “He is such an amazing jumper and he has a huge stride,” said Polle of her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “He was really brave and careful out there today. Most of the time his biggest problem is getting in the ring, but once he’s in there he is always focused.”
In the first round, the order was only three deep when Lillie Keenan of New York, New York piloted Pumped Up Kicks to the first clear of the day. She was later joined by eight others, including Polle aboard With Wings for a nine-horse jump-off. Keenan returned first in the jump-off to set an immediate Great American Time to Beat with a clear round in 44.96 seconds on the horse she fondly calls “Kicks”. She stayed at the helm for three more trips until veteran Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida bested her time with a clear round in 44.76 seconds on Indigo, owned by Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek & Gladwinds.
Engle’s lead was short lived as Polle and With Wings entered the ring next and shaved a full two seconds off her time. Their turns were tight and their strides were huge as the pair clocked a final time of 42.73 seconds. “I was really nervous because I knew the ones behind me were going to be fast,” said Polle. Michael Dorman of Wellington, Florida, Sarah Segal of New York, New York and Ward of Brewster, New York were still left to ride. “With Wings has a huge stride, so I definitely took advantage of that and I tried to make my turns as tight as possible to leave strides out. He’s not always the fastest galloper, so I really pushed and I got lucky.”
Segal, aboard Robert Segal’s Ramses, laid down a clear round after Polle, but could not top her time, finishing in 44.11 seconds for second. Engle was third, while Keenan ended the day in fourth. Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania capped the top five with a four-fault jump-off round in 46.81 seconds.
Ward was sixth with Ilan Ferder’s Czardas 30 and ninth with his own Zander. Dorman finished seventh with his own Valinski S, and Todd Minikus was eighth aboard his own Quality Girl.
Grand prix competition will return to the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday with the $75,000 AIG Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. Viewers will be able to catch Sunday’s action by tuning into a live webcast on HRTV.com. The class begins at 2pm. As anticipation climbs for September’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Championship Weekend, riders have set their sights on the race to qualify. Once eligible, the start order for the prestigious event will be determined by a rider’s money won on their leading horse. Keep tabs on all Zoetis Million qualifying action at HitsShows.com.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida is two-for-two this summer in the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. He and Polle’s UDonnay Z picked up their second win in a row on Wednesday, topping 46 pairs over the 1.4m course. Ronan McGuigan of Fair Hills, New Jersey piloted his own Capall Z to second and Minikus answered back with a third-place finish on Kathryn Haefner, LLC’s Babalou 41.
Peter Wylde of Lake Worth, Florida was fourth on Winley Farm, LLC’s Wiesielottie and Laura Chapot rounded out the top five aboard Mary Chapot’s Shooting Star.
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation presents the Brook Ledge Open Welcome every week, and will award a $1500 shipping credit to the Brook Ledge Leading Rider at the end of the circuit. The Brook Ledge Leading Rider will be the rider who accumulates the most points in the Brook Ledge Open Welcome classes throughout the HITS Saugerties circuit.
SmartPak Equine was founded in 1999 with the purpose of simplifying the administration of nutritional supplements and medications to horses. The patented SmartPak supplement feeding system has been adopted by thousands of barns and horse owners across the country, who value knowing that their supplements will be fed correctly. It has been embraced by riders from all disciplines and all levels, including seven Olympic medalists. In addition to the SmartPak supplement system, the company offers a broad line of horse health and rider items, dog supplies, and equine and canine pharmacy items sold through the company’s catalog and Web site.
SmartPak continues to find innovative ways to support and expand throughout the equestrian community. From their sponsorship of equine events at all levels of riding, their support of top riders through the Team SmartPak program, to the aid of equine nonprofits and organizations in need, SmartPak is committed to supporting the equine communities that it serves.
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