OCALA, FL (March 7, 2012) – Emma Sullivan of Lafayette, Louisiana rode to victory under the lights on Saturday in the $15,000 Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper classic at HITS Ocala. She and Thinkslikeahorse’s Elder were the winning pair out of 65 who showed over International Course Designer Jack Robson’s first and second round tracks.
“I was so excited when I won – it was unbelievable! I really love this horse and he has been so much fun to ride,” said Sullivan. “It was a really difficult course and I saw some really fast rounds, so I knew the last turn to fence four had to be tight enough to win. You always risk a rail, but luckily we did it. I’d really like to thank my trainer, Aaron Vale, for everything and letting me ride this great horse, and my parents for being there.”
Robson, of Coronado, California presented 12 obstacles in the first round and repeated six in the jump-off with plenty of challenges in between.
“There were a lot of bending lines and some of the horses were spooked by the lights and several jumps,” said Sullivan. “The line to the triple combination was difficult, as was fence three to the in-and-out because you had to turn right past the in-gate – it got a lot of horses.”
Sullivan and Elder were one of 18 pairs to return for the jump-off and were second to last in the order. Her main objectives of tight turns and speed paid off as she went clear in 27.89 seconds for the win.
First to go in the jump-off was Stephanie Novas, who went clear and posted a time of 28.37 seconds. She and Lance Williamson’s Fastbreak finished in third. Seven rounds later, Alex Loiselle stole the lead from Novas in the irons of Erika Christie’s Vendetta with a clear round in 28.19 seconds. Loiselle ultimately finished with the red ribbon. Rounding out the top five was T. J. O’Mara aboard Thinkslikeahorse’s Pistol with a jump-off time of 28.98 seconds in fourth and Andrea Torres Guerreiro on TG Show Stables’ CRF Tatabra Mitzi in fifth with a second round time of 29.05 seconds.
Hunter and Grand Prix riders look to get qualified
Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas kicked off the action in the Grand Prix ring with a win in Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Of the 31 entered in the class, Fenney led 20 pairs into Robson’s jump-off. He presented a 14-effort first round course and added some technical turns and demanding speed in the jump-off. Fenney and MTM Centano’s 29.25 second round was clear and gave them the win. She and MTM Farm’s MTM Timon, finished in 29.70 seconds to clinch second place. Joining Fenney in the top three was Derek Petersen of Archer, Florida. He and his own Via Dolorosa posted a time of 31.04 seconds in the jump-off to finish in third.
Fenney continued her streak with a victory in Sunday’s $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Centano with an impressive 28.44 second jump-off round. Fenny and MTM Centano have won a total of six Grand Prix together and have pocketed a total of $76,750 in prize money. The pair currently has a substantial lead in the preliminary Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix Rider Rankings as the winter qualifying season for the Pfizer Million heads into its final weeks. Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills, California posted a double-clear effort on Little Valley Farm’s Wistful in 29.84 seconds to finish second and added another double-clear performance in 31.23 seconds aboard Little Valley Farms’ Chivas Z to pick up third place.
Mary Lisa Leffler continues to make her family at Rolling Acres Farm proud with another win in Sunday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix aboard Rolling Acres Farm’s Gerona 92. Leffler posted a top score of 88 over Kerry Kocher’s first round track. She finished with a second round score of 89 to capture the win and remain in the top ten of the preliminary Diamond Mills Rider Rankings. Sunday’s class featured professionals, juniors and amateurs on the road to HITS Championship Weekend. In the end, amateur Therese Peck of Flower Mound, Texas aboard Cammy Turgon’s Scoop earned a score of 174 and was awarded the second place ribbon and Adrienne Iverson of New Berlin, Wisconsin, a professional at Emil Spadone’s Redfield Farm, captured the third place ribbon aboard Redfield Farm’s Laredo with a score of 173.5.
The HITS 3’ Hunter Prix continues to showcase junior and amateur riders who are riding to qualify for the all-new $250,000 HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Final. Kimberly Maloomian of Needham, Massachusetts captured the blue ribbon for the second week in a row aboard Urlala, owned by Terry S. Maloomian with a score of 170. Jodi Czaplick of Ocala, Florida and her own Untold currently sit at the top of the preliminary HITS 3’ Hunter Prix Rider Rankings and continued their success this weekend with a score of 169, which earned them a second place ribbon. Lily Foy of Roswell, GA rounded out the top three and captured the yellow ribbon aboard her own Fan Mail with a score of 158.
Qualifying continues with two more weeks of competition as competitors gear up for impressive prize money. Action at HITS Post Time Farm will culminate next week with the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix and the popular return of the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, during the Ocala Winter Celebration March 13-18. The Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix will be filmed and aired nationally by HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports.
In other competition, this weekend, Tracy Magness of Baltimore, Maryland rode to victory in the $1,000 FarmVet Level 5 Jumpers on Saturday. She and Suhair Elgawary’s Mystic Joe took to the Grand Prix Arena and boasted a win after topping 27 competitors. In Hunter action, Amanda Steege of Bedminster, New Jersey took the blue in Saturday’s popular $250 Adequan Hunter division on Lisa Arena’s Endo Fino. The pair showed up 51 horse and rider pairs to take the blue.
The University of Florida hosted this year’s American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association National Convention and chose HITS Ocala as a destination. Over 70 students visited HITS Post Time Farm this week, eager to see the largest hunter/jumper competition on the East Coast. Students observed classes, were addressed by HITS President & CEO, as well as mingled with competitors, course designers, commentators and show management.
Sunshine, owned by Valerie Ziegler of Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania won the Exclusive PMI Top Dog honors last week. Sunshine topped some impressive competition and was honored with a prize pack, courtesy of PMI Exclusive Pet Food. Coming up during the Ocala Winter Celebration, the Marion County Humane Society will bring their family friendly dogs in need of homes to the show grounds both Saturday and Sunday for adoption. The group will be located in the vendor area during HITS Ocala’s last week of competition and welcome visitors.
Purina Mills has arrived at HITS Post Time Farm and is gearing up for Purina Mills Weekend. Special events will kick off Saturday night with the Purina Mills Pre-Prix party in the VIP tent starting at 6pm. All guests are encouraged to fill out a form and be eligible to win a free ton of feed, courtesy of Purina Mills. Complimentary food will be provided and all are welcome to attend. A horseless horse show is scheduled to take place Saturday evening at 6pm and encourages riders of all ages to leave their horses behind and show of their skills. Sign up for the horseless horse show in the VIP tent. On Sunday, Purina Mills Kids Day will return to HITS Ocala and will be located behind the Grand Prix arena. Purina Mills Kids Day will feature live music and all sorts of activities for the kids. HITS Ocala’s Official Radio Station Country 103.7 The Gator will be on-site and the crowd will get a special treat with performances by Cowboy Trey Young and Purina Mills sponsored renowned Dressage rider, Stacy Parvey- Larsson. Larsson will ride her horse in a special dressage exhibition set to music that will undoubtedly get the crowd on their feet! The fun kicks off at 11am and will run until 2pm when the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health takes the main stage. Purina Mills reminds Grand Prix riders, if they can prove that they feed Purina feed and win the Grand Prix, they will also win a free ton of feed, compliments of Purina Mills.
On Sunday evening, HITS Official Radio Station, Country 103.7 The Gator will host its Thank You HITS party at The Hilton with live music by the Natalie Green and Little Bit More Band. The party will feature free food, great music and all are welcome. Festivities begin at 4pm and will run until 9pm.
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