©ESI Photography. Coming off a top 20 performance in the Zoetis Million, Tracy Fenney and MTM Timon kicked off qualifying for the 2014 event by winning the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix.
CULPEPER, VA (October 2, 2013) – Tracy Fenney gave new meaning to the phrase ‘on a roll’ this weekend at HITS Culpeper. With her string of horses from MTM Farm, she claimed impressive honors, including the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis – the first qualifier for the 2014 Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix as part of the HITS Championship in Saugerties, New York. Just a few weeks after riding in the coveted 2013 event, Fenney and MTM Farm’s MTM Timon kicked off qualifying for next year’s edition, as well as jump started the excitement surrounding the 2014 HITS Triple Crown of Show jumping.
“It’s great to be back on the road to the Zoetis Million,” said Fenney. “We work so hard at qualifying for the class all year long and it’s nice to have this beginning to an exciting year.”
Fenney and Timon were one of five pairs who rode clear to advance to a jump-off over course designed by Wendy Chapot-Nunn of Florham Park, New Jersey. Thirteen obstacles and 17 jumping efforts contained most of the faults to the middle of the track, which included three combinations – two doubles and one triple.
With three mounts crossing the start flags throughout the class, Fenney was first to conquer the course with MTM Farm’s MTM Centano, staging a familiar duel between her two geldings. She was later joined by Callan Solem of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania and Horseshow Trail Farm, LLC’s VDL Wizard, Leann Kelly of Valatie, New York aboard Honorway Farm, LLC’s Leander and Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia in the irons of her own Air Force One. Fenney was kept from the jump-off with her third mount, Leviticus, by one time fault in the first round.
After Fenney picked up four faults in the jump-off at the return of the triple’s b element with MTM Centano, Solem set the Great American Time to Beat with a clear round in 39.46 seconds. One trip later, Fenney answered with MTM Timon and shaved two seconds off her time, crossing the timers in 37.35 seconds. Godek was the final ride and had the speed, but clipped a heartbreak rail at the final fence of the course to collect four faults in a time of 36.54 seconds.
Solem finished second, Godek third, Fenney fourth with MTM Centano and Kelly settled for capping the top five after eight faults in the jump-off.
Just two days before riding to her grand prix win, Fenney and MTM Timon kicked off the circuit by riding to the blue in the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix. She was also second with MTM Farm’s Leviticus. Culpeper local Brooke Kemper was third on her own Classified and Solem was fourth with VDL Wizard. Fenney and MTM Centano made it a book-end performance capping the top five and hinting at a big weekend ahead.
Clean Junior Amateur-Owner Sweep
HITS offered two of its biggest money classes for Junior and Amateur-Owner jumpers to end the season in Culpeper with a $15,000 Low Classic and a $25,000 High Classic highlighting the schedule.
Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois cashed in, winning both classes to join Fenney in dominating the jumper ring on Sunday. Linback piloted Woodrun’s 11-year-old Dutch-bred gelding HH Dauphin to the top in the High Classic. Travel woes kept Linback from arriving at HITS Culpeper until Thursday and she admitted that HH Dauphin was “fresh” in the ring on both Friday and Saturday. “By Sunday, he had settled into himself and he was brilliant,” she said. “He is the loveliest horse I have ever ridden.”
Joining Linback and HH Dauphin in the jump-off was Melissa Rudershausen of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania aboard her own Gunner and Taylor Burns of Blairstown, New Jersey on her own Cordero Zaffiro.
“My plan going into the jump-off was to do the inside turns that no one else was doing,” said Linback who returned last over the shorter course. “He is not as fast as some horses in the ring, but his stride is huge and his scope is impressive, so I knew that I could lose seconds by riding him smart.”
Linback piloted HH Dauphin to a clear jump-off ride in 37.42 seconds with Burns hot on her heels with Cordero Zaffiro. They finished clear in 39.3 seconds for second, while Rudershausen and Gunner were third. Linback was fourth on Woodrun’s Whittaker MVNZ and Barbara Ruziska of Ijamsville, Maryland capped the top five aboard Centennial Farm, Inc.’s FYI.
Linback only rode one mount into the money in the $15,000 Low Classic, but made that one ride count. She and Woodrun’s gelding Clooney, who she affectionately calls George, topped the 20-horse field and were one of only two double-clear efforts.
“The low was built big, so it suited my horse well – he is used to size,” said Linback of the nine-year-old Argentinean-bred gelding. “He did so well – he jumped out of his skin.”
Linback returned first in the jump-off with the clock on her mind. She and Clooney stopped the timers at 37.25 seconds with three to ride behind them.
Alexa Lowe-Wiseman of Upperville, Virginia followed Linback and was clear aboard Windsor Farm Sales’ Ami du Houssoit, but two seconds shy of the lead with a final time of 39.39 seconds she finished in second place. Andrea Smith of Ellicot City, Maryland rode her own Carivel to a four-fault effort for third and Sherri Jamison of Citra, Florida piloted her own Caliente Z to four jumping faults and two time faults to finish fourth. Sandra Zimmerli of Fairfax Station, Virginia and her own Apollo Mission capped the top five after one time fault in the first round.
Between competition in the Grand Prix Ring, a $10,000 USHJA Derby and a $10,000 Pre-Green Hunter Classic coupled with a full slate of hunter and jumper classes for every level, HITS Culpeper boasted a record-breaking day, giving away more than $100,000 in prize money. The big-money competition put an exclamation point on the 2013 HITS Culpeper season as all attention will soon turn to winter competition at HITS Ocala in Florida and HITS Thermal in California. While qualifying for the HITS Championship shifts into high gear during the winter months, HITS Culpeper will be well underway with a complete renovation project and HITS management looks forward to welcoming riders and horses alike back to a new and improved Commonwealth Park in 2014.
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