Saugerties, NY — May 30, 2016 — Jumper exhibitors vied for the money in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, $15,000 KindredBio Open Jumper Prix and the $10,000 Marshall & Sterling/TuffRider/EquineCouture Child and Adult Jumper Classic.
HITS Grand Prix
The grand finale of an exciting first week at HITS-on-the-Hudson commenced with the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix.
A talented field of exhibitors tested the course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil, but only two would advance to the jump-off to compete for the blue. The victor would prove to be Leslie Burr Howard of Darien, Connecticut, and Up and Blue Chappelle, owned by Peter and Gabriel Guerra Howard.
Leslie Burr Howard and Up and Blue Chapelle on their way to a $75,000 HITS Grand Prix win. ESI Photography
The course designer, Marina, has been doing a great job this week,” said Howard. “This course was laid out thoughtfully; today wasn’t too big but it was tricky enough, especially for this amount of prize money, which is great to jump for. All the classes have been super—it’s not too big, not too little, and it’s planned well in where the jumps were placed.”
Sarah Segal of Flemington, New Jersey, was first to challenge the first round of jumping efforts with Ubris, owned by Chartwell. A rail at the vertical immediately following the mid-course triple combination kept them out of the jump-off, but as the fastest pair with four faults in 77.209, they ultimately landed in third-place.
Three trips passed before Wellington, Florida, equestrian Jimmy Torano piloted Daydream, co-owned with Danielle Torano, to the first fault-free trip of the first-round, proving the course could be conquered.
Following Torano’s first round, several valiant rides took their chance at the course, including fourth-place Matthew Williams of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, aboard Cuchica, owned by Wyndmont, Inc. Williams clocked in with four faults in 78.840.
Christine McCrea of East Windsor, Connecticut, also made the top five piloting Wannick WH, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, Inc. They passed the timers with four faults in 79.025 just behind Williams for the fifth-place prize.
It looked as though Torano had it in the bag with a clear round, until Howard took her turn at the course. The crowd cheered with excitement when they clocked in clear, providing the class with a jump-off.
It was down to Torano and Howard, both seasoned competitors with a plethora of grand prix wins and titles under their belts. Howard, an Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and Torano, with two prestigious rides in the 1999 and 2000 FEI World Cup Final would battle it out for the win.
Torano returned first, navigating the course efficiently as he and Daydream crossed the timers in 41.43.
Howard followed suit, knowing she and her mount needed to be clear and just a hair faster to take home the $22,500 winner’s share.
“My plan at first was just to watch Jimmy and if he was super-fast, I was not going to jump-off and just settle for second because she is young,” said Howard of her plan with Up and Blue Chapelle. “He was careful but not too quick—she was great.”
It was certainly a rewarding choice. Howard and her mount blazed through the timers fault-free in 39.884 to capture the win.
“She is a super mare,” said Howard after her victory. “She is very powerful and is settling into her prime. This was a great win.”
HITS Grand Prix Top 12:
$15,000 KindredBio Open Jumper Prix
Horses and riders showed up to the Grand Prix ring at HITS-on-the-Hudson I to battle it out for a blue-ribbon title in the $15,000 KindredBio Open Jumper Prix, newly sponsored by Kindred Biosciences, Inc.
Laura Chapot, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, was on fire in Week I at HITS Saugerties. After snagging the blue ribbon in both the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, Chapot returned to the ring to capture three spots in the top five with not only the first, but second- and fifth-place prize as well.
“I’d like to thank Kindred Bio for sponsoring this class,” said Chapot. “It’s great to have them here at HITS and let’s hope we have them around for long time in the future.”
Nine horses and riders had clear first rounds and moved on to the immediate jump-off over Saturday’s course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil.
“[Marina] always does a fantastic job,” said Chapot. “It’s a nice class for the 1.40 meter horses as well as a young horse moving up; it was challenging in spots, but it never over-faced anyone.”
Chapot and her winning mount Out of Ireland, owned by The Edge, made out with the first clear jump-off round. Chapot and the powerhouse bay mare blazed through the course, turning on a dime to save time at every opportunity. They crossed the timers in 31.216, where the lead would remain.
“She has just stepped up to the upper levels—she won a small Grand Prix last year and had a great round today,” said Chapot of Out of Ireland. “She’s enthusiastic and a very fun ride; she’s fast but it’s all about keeping her head in it, and not getting ahead of herself.”
Next of the clear jump-off rounds was Sarah Segal of Flemington, New Jersey aboard Zelda, owned by T.K. Farm. Segal and Zelda put in a speedy trip, the seconds were dwindling down as they crossed the timers without fault in 33.276, which would eventually earn them third-place.
Megan Bash was next to contend the jump-off as she piloted Pourkoipa Fontaine, owned by Cleveland Equestrian. They were quick and clear, but their time of 34.989 was not quite enough to move up the leaderboard. It was enough however, to keep them in the money with the ultimate fourth-place.
Chapot followed with Umberto, owned by Mary Chapot, to test her own leading time. They clocked in just a second behind in a fault-free 32.659, earning them the second-place spot.
More talented contenders entered the ring including Matthew Williams and Debbie McCarthy Connor. They each had four-fault rounds, but stayed in the ribbons with their speedy rounds earning sixth-place and seventh-place, respectfully.
The final trip belonged to Chapot aboard Zealous, owned by Mary Chapot. With two leading times in the books, Chapot took to the shortened course to once again challenge her own rank. Their round was lightning-fast with another lead on the horizon, but a rail for four faults sealed the placings. They stopped the clock at 31.585 to garner fifth-place.
$10,000 Marshall & Sterling/Tuffrider/EquineCouture Child-Adult Jumper Classic
The competition was fierce in Saturday’s $10,000 M&S/TuffRider/Equine Couture Child and Adult Jumper Classic. The twelve-horse jump-off kept the crowd on the edge of their seats as each passing round got faster and faster.
Linda McBurney and Less is More. PC: ESI Photography
“The course was flowing and encouraged you to go forward; it was challenging without being too difficult,” said McBurney. “I was very happy that my horse, who hasn’t shown since last fall, came back fresh and was jumping well.”
First to return for the jump-off was Madeleine Mallon of New Milford, Connecticut, aboard Antonio, owned by Amanda Schaffer. They put down a solid round, clocking in at 32.216, which would eventually earn them fifth-place.
After a few trips, Mallon’s time stood at the top of the leaderboard, until Danville, New Hampshire, equestrian Alissa Kinsey and Grisset entered the ring to contend the shortened course. Kinsey opted for a tight inside turn to the mid-course combination, a maneuver that others would soon follow to shave time. They passed the timers in 29.304 to take the lead.
Her lead would be short-lived however, as victors Linda McBurney and Less Is More returned for the jump-off. She and her bay thoroughbred put the pedal to the metal as they zoomed through the course no holds barred. McBurney also opted for the inside turn to the combination and galloped passed the finish just fractions of a second ahead in 29.277, edging out Kinsey for second-place.
“My original plan was to not take that inside turn, but when Alissa took it while also being very fast, I knew that’s what I had to do to win,” said McBurney. “My horse is fast, so I don’t have to run him off his feet—he’s the kind of horse that deepens my appreciation for thoroughbreds in this sport.”
The next clear jump-off round belonged to Kendall Milkey of Temple, New Hampshire, and Valencia. They stopped the clock fault-free in 30.336 earning them the eventual fourth-place prize.
Alexandra Carlton of Madison, Connecticut, came close to the winning mark piloting Colourline. They passed the timers in a quick 29.787, earning them third place for their efforts.