Ocala, FL (March 15, 2016): As Grand Prix jumpers get ready for the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on March 27, they competed on Sunday for blue-ribbon victories in Week VIII of the Ocala Winter Circuit.
$50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix
Tracey Fenney and MTM Reve Du Paradis on their way to a $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix. ESI Photography
Patience, persistence, a positive attitude, and talent paid off for Tracey Fenny of Flower Mound, Texas, as she pulled off her first Grand Prix win of the season with MTM Reve du Paradis in the Ocala Week VIII $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix.
“At the beginning of the [HITS] circuit, I don’t know if he was just out of practice, but he’s just kind of got it all together in the last few weeks,” said Fenney of MTM Reve du Paradis.
A competitive field of forty competed over a challenging, quick track set by Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City. The 16-effort course contained three double combinations all with difficult approaches that required skillful planning, and perhaps a little bit of luck, to clear.
Only three riders were able to jump first round clears within the tight time allowed of 81 seconds to advance to the jump-off with many with only one rail down. The most troublesome spot was the vertical-vertical combination at 7A-B, where Fenney explained the approach to the combination, going around the Liverpool at Fence 4, added to the difficulty.
“A lot of horses got their eye on the liverpool and it distracted them,” said Fenney. “A lot of horses had [the combination] down.”
Riders attempting to make up time opted to turn inside the island of flowers to the last jump, but that resulted in several heart-breaking rails for those who took the chance.
Tracey Fenney and MTM Reve Du Paradis winning the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix. ESI Photography
The first to make it to the jump-off round and eventual class winner was the twenty-third rider to tackle the course, Tracey Fenney and MTM Reve du Paradis owned by MTM Farm. The crowd cheered as the grey Selle Francais cleared the final fence.
Three trips later, Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix winner, Hayley Gassel of Lenoir City, Tennessee, and Quite Dark 2, also jumped a clear round, guaranteeing a jump-off for the crowd. The last to go clear in round one was 2014 Great American Million winner Andre Thieme riding his own Conthendrix.
Fenney and MTM Reve du Paradis were first to return. They opted for a long distance to the first oxer, then left out a stride to 7A, galloping the rest of the course. They turned inside the flower island to the narrow jump and cheers emanated from the crowd as they flew to the final fence. Fenney was taking a chance laying down such a fast trip, and had the last rail to finish with four faults in a time of 42.110, leaving Fenney to wait in the wings to see how the other two riders fared.
Gassel, a relative newcomer to the Grand Prix scene, took to the course with confidence and precision against a seasoned field of Grand Prix winners. Two rails, however, at 7A and another at the narrow, earned them eight faults in a time of 43.413 and a third-place finish.
Thieme just had to go clear for the win, and he set a slow and careful pace, looking like he was on the way to the victory. He opted to turn inside the flower island to the narrow jump to be sure he was within the time allowed—unfortunately, Conthendrix had the rail, and they finished with four faults for second-place in a time of 51.312, sealing the win for Fenney.
Taking a chance in riding the course quickly proved to be quite the payoff for Fenney.
“I thought the course was quite difficult and the time was really tight,” said Fenney. “In the jump-off I always ride for the win so I go as fast as I can—we are fortunate that we won with that last rail.”
|Place||Horse||Owner||Rider||Prize||R.1 Faults||J.O Faults||J.O. Time|
|1||MTM Reve Du Paradis||MTM Farm||Tracey Fenney||$15,000||0||4||42.110|
|2||Conthendrix||Andre Thieme||Andre Thieme||$11,000||0||4||51.312|
|3||Quite Dark 2||Westwind Equine Training Center||Haley Gassel||$6,500||0||8||43.413|
|4||Coulash Van De Broy Z||Juan Manuel Gallego||Juan Manuel Gallego||$4,000||2||–||–|
|5||Bon Giorno||Showcase 81, LLC||Bryn Sadler||$3,000||4||–||–|
|6||VDL Bravo S||Hays Investment Corp.||Hunter Holloway||$2,500||4||–||–|
|7||Basje||Kendra Bullington||Harold Chopping||$2,000||4||–||–|
|8||Exacto LS||Trade Winds Farm||Agatha D’Ambra||$1,500||4||–||–|
|9||Cassevel||Hays Investment Corp||Hunter Holloway||$1,500||5||–||–|
|10||Aletta||Olympic Dreams, LLC||Matthias Hollberg||$1,000||5||–||–|
|11||Quidam’s Good Luck||Troy Glaus||Aaron Vale||$1,000||5||–||–|
|11||Voigtsdorfs Quonschbob||Gail Dady||Andre Thieme||$1,000||5||–||–|
$7,500 M&S/Tuffrider-Equine Couture Adult Jumper
Kimberly Leslie and El Fernantez Zet winning the $7,500 M&S/Tuffrider-Equine Couture Adult Jumper. ESI Photography
A huge class of fifty-four competitors vied for the top prize in the $7,500 M&S/Tuffrider Equine Couture Adult Jumper Classic in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium in Week VIII of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Kimberly Leslie of Palm Harbor, Florida, riding El Fernantez Zet, and trained by Aaron Vale of Williston, Florida, topped a group of fifteen in the jump-off, where only four would go clear.
“I can’t believe it—I am very, very excited,” said an ecstatic Leslie. “Thank you very much to Aaron and the whole village that put me in the ring, my plan was to just do what Aaron told me. This is my third season with Teddy and I am just thrilled with this win, having Aaron by my side is my secret weapon.”
Leslie and El Fernantez Zet were the first to return to the ring to contest the shortened course. Her trainer, Aaron Vale, an accomplished Grand Prix rider known for his tactful jump-off strategies, gave her the speedy track to follow. Leslie put down a clean and fast trip, setting the Great American Time to Beat in 30.732, which held on through 14 other riders for the win.
“Kimberly is a great direction-follower, she has a background in Western and reining and she knows how to sit back and turn,” said Vale. “I told her to jump the first jump, kick for two strides and then turn. A lot of [riders] turned too quickly, and then they either didn’t have a spot, or didn’t have the momentum to clear the combination. Kimberly followed directions perfectly, and that turn, and then a gallop holding the buckle to the final jump got them the win.”
The next six riders in the jump-off had faults with Robin Swinderman of Morriston, Florida, riding Cliff II for Meadowwood Farm, LLC., clocking in at 29.444 as the fastest of the four-faulters to take fifth-place.
Next to jump clear was Gabrielle Calvert of Doyleston, Pennsylvania, aboard Cat Woman, owned by Daniel White. Having the opportunity to watch others, Calvert made an inside cut to the homestretch line, opting to zig away from the jump then back in to give her horse the opportunity to see it clearly, resulting in a split-second of additional time as they crossed the timers in 31.199 to step into and hold onto second-place.
Following Calvert was Monica Hanks riding Finnley 5. They galloped through the timers clear, but in a time of 33.314 to finish in third-place. Anna Whitman on Calino-GZ, owned by Mindy Whitman, used the same route and finished with a clear round in 33.529 for fourth.
|Place||Horse||Owner||Rider||Prize||R.1 Faults||J.O Faults||J.O Time|
|1||El Fernantez Zet||Kimberly Leslie||Kimberly Leslie||$2,200||0||0||30.732|
|2||Cat Woman||Daniel White||Gabrielle Calvert||$1,550||0||0||31.199|
|3||Finnley 5||Monica Hanks||Monica Hanks||$1,050||0||0||33.314|
|4||Calino-GZ||Mindy Whitman||Anna Whitman||$700||0||0||33.529|
|5||Cliff II||Meadowood Farm, LLC||Robin Swinderman||$600||0||4||29.444|
|6||Otis||Zan Martin||Jonathan Smart||$500||0||4||31.685|
|7||Calissa Z||Sarah Dee||Sarah Dee||$450||0||4||31.774|
|8||Bahama Boy||Bre Pickens||Eileen O’Leary||$450||0||4||32.237|
|9||Amely 12||Juliana Prada||Sydney Barnett||$400||0||4||38.109|
|10||Splash||Fat Chance Farm||Joy Slater||$400||0||4||41.496|
|11||Jumping Jil Z||Lynn Seithel||Lynn Seithel||$400||0||8||33.351|
|12||Lucilla||Cory Olson||Holly Bachor||$400||0||8||48.163|
$1,000 S.A. Comunale Adult Jumper Classic
Amber Moss and Adonis on their way to a $1,000 S.A. Comunale Adult Jumper Classic win. ESI Photography
HITS Ocala Week VIII riders battled for the blue in the S.A. Comunale Low Adult Jumper Classic, which took place in the Grand Prix Ring at HITS Post Time Farm on Sunday. As the trips went by, each round proved faster and faster but it was Amber Moss of Williston, Florida, riding Adonis for Traudi Miller-Moss, who topped the field to take home the win.
Bernardo Cabral from Portugal designed a course of 13 efforts set from .90 to 1.0 meters including two combinations. Ten riders jumped first round clears to advance to an immediate jump-off, where six jumped clear again.
First to contend for the jump-off was Marissa Kinally from Hull, Massachusetts, riding Silko for Mindy Whitman. They clocked in with a cool, clear round in 34.964 to take the lead and the eventual fifth-place.
Following was Texas Tea, owned by Michael Kirby and ridden by Tallulah Kassell of New York, New York. Texas Tea was Mid-Circuit .90 meter Champion at HITS Ocala, and it showed when he galloped, turned and angled across fence five to the finish, clocking in at 30.538 to take the short-lived lead from Kinally and the eventual second-place prize.
Amy Frailey of Salem, New Hampshire, was the next clear in a time of 34.391 on her own Kilkenny Aragorn. That trip would be good enough for a final third-place finish. Adonis and Moss followed, squeaking out Texas Tea with a fault-free 30.481, topping the leaderboard by a tenth of a second. Adonis would hold onto the lead for the win.
Jackie Arakelian of Winchester, Massachusetts, and Fleetwood Mac, owned by Ann Dotoli were the final clear jump-off round in a time of 34.951 to slide into fourth-place.
|Place||Horse||Owner||Rider||Prize||R.1 Faults||J.O Faults||J.O Time|
|1||Adonis||Traudi Miller-Moss||Amber Moss||$300||0||0||30.481|
|2||Texas Tea||Michael Kirby||Tallulah Kassell||$200||0||0||30.538|
|3||Kilkenny Aragorn||Amy Frailey||Amy Frailey||$160||0||0||34.391|
|4||Fleetwood Mac||Ann Dotoli||Jackie Arakelian||$130||0||0||34.951|
|5||Silko||Mandy Whitman||Marissa Kinnally||$110||0||0||34.964|
|6||Lumiro||Nellee Fine||Nellee Fine||$100||0||0||36.232|
|7||The Other Guy||Leslie Richman||Leslie Richman||–||0||4||32.625|
|8||EWSZ Le Kondo||Kate Gurvis||Kate Gurvis||–||0||4||36.791|
|9||Serafina||Michelle Durpetti||Michelle Durpetti||–||0||4||39.903|
|10||Red Outloud||Kathleen Cohn||Michael Ziebarth||–||0||8||33.406|
|11||Hamlet||Rachel Williams||Kasey Parker||–||4||–||–|
|12||Pull The Trigger||Holly Huston||Elizabeth Brock||–||4||–||–|