Culpeper, VA - April 25, 2011 - After a one-month hiatus, the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix made its first of five stops on Easter Sunday at HITS Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia. Callan Solem and Horseshoe Trail Farm’s Magic Cruise captured the win in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, to close out the opening week of competition at the Commonwealth National. Solem also finished second aboard VDL Torlando, owned by the Torlando Group.
Solem of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania is one of the many High-Performance riders in pursuit of earning a spot in the 2011 Pfizer Million. “I’ve always enjoyed showing here in April,” said Solem. “I plan on qualifying for the Pfizer Million, so this is a great place to get another Grand Prix in before the Saugerties spring and summer shows begin.”
International Canadian Course Designer Danny Foster set the course on Sunday and had four teams advance to the jump-off.
Helen Goddard of Colts Neck, New Jersey and Blue Danube, owned by The Goddard Harrison Group, were third in the order and the first to go clear. Two trips later, Solem guided VDL Torlando clear to ensure a jump-off. Just when it looked like no one else could master Foster’s first-round course, Solem came back aboard Magic Cruise and put forth another clear round, giving her two mounts for the jump-off against Goddard.
Canadian Michael Grinyer of Campbellville, Ontario immediately followed Solem with a clear round aboard his own Alcatraz, making four in the jump-off.
While Goddard and Grinyer each had a jumping fault in the second round, Solem went double clear on both of her mounts and found her way to the victory aboard Magic Cruise after setting the Great American Time to Beat in 45.092 seconds.
“The horses have been jumping really well this week,” said Foster. “Since the winter, this is the first time in over a month for some of these horses to be jumping at this level. I wanted them to get comfortable being back in the ring, and I was impressed with the quality of horses here.”
“I thought Danny [Foster] built a really good course,” said Solem. “You come to expect the best from Danny. I think it was challenging, but he asked the right questions. Everything rode nicely and was appropriate for this kind of class.”
“This summer I plan on showing at HITS Saugerties,” continued Solem, who will be joined by an all-star roster of riders who also plan to make HITS’ shows their spring and summer competition destinations in the hopes of qualifying for this year’s Pfizer Million, which will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York on Sunday, September 11.
$15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix
The $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix took place on Friday, and it was Kristen VanderVeen of St. Charles, Illinois who captured the blue ribbon aboard Bull Run’s Alpha & Omega, owned by Bull Run Jumpers, Inc.
$15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix
“I couldn’t be any happier!” exclaimed VanderVeen, who also dominated the YJC 7 and 8-Year-Old division during the week. “The horses have been jumping so well and this win is definitely a big one for us.”
Solem and VDL Torlando placed second and Manuel Torres of Leesburg, Virginia placed third aboard Chambacunero, owned by TG Show Stables.
The road to the Pfizer Million makes its next stop at the highly-anticipated HITS Saugerties Spring Series for three consecutive weeks of competition starting Wednesday, May 25, and will offer six Pfizer Million Grand Prix Qualifiers. After that, competition will return to HITS Culpeper for two consecutive weeks starting Wednesday, July 6, and will feature the $40,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on July 10, as well as the $40,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, set for July 17.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
$40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Magic Cruise Horseshoe Trail Farm Callan Solem $12,000 0 0 45.092
2 VDL Torlando Torlando Group Callan Solem $8,800 0 0 46.835
3 Blue Danube The Goddard Harrison Group Helen Goddard $5,200 0 4 40.831
4 Alcatraz Michael Grinyer Michael Grinyer $3,200 0 4 43.366
5 Uppsala Woodrun Laura Linback $2,400 4
6 Bull Run's La Bamba Bull Run Jumpers, Inc. Kristen VanderVeen $2,000 4
7 Carigor Z Patty Stovel Patty Stovel $1,600 4
8 KT Undercover Michael Kirby Michael Kirby $1,200 4
9 Amicello Windsor Farm Sales Alexa Lowe $1,200 4
10 Viggo Beth Underhill Beth Underhill $800 4
11 Quelqu'un De La Christopher Cullen Beth Underhill $800 4
12 Sir R Janet Faloney Peter J. Gisborn $800 5
Photos: Callan Solem and Magic Cruise on course in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
Holly Bachor and Joe Calcagno of HITS present the awards to Callan Solem and Magic Cruise after their victory in Sunday's $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
Kristen VanderVeen and Bull Run's Alpha & Omega won the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix on Friday. © ESI Photography.