Culpepper, VA (July 14, 2014) – Improved footing, upgraded stabling and a barn full of talented horses was the perfect formula for Harold Chopping this weekend at Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia. The result was remarkable – blue ribbons in both the Main Hunter Ring and Grand Prix Ring over two days.
Chopping returned home to Southern Pines, North Carolina, today after winning the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix with Caroline Russell Howe’s Caramo, as well as the $40,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Pix presented by Zoetis aboard Kendra Bullington’s Basje this weekend.
Basje was not favored to win as the eight-year old gelding is still getting acquainted with the grand prix ring. But, as soon as the starting bell sounded it was clear Basje was as brave, quick and scopey as any seasoned high-performance jumper.
“I’ve given him [Basje] many opportunities to develop,” said Chopping. “He’s young and on the small side but gives it all he has, every time. We planned his schedule carefully – there is so much jump in this horse we don’t want to use it up too soon.”
After placing second in last week’s $40,000 Strongid® C 2X™ at HITS Culpeper, Chopping returned this week with his sights firmly set on moving into first.
At the conclusion of the first round, Chopping was joined by four in the jump-off. Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland was focused and poised aboard Carlot for Rolling Acres, posting an early Great American Time to Beat at 37.98 seconds. Culpeper-native Brook Kemper and her own Classified showed second, but four faults knocked them from contention. Megan Moshontz-Bash of Hunting Valley, Ohio was quick to contest Leffler with Cleveland Equestrian’s Pourkoipa Fontaine, but fractions of a second kept her from the top spot with 38.52 seconds on the clock.
Chopping and Basje returned next with only one left to follow him. Basje was fast yet careful, his dazzling potential on display for all to see. They were clean into the two-stride and after landing, were the only ones to attempt an inside turn to the final fence.
The effort was flawless, saving them five strides and stopping the timers at 34.61 seconds, moving them into first with more than three seconds to spare. “That turn made all the difference,” said Chopping. “We're getting comfortable enough with each other that I can trust him to make turns like that.”
Ragan Roberts was clear in the final go with Quipit Group’s Quipit L.F., but a time of 40.28 seconds settled him in fourth ahead of Kemper. Moshontz-Bash claimed third and Leffler second.
$15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix
Chopping and Basje hinted they were the pair to beat on Friday, topping a field of 17 in the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix. One of six clear efforts, theirs was the fastest jump-off, collecting first.
Forshadowing Sunday's performance, Leffler piloted Carlot to second, while Kama Godek of Fairfax Station, Virginia returned to familiar territory in the money with her own Air Force One. Sloane Coles of The Plains, Virginia finished fourth aboard Baloucat and Kemper picked up another prize money spot with Classified in fifth.
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation will continue to present a weekly jumper class throughout the HITS Culpeper summer and fall series. Aside from the winner’s purse, Brook Ledge Open Welcome riders also compete for the Brook Ledge Rider Bonus, which includes a $1,500 shipping credit for the rider who accumulates the most points in those classes throughout the circuit.
With million-dollar temptations quickly approaching this September, Chopping admits that moving Basje up to the sport’s top level is a delicate decision. The pair will not jump in the Zoetis Million in Saugerties, but the Great American Million at HITS Ocala just might be their number-one goal in 2015.
$40,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis
Place Horse Owner Rider Prize $ Rd 1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Basje Kendra Bullington Harold Chopping $12,000 0 0 34.61
2 Carlot Rolling Acres Mary Lisa Leffler $8,800 0 0 37.98
3 Pourkoipa Fontaine Cleveland Equestrian Megan Moshontz-Bash $5,200 0 0 38.52
4 Quipit L.F. Quipit Group Ragan Roberts $3,200 0 0 40.28
5 Classified Brooke Kemper Brooke Kemper $2,400 0 4 38.39
6 Cinderella Andrea Torres Manuel Torres $2,000 4 - -
7 Cool N' Cavalier Carl Segal Silvio Mazzoni $1,600 4 - -
8 Envy Sulu Rose-Reed Sulu Rose-Reed $1,200 4 - -
9 Ushuaia van de Wolfsakker Christina Kelly Christina Kelly $1,200 8 - -
10 Vanita Gaston Family Ian Silitch $800 8 - -
11 Victoria Santa Catalina Farm Andrea Torres Guerreiro $800 8 - -
12 Air Force One Kama Godek Kama Godek $800 12 - -
About Purina Animal Nutrition
Innovative research is the proudest tradition at Purina Animal Nutrition. No other national brand of feed has invested more time in research and understanding the needs of horses and their owners. An American original, the Checkerboard is one of the most recognized symbols in animal nutrition, standing for quality ingredients, in-depth research, and complete consistent animal nutrition. Learn more about how Purina can help your performance horses at Horse.PurinaMills.com
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Zoetis.com.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Caroline Russell Howe's Caramo has been anything but shy about sweeping Culpeper's July qualifiers for the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix with Chopping in the irons. The pair picked up their second $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix win in a row over the weekend.
“He’s remarkable and makes it all look so easy,” said Chopping, who carried scores of 87 and 85 to the winner’s circle. “The footing in both the schooling area and Main Hunter Ring is quite good – it’s nice to go into a class knowing that won’t be a factor.”
With consistent ribbons, Caramo is making Howe proud and secured himself a permanent nameplate in her barn. “This horse is part of her family,” said Chopping. “She'll never sell him. That was easy to see when she imported him as a six-year old.
The now 12-year old gelding got his start in the jumper ring in Europe and according to Chopping that experience has paid off over hunter courses. “He never looks twice,” said Chopping. “Liverpools are a breeze, bending lines no problem – he jumps anything beautifully.”
Winn Alden of Bristow, Virginia and Daddy’s Bentley, owned by Lauren Boldt, scored highest in the first round with an 88, coupled with and 83 in the second, for the red ribbon. Mary Lisa Leffler also served double duty over the weekend, finding success in the jumper ring and third-place in the Devoucoux Hunter Prix. Scores of 86 and 84 gave her and Kian Fiore’s Zivago to the top three.
Alden also piloted Peg Nara’s Ariel to fourth with scores of 84 and 82, while Elisa Ledsinger of Bethesda, Maryland rounded out the top five on her own Michigan Avenue.
Chopping returned home, ribbons and prize money in tow, to freshen his horses for the continuation of their summer season in Culpeper. “After two weeks of showing, the horses will get some time to unwind. They need to regroup just like their humans do.” With the grounds improvements at Commonwealth Park slated as a win in Chopping’s book, he and the Solo Show Stables team are eager to return for the Winston National and Constitution Classic in August.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix
Place Horse Owner Rider Prize $ Rnd. 1/2 Total
1 Caramo Caroline Russell Howe Harold Chopping $1,500 87/85 172
2 Daddy's Bentley Lauren Boldt Winn Alden $1,000 88/83 171
3 Zivago Kiana Fiore Mary Lisa Leffler $700 86/84 170
4 Ariel Peg Nara Winn Alden $500 84/82 166
5 Michigan Avenue Elise Ledsinger Elise Ledsinger $400 81/83 164
6 Glad Rags Amy Zettler Amy Zettler $350 78/75 153
7 DLV Valentine Badger Hill Farm, LLC Grace Long $300 74/78 152
8 Promised Hand Jennifer Blacker Jennifer Blacker $250 71/80 151
9 Tobasco Virginia Intermont Ashleigh Ramey - 69/79 148
10 Q-Bella David De Pierto Kelsey Campbell - 68/77 145
11 Silver Lining Bridget Finnerty Bridget Finnerty - 72/70 142
12 Salinger Barbara Armitage Amy Zettler - 70/- 70
Devoucoux, maker of fine French saddles, is proud to be the title sponsor of each and every qualifying Hunter Prix leading up to the phenomenal Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. Devoucoux offers a wide range of saddles in many colors and sizes and matching accessories. Devoucoux craftsmen are devoted to creating beautiful products that reflect their obsession with quality and lovingly finished work. For more information on Devoucoux, visit devoucoux.com.