Saugerties, NY - September 10, 2011 - Hunter riders at HITS-on-the-Hudson can now breathe easy with the first two rounds of the first ever Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final complete. The buzz, however, will pick back up tomorrow for the final two rounds when the first ever winner of the historic class will be crowned. “We saw a great group of riders today,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “And the best obviously rose to the top."
Jenny Karazissis of Calabasas, California stole the show during the first day of competition, posting a score of 89 in both rounds to end with 178 total points and the lead. She and her mount Heidi Kane’s Sin City arrived from the West Coast this week in order to compete in the $500,000 class. “I am really excited to be here,” said Karazissis. “It’s a long way to come with one horse, but it has been worth it.”
Finishing in second with a first round score of 79.5 was Samantha Schaefer aboard Lyn Pedersen’s Mahalo. The pair upped the ante in the second round to post a 91 and finish with a total score of 170.5. Schaefer was one of the juniors competing in the class alongside amateurs and professionals from all parts of the country. “I think today was more nerve racking than tomorrow will be,” said Schaefer. “I went into the class hoping to make the cut and be able to have some fun tomorrow.”
One rider who will certainly be having some fun tomorrow is Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas. She is one of the three riders who qualified and will compete in tomorrow’s Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Finals and Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. She is joined by Amy Momrow of Loudonville, New York and Aaron Vale of Morriston, Florida. “It’s nice to be able to spread out the nerves between two classes,” said Fenney. Fenney finished in third after the first to rounds of the Hunter class, posting an 84 in the first round and an 84.25 in the second to finish with 168.25 total points. She competed, for the first time, in the irons of Carol Jardine’s Prudence.
Rounding out the top five was John French on Oscany, Inc.’s Illusion in fourth and Kate Conover aboard Redfield Farm’s Balios Z in fifth. French posted an 85.5 in the first round and an 82.5 in the second to finish with a total score of 168, while Conover totaled 167 points with a 79 point first round and an 88 in the second round. “I played it safe today and still had a good round,” said French. “Tomorrow I am looking forward to showing off our gallop and go all out in the big ring.”
Not only is the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final offering big money, it is also welcoming big numbers. The top 25 of today’s starting field of 62 will advance to tomorrow’s third round and the final four will move on to the fourth and final round. Hunters will move to the Strongid C2 X Grand Prix Stadium where both courses will be set for Pfizer Million Sunday. Course designers Rian Beals and Jerry Dougherty will craft the course and welcome Hunters in unfamiliar territory as all first and second round score cards are wiped clean.
“It’s a whole different class in the big ring. A horse needs to be seasoned just to walk in that ring,” said Fenney. “The playing field has been leveled. Not all horses jump 3’3” well – it takes a special horse.”
Continuing to break hunter/jumper barriers, HITS has only welcomed one horse per rider into the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final. Juniors, amateurs and professionals alike will only get one shot at the historic $150,000 first-place check. “The winner of this class won’t be decided by judges awarding handy or bonus points,” said Struzzieri. “It will be decided by the horses and riders.”
Pfizer Million Weekend will kick into high gear tomorrow as hunter/jumper history is made. Rounds three and four of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final and the return of the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix will highlight the weekend and be capped with a concert by Motown legends and popular recording artists, The Temptations.
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 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!
Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final Round Three Order Of Go - Sunday, September 11, 2011
Order Number Horse Owner Rider City, State
1 125 Woodstock Sabrina Hellman Hope Glynn Penngrove, CA
2 121 Red Sky David Glefke Kelley Farmer Keswick, VA
3 755 Fresco Ri Arm Farm Aaron Vale Morriston, FL
4 116 Lumiere Jane Gaston Jane Gaston The Plains, VA
5 159 Small Collection Iwasaki & Reilly Katie Taylor Tarzana, CA
6 672 Confidential Donald Stewart Erin Stewart Ocala, FL
7 670 Madison Chansonette Farm LLC Lillie Keenan New York, NY
8 106 Freedom's Storm Stormy Good Jenny Fischer Montgomery, NY
9 589 Wolfgang Hannah Patten Amy Momrow Loudonville, NY
10 122 Weatherly Erin Bland Erin Bland Carlsbad, CA
11 516 Lucky Times David Raposa Schaefer Raposa Wellington, FL
12 335 Rio Bronco Stepping Stone Farm (CT) Amanda Starbuck RidgeFeild, CT
13 752 Walk the Line Don Stewart / Meg O'Mara Meg O'Mara Rumson, NJ
14 344 Kenya Shoal Creek Stables, Ltd Patty Stovel Chester Springs, PA
15 114 Zivago Wilder Mountain Farm, LLC Mary Lisa Leffler Brookeville, MD
16 554 Cruise Jessica Singer Nick Haness Coto de Caza, CA
17 553 After Five Stephanie Danhakl Archibald Cox Los Angeles, CA
18 284 Generous Lori Gaudet David Oliynyk Plainville, MA
19 356 Invincible Ellen Toon Ellen Toon South Salem, NY
20 671 Sienna Lexi Maounis Patricia Griffith White Plains, NY
21 694 Balios Z Redfield Farm Kate Conover Ocala, FL
22 162 Illusion Oscany, Inc John French Woodside, CA
23 207 Prudence Carol Jardine Tracy Fenney Flower Mound, TX
24 678 Mahalo Lyn Pedersen Samantha Schaefer Westminster, MD
25 208 Sin City Heidi Kane Jenny Karazissis Calabasas, CA
Photos: Jenny Karazissis aboard Heidi Kane's Sin City setting the high score of rounds one and two in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson. ESI Photography; The top four after rounds one and two of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final, Jenny Karazissis, Samantha Shaefer, Tracy Fenney and John French. ESI Photography.