Ocala, FL: The weekend brought exciting competition to HITS Post Time Farm in Week II of the Ocala Winter Circuit with the $50,000 Equioxx Grand Prix. Dorothy Douglas of Flower Mound, Texas, riding S&L Elite, owned by MTM Farms, galloped to the win in the $50,000 Equioxx Grand Prix on Sunday in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina, riding Kendra Bullington’s Basje, was second-place, and third Zent to last week’s $50,000 Tuffrider/Equine Couture Grand Prix winner Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, and Morocco.
Thirty-four horses and riders took on the challenging 1.50-meter course set by course designer Oscar Soberon of Dallas, Texas. A tight time allowed of 85 seconds in the first round kept the riders on a fast track if they wanted to go clean. First to go clean and meet the time-allowed challenge successfully was Goldman on her first ride, Morocco.
Andrew Welles of Port St. Lucie, FL riding Shining De Reve, owned by AEM Enterprises, LLC, was the next to jump clear in the first round, just within the time allowed. Goldman returned with her second mount, Rocs to Riches to produce a third to advance to the jump-off.
Four more joined the group to contest the shortened course: Brandie Holloway of Topeka, Kansas, riding Lucky Strike, owned by Hays Investment Corporation; class winner Douglas and S&L Elite; Chopping on Basje; and Christoph Schroeder of Andersonville, Tennessee, riding Catungee, the winner of the Ocala I $25000 SmartPak Grand Prix.
The first element of the triple was removed and the course was set for the jump-off with Goldman and Morocco returning first. They started at a breakneck pace, steadying only in one spot after the combination, stopping 36.801 seconds.
Next up was Welles and Shining Du Reve who had two rails for eight faults in a time of 45.154. Holloway and Lucky Strike moved up in the order, in their attempt to catch Goldman, they left out a stride to the skinny vertical at the last fence. While the gamble meant they had the time, in 36.402, they also had the rail, finishing with the fastest four-fault trip to be fourth. The big chestnut S&L Elite and Douglas took on the course with a plan to leave out strides wherever possible. Indeed, their plan worked, as they took over the lead in 36.194 seconds. Goldman returned with Rocs to Riches but had a rail at the combination, finishing in 37.523 to finish fifth.
Two remained in the jump-off. Chopping and Basje left out a stride in two places to finish in 36.320 seconds, just two-tenths of a second behind Douglas for the win. Schroeder had 4 faults at the combination and a time of 38.080 for sixth-place. “I can’t thank Mike McCormick and Tracy Fenney enough for all of their support. I’ve been working with S&L Elite for three seasons—he’s the first horse I’ve ever had at this level,” said Douglas. “Mike kept telling me, ‘take the step out everywhere, if the jump comes down then it comes down but try to win,’ I think he jumped even better in the jump-off than in the first round.”
Forty riders who have competed in at least three Sunday Grand Prix will qualify based on money won for the Great American Million to be held in Ocala in March, 2016.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.