Ocala, FL - Kent Farrington found his valentine in Up Chiqui, as the duo mastered International Course Designer Leopoldo Palacios' course to win the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday at HITS Ocala.
Farrington, who made the trip just for Sunday's Grand Prix, hasn't been to Ocala in a number of years and was impressed with the Post Time Farm show grounds. "It was worth the trip," said a very happy Farrington. "The last time I was in Ocala was many years ago. The show grounds are very nice and much bigger than I remember. The Grand Prix ring was really nice. They [HITS] have done a great job in making it special and the footing in the ring was excellent.”
Spectators filled the stands on a beautiful sunny day in Ocala to watch the first Sunday Grand Prix of the rated circuit and the anticipation grew with each trip towards the jump-off.
Farrington, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was one of 30 riders looking to take home the blue on the road to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. The first two riders were clean all the way to last jump, a plank vertical, while many others encountered difficulty at the double and triple combinations. Six riders were clean and moved on to the jump-off.
Having earned the first clean round of the class, New Jersey native and fan-favorite Callan Solem would lead off the jump-off aboard Allison. Solem set the Great American Time to Beat, jumping clean in 37.524 seconds. In the end Solem would have to settle for third place as her time wasn't fast enough to stave off Farrington and Texas' Tracy Fenney, who finished in second place.
Next to show was the winning team in last year’s $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, Hugh Graham and Executive Privilege 3E. Graham, of Canada, had the fastest Great American jump-off time at 34.685 and was on course to win, but four faults at the very last jump led him to the fourth-place spot.
Next to show in the jump-off was Fenney, who locked in the second place spot with MTM Timon, jumping clean and quick in 36.809. Fenney also finished second in Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Fourth in the jump-off was Megan Edrick on Cadence. A rail down on the second jump pushed the duo to sixth place. Next to challenge the course for the win was David Jennings and Marcus Aurelius, who, after dropping a rail on the first jump, had to settle for a fifth-place finish.
Farrington had the good fortune of going last in the jump-off and he used it to his advantage to beat out Fenney’s lead with a clean round in the fastest time. "The course was a little bigger than I expected," said Farrington. "Leopoldo was building and I think it worked out how he wanted with six in the jump-off. I had the advantage of going last in the jump-off, so I got a chance to measure how fast I had to go. Up Chiqui is a speed specialist, so when he's in the jump-off, you just have to not make any mistakes and just let him win!"
Farrington now has one Grand Prix class toward the eight needed to initially qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix which will take place on September 12 at HITS-on-the-Hudson, in Saugerties, New York. "I'd like to qualify for that class and I'm trying to make sure I get some shows in while it's convenient. I hope to make another trip up to Ocala this season," added Farrington.
Farrington and the rest of the High-Performance riders showing at HITS Ocala will have 10 more opportunities to qualify for the Pfizer Million, starting with Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Missed the Grand Prix action? That’s alright – you can watch every Grand Prix at HITS this season on Galopando TV at www.galopandotv.com, either live during the event for a small fee or after the event for no charge. At any time throughout the year, viewers can watch select competitions from HITS Ocala.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit our website at HitsShows.com.
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 will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.
$50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE RIDER OWNER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Up Chiqui Kent Farrington Boone/Dobbs/Farrington $15,000 0 0 34.689
2 MTM Timon Tracy Fenney MTM Farm $11,000 0 0 36.809
3 Allison Callan Solem Quiet Winter Farm $6,500 0 0 37.524
4 Executive Privilege 3E Hugh Graham King Ridge Stables $4,000 0 4 34.685
5 Marcus Aurelius David Jennings David Jennings $3,000 0 4 35.504
6 Cadence Megan Edrick Procedures, Inc. $2,500 0 4 37.317
7 Aramisse des Pins Gabrielle Cousin Cousin/Mailloux $2,000 4
8 Sampras Charlie Jayne Alex R. Jayne $1,500 4
9 Chambacunero Manuel Torres TG Show Stables $1,500 4
10 Tarco Van Ter Moude Tracy Magness M/M John Bartko $1,000 4
11 Ulysses Van De Krekebeke Lacy Morrone-Cramer Equi Sport LLC $1,000 4
12 Landos II Henri Kovacs Plain Bay Farm $1,000 4
Photos: Kent Farrington and Up Chiqui on course in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Ocala. © ESI Photography.
Farrington with EMO Founder Ernie Oare and Lisa Engel of HITS after winning the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.