Saugerties, NY - Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L won their second consecutive $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Friday afternoon at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
"It was a nice course," said Engle, of West Palm Beach, Florida. "There were a lot of technical choices. It seemed like many were having trouble in the beginning, especially with the triple line."
Engle and Hidden Creek Farm's Pamina L were one of 34 horse-and-rider combinations to take the field designed by International Course Designer Guilherme Jorge of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which saw an outstanding nine teams advance to the jump-off.
Jorge's first round course featured 13 efforts, including a triple at fence eight and a combination at the final fence. The first six riders of the class were unable to secure a clear effort. Taylor McMurtry, of Barrington Hills, Illinois, was the first to post a clear round aboard her mount on Just An Illusion. Christine McCrea, of East Windsor, Connecticut, on Twisther, owned by Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, was next to show and also went clear to ensure a jump-off.
At the end of the first round, Laura Tobak, of Greenwich, Connecticut, and her own Redemption; Michelle Spadone, of Califon, New Jersey, and Coco, owned by Morgan Hill Partners; Laura Bowery-Falco, of Southampton, New York, and Epir, owned by The Epir Group; Jimmy Torano, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and Vince, owned by Bynum Farms; Federico Sztyrle, of Sagaponack, New York, and Asgard 17, owned by Crossfire LLC & The Estate of Christian Wolffer; and Jeffrey Welles, of Brewster, New York, on Zycarla Z, owned by Abigail Wexner, would all join Engle in the jump-off.
First to show in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium for the jump-off was McMurtry aboard Just An Illusion, who set the pace at four faults in 46.725 seconds.
Next in the irons were McCrea and Twisther, who went clean, setting the Great American Time To Beat in 44.492 seconds to take the lead. When all was said and done, the pair finished in third.
Two rounds later, Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L proved why they're the team to beat by taking the lead in a fast 41.987 seconds, which in the end was a time that would go untouched.
"She's [Hidden Creek's Pamina L] a wonderful horse and one of the fastest I have," commented Engle on her 11 year-old mare. "She jumps better when she's going faster."
With four rounds remaining in the jump-off, Bowery-Falco on Epir were next and had four faults to finish in sixth place, followed by Torano on Vince, who went clear in 45.527 to take fourth. Sztyrle was next to challenge the course, but with two rails down and two time faults he finished in ninth. Welles and Zycarla Z were last to go and looked to be on track to take the lead, but their time of 43.843 was just two seconds off the pace set by Engle earlier in the round and they had to settle for second.
Engle's back-to-back victories in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, puts her on the fast-track to qualifying for the Pfizer Million. Engle now has three of the eight Grand Prix classes needed to become eligible and earn a spot in the Rider Rankings. With three remaining Qualifying Grand Prix classes offered in the HITS Saugerties Spring Series, including next Sunday's big ticket $125,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, Engle hopes to continue earning more prize money before returning in July when HITS will host another six Qualifiers for the Pfizer Million during the Summer Series, which begins on July 21 and continues until August 8.
The road to the Pfizer Million continues this Sunday with the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, to close out the week for HITS-on-the-Hudson II.
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.
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Hidden Creek's Pamina L Hidden Creek Farm Margie Engle $7,500 0 0 41.987
2 Zycarla Z Abigail Wexner Jeffery Welles $5,500 0 0 43.843
3 Twisther Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, Inc. Christine McCrea $3,250 0 0 44.492
4 Vince Bynum Farms Jimmy Torano $2,000 0 0 45.527
5 Just An Illusion Taylor McMurtry Taylor McMurtry $1,500 0 4 46.725
6 Epir The Epir Group Laura Bowery-Falco $1,250 0 5 48.290
7 Coco Morgan Hill Partners Michelle Spadone $1,000 0 5 48.385
8 Redemption Laura Tobak Laura Tobak $750 0 9 52.141
9 Asgard 17 Crossfire LLC & The Estate of Christian Wolffer Federico Sztyrle $750 0 10 49.465
10 Shaq David Oliynyk David Oliynyk $500 1
11 Romy Diamond Group Todd Minikus $500 4
12 Armani Abigail Wexner & Triton Ventures Farm Inc. Jeffery Welles $500 4
Photos: Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Saugerties. © ESI Photography.
HITS' Account Executive Corporate Sponsorship Lisa Engel presents the award to Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L. © ESI Photography.