ELLENVILLE, NY (July 20, 2001)-Marilyn Little, 19, of Fredenick, Maryland, riding Lassango, won the $15,000 Open Jumper Prix at HITS Catskills in Ellenville, New York, today. Little owns Lassango with Raylyn Farm and took home $4,500 for her win. Little also placed third with Pico de Gallo, another horse that she owns with Raylyn Farm, and earned an additional $2,250 paycheck. Lassango is an eight-year-old, 16.1-hand, bay German stallion that Little and Raylyn Farm purchased in Germany last fall. "I rode him in the Amateurs and just started him in the Grand Prix," said Little. "He's definitely the youngest one of the three I rode today, and he's just moving up."
Anthony D'Ambrosio of Mt. Kisco, New York, designed the course for a field of 16 horses. For Round One, D'Ambrosio built 13-jumps that included three double combination fences-an oxer-vertical at No. 4, a vertical-vertical at No. 9, and a vertical-oxer at No. 11. Riders also jumped a liverpool at No. 8. Time Allowed was set at 88 seconds. Two horses had clear rounds and qualified for the Jump-Off.
D'Ambrosio set the Jump-off course, but the two qualified horses did not jump it. Marilyn Little and Lassango were set to go against U.S. Olympic Team Member Nona Garson of Lebanon, New Jersey, on her Olympic mount Rhythmical, but after a brief discussion, Garson declined to jump-off. Little cantered onto the field, crossed the timers, and then trotted out, taking the win. Garson accepted second place. According to Jumper Judge Katie Frank, riders may elect not to jump-off, but one must cross the timers unless the same owner owns both horses.
"Nona's horse Rhythmical is a veteran and mine is not, so I wanted to do the Jump-Off. I was ready to go," said Little. "Nona didn't want to do the Jump-Off because she's saving Rhythmical for the Grand Prix on Sunday. He's one of those that I think you do one Jump-off a week. He's already a bit of a hot horse and so she wanted to save him for the bigger class. I needed the practice." The difference in prize money between first and second place in this class was $1,200.
Little said," I'll take her to dinner, we'll put it that way." Little said that the course was straightforward with some technical lines, especially the double-vertical 9AB after the water, but that she rode it basically the same way with all three of her entries. "Pico de Gallo was third but actually he should have won it," said Little about the eight-year-old Brazilian gelding who won this class Week II. "But I let him get a little bit away from me at the end of the course. It was the tallest vertical and I should have given it one more pull. It was my fault, not his." Little also rode Landman who did not place in the ribbons. "I've also just started riding him. He had a little bit of a green day. He gets better as the week goes on. We'll do another class and hopefully he'll be ready for the Grand Prix."
Little noted that the size of the show grounds, the amount of prize money offered, and the variety of classes available have been incentive for her and Raylyn Farm to bring up to 20 horses a week and stay for three weeks straight. "This is a nice place because it feels big enough to move younger riders and horses up. There's enough room to get your homework done. The fact that there's some bigger money in the Grand Prix definitely makes it worth the trip and worth sticking around for. And it's just nice for the younger horses that are coming up. They can do two classes a day and get double the mileage here. In three weeks, the differences in the horses are huge."
Little plans to ride Lassango, Landman, and Pico de Gallo in the $100,000 Avis Grand Prix on Sunday, July 22.
$15,000 Open Jumper Prix, July 20, 2001 HITS Catskills III, Ellenville, New York
Course Designer: Anthony D'Ambrosio
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults & Time
1/Lassango/Marilyn Little/Raylyn Farm & Marilyn Little/$4,500/0/NA
2/Rhythmical/Nona Garson/Kamine Family & Nona Garson/$3,300/0/NA
3/Pico de Gallo/Marilyn Little/Raylyn Farm & Marilyn Little/$2,250/4/NA
4/White Russian/Colin Syquia/Alex Carl/$1,500/4/NA
5/Cable/Ian Silitch/Ian & Jacquelyn Silitch/$1,200/4/NA
6/Inner Beauty/Emil Spadone/Paul Sa/$900/4/NA
7/Wildana/Nona Garson/Kamine Family & Nona Garson/$750/4+1/4 /NA
8/Pandora/Todd Minikus/YZ Partners/$600/8/NA
Number of horses who competed in this class: 16
Class Prize Money: $15,000