Saugerties, NY - Megan Edrick had goose bumps as she captured her very first Grand Prix victory in Sunday's $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard nine year-old Cadence, owned by Procedures, Inc. "It's unbelievable!" exclaimed an ecstatic Edrick, who was still catching her breath after a lightning speed jump-off.
Edrick, originally of Agoura, California, was one of 25 horse-and-rider teams to take the field designed by International Course Designer Guilherme Jorge of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which like Friday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, saw an outstanding nine pairs return for a jump-off.
Jorge's first-round course featured 13 efforts, including a triple at fence four and a combination at fence eight. Starting off the class was Federico Sztyrle, of Sagaponak, New York, on Asgard 17, owned by Crossfire LLC & The Estate of Christian Wolffer. The pair dropped a rail on the fifth fence. Anne Kursinski, of Frenchtown, New Jersey, and Shibumi, owned by Carol Hoffman & Market Street, went next and produced the afternoon's first clear round.
The next three riders failed to follow Kursinski's lead, two of whom gained faults on the double combination. Margie Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida was the next rider to go clear aboard Galdewinds Farm Inc.'s Indigo to force a jump-off. Engle has been on a quite a hot-streak at HITS Saugerties, winning both of the Friday $25,000 HITS Grand Prix classes, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, since arriving in Saugerties.
At the end of the first round Laura Bowery-Falco, of Southhampton, New York, and Epir, owned by The Epir Group; Jonathan McCrea, of East Windsor, Connecticut and Victor E, owned by Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables; Jeffery Welles, of Brewster, New York, and Armani, owned by Abigail Wexner & Triton; Taylor McMurtry, of Barrington Hills, Illinois and her mount Just An Illusion; David Tromp, of North Salem, New York, and Casey, owned by Beyaert Farm Inc.; Jennifer Lynn Goddard, of Fort Salonga, New York and Angelina, owned by Equine Dreams LLC; would all join Kursinski, Engle and winners Megan Edrick and Cadence for a jump-off.
First to show in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium for the jump-off was Kursinski and Shibumi, who set the Great American Time to Beat right away with a double-clear effort in 43.285 seconds.
Engle looked to capture her third Grand Prix victory of the season next as she and Indigo took the field; however, the team had eight faults in 51.176 seconds, which would ultimately settle them into eighth.
The next three rounds failed to produce a double-clear ride as Kursinski held onto the lead. That all changed when Welles and Armani entered the ring. The duo captured the lead with a clean round in a quick 41.916 seconds.
With the new pace set by Welles, the last three teams were hungry to leave with the blue and a first place check of $22,500. Tromp and Casey gave a tough effort, but they dropped a rail and had to settle for fifth place.
Edrick and Cadence were next to show and held nothing back when they raced through the course cleanly in a fast 39.874 seconds to the roar of the crowd, an electrifying feature as they edged past former Nations Cup, Olympians and bonafide superstars Kursinski, Engle and Welles.
"I was going for it," said Edrick as she recalled the jump-off. The duo made each jump look smooth with impeccable speed, as Edrick now adds her first Grand Prix victory to her growing resume. "Megan has been a fantastic rider and Cadence is a true quality horse," commented Don Stewart, her trainer, of Don Stewart Stables. "I'm so proud of her today."
The last round of the jump-off belonged to Goddard and Angelina, who also went clean in a cautious 50.190 seconds to grab fourth place and $6,000 in prize money. Welles and Armani finished behind Edrick in second, while Kursinski and Shibumi finished third. "I'd really liked to thank Jimmy Torano for all of his help today schooling me," said Edrick. "Also, I'd like to thank Emil and Michelle Spadone for everything they've done for me."
Thanks to Sunday's victory, Edrick and Cadence jumped into the top 10 of the Pfizer Million Eligible Rider Rankings from their previous position at number 18. The duo now sits in the number nine spot with $41,250 in total prize money earned at HITS this year. High-Performance riders still have two more opportunities this upcoming week as HITS-on-the-Hudson III will feature the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Friday, June 11 and the big ticket $125,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday, June 13. After Sunday, the road to the Pfizer Million returns to HITS Culpeper for two weeks starting on July 7, with two $40,000 Pfizer Million Grand Prix qualifiers up for grabs.
Also during HITS-on-the-Hudson III, the much anticipated Purina Mills Kids Day rolls into town. The afternoon of family fun will take place on Sunday, June 13 from noon until 2pm and will feature a special musical performance by the crowd-pleasing children's band, Ratboy, Jr., a live radio broadcast by WRWD 107.3 FM, an Exclusive Dog Talent Show, Price Chopper Cupcake Decorating Tent and Bounce House, horseless horse show, Purina sack races, Arenus egg and spoon races and pony rides courtesy of Twin Lakes Farm and Vertical Limit Stables , plus much more!
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.
$75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Cadence Procedures, Inc. Megan Edrick $22,500 0 0 39.874
2 Armani Abigail Wexner & Triton Ventures Farm Inc. Jeffery Welles $16,500 0 0 41.916
3 Shibumi Carol Hoffman & Market Street Anne Kursinski $9.750 0 0 43.285
4 Angelina Equine Dreams LLC. Jennifer Lynn Goddard $6,000 0 0 50.190
5 Casey Beyaert Farm Inc. David Tromp $4,500 0 4 43.545
6 Just An Illusion Taylor McMurtry Taylor McMurtry $3,750 0 4 46.180
7 Victor E Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Jonathan McCrea $3,000 0 8 41.261
8 Indigo Gladewinds Farm Inc. Margie Engle $2,250 0 8 51.176
9 Epir The Epir Group Laura Bowery-Falco $2,250 0 12 45.664
10 Lisona Kevin Babington Darragh Kerins $1,500 1
11 Baloubet Junior Z Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Christine McCrea $1,500 4
12 Vince Bynum Farms Jimmy Torano $1,500 4
Photos: Megan Edrick and Cadence in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © ESI Photography.
HITS' Account Executive Corporate Sponsorship Lisa Engel and Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock present the award to Megan Edrick and Cadence. © ESI Photography.