Michael Hughes and Luxina Top HITS Ocala $25,000 Smartoak Grand Prix

Tags :

Michael Hughes and Luxina win the HITS Ocala $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (c) ESI Photography
Michael Hughes and Luxina win the HITS Ocala $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (c) ESI Photography

Ocala, FL: Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey, riding his Luxina, topped a field of 31 contenders and nine in the jump-off to win the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix with one of only two clear rounds in the jump-off. The Dutch-bred Luxina is only 15.2 hands but Hughes used her big stride to his advantage for the win.

Aaron Vale and Hunter Holloway each had two horses in the jump-off but neither could match Hughes’ performance. Hughes said of the win, “The course had a lot of options. My horse doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air and she has a really big stride. She’s always better when you really keep up the pace and just keep galloping.”

Vale and Acolina R were the first to attempt the short course but had two rails down for eight faults. Hughes was up next and, knowing that there were seven more to follow, pulled out all the stops and rode clear in 38.104. Two four-fault and two eight-fault performances followed, including David Beisel and Amaretto, the winners of the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix Week VI, with four faults and a time 40.113 for fourth place.

Michael Hughes and Luxina take home blue in the HITS Ocala $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (c) ESI Photography
Michael Hughes and Luxina take home blue in the HITS Ocala $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix on Thursday, March 12, 2015. (c) ESI Photography

Scott Keach and Southern Cross Equestrian’s Viriato were able to turn in the only other clear round in 40.533 to earn second. Keach has had 10-year-old Viriato for a year-and-a-half. He said, “I went at about 85 percent. There was only one place where I could have left a stride out. I wanted to go fast but leave them all up.”

The final horse to enter the jump-off was Cassevel with new owner Hunter Holloway, who posted the fastest four-fault performance in 39.467 for third place. Wednesday’s Brook Ledge Open Welcome winner Lexy Reed and Afandina had four faults for fifth place. Reed said she was happy to show in her first Grand Prix in six years and it was also her new horse’s first Grand Prix.

 

 

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix - HITS Ocala - Week IX
Place     Horse     Owner     Rider     Prize     Rd. 1 Faults  JO Faults  JO Time
1 Luxina  Christina Fried  Michael Hughes  7500  0  0  38.104
2 Viriato  Southern Cross Equestrian, LLC  Scott Keach     5500  0  0   40.533
3 Cassevel  Hays Investment Corp.  Hunter Holloway   3250  0  4  39.467
4 Ammeretto  Equine Holdings LLC   David Beisel   2000     0  4  40.133
5 Afandina  Lexy Reed     Lexy Reed  1500  0  4  40.454
6 Quidam's Good Luck  Troy Glaus  Aaron Vale  1250  0  4  41.355
7 I Love Lucy  Hays Investment Corp.  Hunter Holloway  1000  0  8  39.834
8 Acolina R  Sarah Turner  Aaron Vale     750  0     8  41.93
9 Zilano M  Hardford Farm M & M Stopford  Michelle Stopford  750  0  8     45.332
10 November  Windsor Farm Sales  Alexa Lowe-Wiseman  500  2  *  *
11 Fine Fleur  Chuck and Dana Waters  Hayley Waters  500  4  *     *
12 Any Given Sunday  Hays Investment Corp.  Hunter Holloway  500  4  *     *




GET THE LATEST NEWS DELIVERED TO YOUR MAILBOX