Tucson, AZ - Michelle Parker made the most of her two weeks at the 2010 HITS Arizona Desert Circuit. Parker finished with three in the money in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix during week V and followed that performance with a victory aboard Tula Pinnella's Reina in Sunday's $25,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, to close out the 2010 season during the Arizona Desert Finals in Tucson, Arizona.
Canadian Danny Foster designed the course for Sunday's featured class which featured 15 efforts including a triple bar at fence eight and a time allowed of 91 seconds.
Mexico's Bjorn Ikast was the first rider to go clean aboard his mount Monte Cristo, then he returned to the ring three rides later and posted the second clear round of the class aboard his other mount Omar Shariff. Parker was next to go clean aboard Reina, insuring a jump-off.
Six more riders attempted to follow Ikast and Parker into the jump-off, but it wasn't until Brandie Holloway returned to the ring on her third mount, Hays Investment Corp's Alley Oop, that another rider beat Foster's course, making it four for the jump-off.
Foster's jump-off featured eight obstacles and a time allowed of 50 seconds. Ikast went first in the jump-off aboard Monte Cristo, and had a rail down mid-way through the course and two time faults, which landed them in fourth place.
Parker went next and in a clean round established the Great American Time to beat in 44.823 seconds. Ikast returned to the ring this time aboard Omar Shariff, looking to take the lead. The pair was fast in 42.813 seconds, but four faults on the very last fence kept him in third.
Holloway had the advantage of going last and knew how much time she needed to take the lead from Parker, which she was on track to do; however, a dropped rail and 42.184 seconds on the clock landed her in second place.
"Like I said last week, it's never easy to go before Bjorn and Brandie, but this time around I was able to hold onto the lead," said Parker, who is from San Marcos, California and has been coming to the HITS Arizona Winter Circuit for the past six years. "I went a little fast than last week, but I knew I could still be beat, but their speed caught up with them today."
Reina is a ten-year-old mare and this is just her second Grand Prix ever. She had a late start because she was a broodmare, so at age seven Parker started working with her at the lower levels. "She's coming along nicely and we felt that she was finally ready for the Grand Prix level. So far, she's done beautifully. She was double clear last week taking fourth and then double clean again this time for the win. She's super," Parker added.
Parker also finished fifth aboard her mount Clever, and ninth aboard Cross Creek Farms, Inc.'s Socrates De Midos completing another three-ribbon day.
Holloway also finished the day with three horses in the money, as she was seventh aboard Argentina and eighth aboard Any Given Sunday.
As the Arizona Circuit comes to a close, Holloway has competed in five of the eight Grand Prix classes needed to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix which will take place on September 12, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. Currently, Thermal's Jill Henselwood and Bottom Line sit at the top of the Pfizer Million Rider Rankings. East Coast riders have a chance finish the HITS Ocala winter circuit strong, with two more Pfizer Million qualifying Grand Prix classes left, including Sunday's big-ticket $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group . Riders from around the country are working to sharpen their strategy on how to make the cut for this historic class and are already looking ahead to Culpeper and Saugerties to secure the eight Grand Prix classes needed to become eligible and to win enough prize money to remain in the Top 40.
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 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING-HORSE-OWNER-RIDER-MONEY-RD 1 FAULTS-JO FAULTS-JO TIME
1 REINA TULA PINNELLA MICHELLE PARKER $7,500 0 0 44.823
2 ALLEY OOP HAYS INVESTMENT CORP. BRANDIE HOLLOWAY $5,500 0 4 42.184
3 OMAR SHARIFF BJORN IKAST BJORN IKAST $3,250 0 4 42.713
4 MONTE CRISTO BJORN IKAST BJORN IKAST $2,000 0 6 51.053
5 CLEVER MICHELLE PARKER MICHELLE PARKER $1,500 4
6 WALDINA MANUEL GUEVARA FRANCISCO MARTINEZ $1,250 4
7 ARGENTINA HAYS INVESTMENT CORP. BRANDIE HOLLOWAY $1,000 4
8 ANY GIVEN SUNDAY HAYS INVESTMENT CORP BRANDIE HOLLOWAY $750 4
9 SOCRATES DE MIDOS CROSS CREEK FARMS, INC MICHELLE PARKER $750 8
10 BRAVE HEART BJORN IKAST BJORN IKAST $500 8
11 ZINGARA DEBORAH LONG MATIAS FERNANDEZ $500 8
12 FLYING LADY TARA ARDALAN TARA ARDALAN $500 8
Photos: (Top) Michelle Parker and Reina on course in Sunday's $25,000 Strongid C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © Brent Ericsen Photography.
(Left) Michelle Parker and Reina are joined in the winners circle by Salvador Alvarado, HITS' Joe Dotoli, Armando Salazar, and two others after their win in Sunday's featured class. © Brent Ericsen Photography.