Ocala, FL – Andre Thieme began his 2012 Winter Circuit at HITS Ocala on Thursday with a lot to defend. The 2011 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix winner, Thieme got his 2012 qualifying efforts off to the perfect start with a win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Post Time Farm with his own Cesar.
With one Grand Prix and $7,500 in the bank, Germany’s own Thieme is on his way to becoming eligible for the 2012 Pfizer Million. He topped the 18 pairs who took to Tim Hott’s course, which boasted two challenging double combinations to only reveal four clear efforts. Megan Edrick of Agoura, Californai, Hasbrouck Donovan of Gainesville, Florida and Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina joined Thieme in the second round to face six remaining obstacles.
Edrick and Procedures, Inc.’s Cadence posted the first clear round in the jump-off and set the Great American Time To Beat at 36 seconds. Thieme was last to go in the second round and was in it to win it with tight turns and time to spare. He and Cesar posted a winning time of 35.28 seconds to bump Edrick to second place.
“I’m really happy about this win,” said Thieme. “The first round felt good, but he [Cesar] got a little flat in the end of the jump-off because she [Edrick] was really fast and I really had to go for it.”
The fastest of the two four-fault rounds in the jump-off was Donovan in the irons of DerbyPie, LLC’s Delilah. The pair maneuvered the course in 37.65 seconds to finish in third over Chopping and Penelope Strait & Jenna Hoy’s Little Glen’s Valentino, who posted a time of 42.09. Derek Petersen dropped a rail at the third fence of the first round to keep him out of the jump-off and give him and his own Via Dolorosa a fifth place finish.
Thieme and Cesar will return on Sunday as Grand Prix action continues at HITS Ocala with the $50,000 Chartis Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. High-performance riders have 11 more qualifying opportunities for the Pfizer Million remaining on the East Coast during the winter season. To make an appearance in the famed event, riders will need to bank eight qualifying classes to become eligible, and then the top 40 riders, based on money won on their leading horse, will earn their spot in the line-up during HITS Championship Weekend, scheduled for September 9 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
The Ocala Winter Classic presented another installment of the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome on Wednesday and it was Aaron Vale who finished the class on top in the irons of Joan Halman’s Highlander. Behind Vale was Hannah Olson on Cory Olson’s Maximus in second and Ragan Roberts aboard Quipit Group’s Quipit L.F. in third. Rounding out the top five in the kick-off class was Kyle Timm on Apex Equestrian Center’s Zabreau De Waver Z in fourth and Alex Granato aboard Augustin Walch’s Calypso W.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
SmartPak Equine was founded in 1999 with the purpose of simplifying the administration of nutritional supplements and medications for horses. The SmartPak system has been embraced by riders from all disciplines and all levels, including many Olympic medalists. In addition to the SmartPak supplement system, they offer a broad line of horse health, show apparel, tack, dog supplies and equine and canine pharmacy items. For more information on SmartPak, please visit SmartPak.com.
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
Place Horse Owner Rider Prize $ Rd 1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Cesar Andre Thieme Andre Thieme $7,500 0 0 35.28
2 Cadence Procedures, Inc. Megan Edrick $5,500 0 0 36.00
3 Delilah DerbyPie, LLC Hasbrouck Donovan $3,250 0 4 37.65
4 Little Glen's Valentino Penelope Strait & Jenna Hoy Harold Chopping $2,000 0 4 42.09
5 Via Dolorosa Derek Petersen Derek Petersen $1,500 4 - -
6 Patent Pending Kendra Bullington Harold Chopping $1,250 4 - -
7 MTM Timon MTM Farm Tracy Fenney $1,000 4 - -
8 Velano S The Stables at le Bocage Chris Nelson $750 4 - -
9 Burg's Surprise B Procedures, Inc. Megan Edrick $750 4 - -
10 Vosqinus Beyaert Farm, Inc. Mattias Tromp $500 4 - -
11 Luke 54 Equi-Sport, LLC Adam Cramer $500 4 - -
12 Gangsta Alex Granato Alex Granato $500 8 - -
Photos: Andre Thieme made a triumphant return to HITS Ocala this week and went double clear aboard his own Cesar to take home the top prize in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health; Andre Thieme and his own Cesar accept first place honors from HITS’ Lisa Engel and Caitlin Howley after winning the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health; Aaron Vale and Joan Halman’s Highlander win this week’s $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome at HITS Ocala. All Photos ©ESI Photography.