Thermal, CA - March 6, 2011 - Lucy Davis, one of the youngest Grand Prix riders on the HITS winter circuit, captured her biggest win of the season when she won Saturday night’s $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 to highlight Desert Circuit V at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.
Davis (Los Angeles, California) got the best of the 26 starters that challenged International Course Designer Olaf Petersen’s (Paehl, Germany) first-round course and then the five that advanced to the jump-off en route to taking the victory gallop.
Davis has been on quite a hot streak lately. The 18-year-old reached show-jumping glory when she won the 2009 EY-Cup Final at the CSI Frankfurt in Germany, propelled by a successful season at HITS Thermal. At the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit, Davis captured the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic High. Riding her EY-Cup partner, True Love, the pair beat out 53 other starters to capture the blue ribbon and also finished third aboard her partner in last night’s World Cup class, Nemo 119. Her first Grand Prix win ever came last summer at the Memorial Day Classic aboard True Love.
“Lucy is an extremely dedicated and talented rider,” said her trainer, Marcus Beerbaum. "Tonight she went toe-to-toe with some of the best riders in the world and came out on top. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
In last night’s feature class, Kirsten Coe (Johnson, South Carolina) and Ilan Ferder’s Tristan, who won Thursday’s $31,000 HITS Welcome Classic, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, picked up right where they left off when they showed in the third spot of the class and scored the first clear round of the night.
At the end of the first round, five horse-and-rider combinations were left standing tall as the standing-room-only crowd that lined the indoor arena and the sold-out Charles Owen VIP Club settled in for the jump-off. “I don’t think tonight was the biggest course of the circuit,” said Petersen. “But most of the riders told me it looked like the most technical one of the circuit after they walked it.”
Coe and Tristan wasted no time setting the Great American Time to Beat when they started the jump-off coming home clear in 44.78 seconds. At the end of the class, the duo placed third making it a great week for Coe, who traveled to HITS Thermal for the first time looking for valuable FEI World Cup Points and to get a jump-start on qualifying for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix.
After Rich Fellers and Flexible, owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, failed to go clear, Saer Coulter (San Francisco, California) entered the ring riding Copernicus Stables’ Springtime. The pair brought the crowd to its feet when they crossed the timers in 42.96 seconds to set the new pace and took the lead.
New Zealand’s Duncan McFarlane riding crowd favorite Mr. Whoopy, owned by Simone Coxe, was next to go and had some trouble with Petersen’s track. The pair had to settle for fifth place after knocking down three rails on the course.
Davis and Nemo 119 saved the best for last as they showed in the final round of the jump-off. The crowded waited with baited breath as they watch Nemo 119 give Davis a bit of a jumpy start, but Davis kept her cool and got the horse to focus in for what would be the winning ride of the class as they crossed the timers in 41.01 seconds to capture the blue ribbon.
At the conclusion of the class, Platinum Performance awarded Rich Fellers the Platinum Performance Leading World Cup Rider Award for being the top performer in the four FEI World Cup Qualifiers at HITS Thermal this season. For his efforts, Fellers received a one-year supply of product courtesy of Platinum Performance.
Fellers, who won three FEI World Cup Qualifiers at HITS Thermal in 2008, captured the $50,000 CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during Desert Circuit III, and was second in the $50,000 Purina Mills CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during Desert Circuit IV aboard Flexible to fuel his victory.
"Flexible knows the objective of the sport and he is crazy about it," said Fellers. "He comes out hungry every time he enters the ring."
Saturday night's feature class also capped off an exciting series in the sold-out Charles Owen VIP Club for its members, including the group from Jill Pierce Training Center in Kirkland, Washington.
"It's been an incredible experience," said Pierce. "We had two tables, so all of my clients were really able to enjoy the atmosphere. Getting a ringside view of some of the best horses on the planet compete was priceless."
Action for the High-Performance riders at HITS Thermal continues on Sunday when the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, caps off Desert Circuit V as Grand Prix riders continue to shoot it out for a spot in the second-annual Pfizer Million.
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 took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
$50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
PLACING HORSE OWNER RIDER PRIZE MONEY RD 1 FAULTS JO FAULTS JO TIME
1 Nemo 119 Old Oak Farm Lucy Davis $15,000 0 0 41.01
2 Springtime Copernicus Stables Saer Coulter $11,000 0 0 42.96
3 Tristan Ilan Ferder Kirsten Coe $6,500 0 0 44.78
4 Flexible Harry and Mollie Chapman Rich Fellers $4,000 0 4 39.42
5 Mr. Whoopy Simone Coxe Duncan McFarlane $3,000 0 12 44.24
6 Green Sleeps Vioco Horseworks Etc. Mark Watring $2,500 4
7 Cantano 29 El Dorado 29 Susan Hutchison $2,000 4
8 Uraya Pony Lane Farm Charlie Jayne $1,500 4
9 Coco Redfield Farm Michelle Spadone $1,500 4
10 Cash 51 Copernicus Stables Saer Coulter $1,000 4
11 Centuria 2 Gabriella Salick Gabriella Salick $1,000 4
12 Cruise Indigo Farms Chris Pratt $1,000 8
Photo Credits: Lucy Davis and Nemo 119 on course in Saturday's $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California. © Flying Horse Photography.
HITS’ Bob Drennan, Chris Pace, and Tony Hitchcock are joined by Emily Smith of Platinum Performance to congratulate Lucy Davis and her parents, George and Kelly Davis, with a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer 2007 Pinot Noir after winning the $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. © Flying Horse Photography.
Emily Smith of Platinum Performance and Tony Hitchcock of HITS present Rich Fellers and Flexible with the 2011 Platinum Performance Leading Rider Award. © Flying Horse Photography.