Ocala, FL - February 3, 2012 - Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas got the Ocala Premiere well on its way yesterday with a win in the first $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Timon. As HITS Ocala kicks off seven consecutive weeks of A- and AA-rated horse shows this week, Fenney’s win marked the first of 14 qualifiers for the anticipated Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, scheduled for September 9, 2012 as part of HITS-on-the-Hudson’s all-new Championship Weekend.
“I was pretty nervous, it’s been two or three months since we’ve showed and I wasn’t sure how we’d be our first day back to work,” said Fenney after the class. “I’m lucky, Timon always jumps great and in the past year he’s really learned how to go fast and turn better which really helped us out today.”
Thirty-two unique horse-and-rider combinations got in on the action to challenge Tim Hott’s first-round course. Thirteen jumping efforts included a double combination at fence four and a triple at fence nine, but it was fatigue that claimed most of the faults as the majority of downed rails came at fence ten and beyond. Thirteen pairs conquered the initial course to advance to a six-effort jump-off and the top five all boasted double clear rounds at the completion of the class.
Fenney entered the ring in the middle of the jump-off pack to post a clear round in 35.059 seconds and establish the time to beat. Not one of the six remaining riders was able to catch her, however, and she and MTM Timon stayed in first place.
“Tim [Hott] did a nice job with the course. It was tricky in a few spots and I’m sure there were more clean than he had wanted in the first round, but it was a perfect set for the opening week. I didn’t get to see the horses that went before me in the jump-off since I had a horse in the six-year-old jumpers, so I really didn’t get to see how they went or what was changed. It probably worked out better because I was able to just focus on my horse and let him do his thing. We tightened up the turns in a few spots and he galloped really well, which made the difference for us today,” said Fenny, who will be in Ocala for the circuit with her sight set on making it back to the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in September.
Second to ride in the jump-off was Callan Solem of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania on one of two mounts. She rode Torlando Group’s VDL Torlando early in the jump-off to secure second place with a clear round in 36.474 seconds. Solem was two-for-two in the top five as she and Magic Cruise, owned by Horseshoe Trail Farm, rode clear in 37.010 seconds for third place.
Rounding out the top five in the class was Mark Jungherr of Amesbury, Massachusetts in the irons of Starlite Farm’s Colourline, who posted a second round time of 38.068 seconds with no faults in fourth and Taylor McMurtry of Barrington Hills, Illinois aboard her own Just An Illusion in fifth, respectively.
By winning the first Pfizer Million qualifier of the rated circuit at HITS Ocala, Fenney is well on her way to finding a spot in this year’s return of the world’s richest class. Fenney and MTM Timon are no stranger to Pfizer Million glory as the pair posted top 20 finishes in both the 2010 and 2011 offerings of the class. Once again, to make an appearance in the 2012 Pfizer Million, 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 for the class.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
As an appetizer to yesterday’s Grand Prix, the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome crowned Alex Granato with winning honors aboard Augustin Walch’s Calypso W on Wednesday to kick off the week. Aaron Vale and Joan Kalman’s Highlander followed suit in second and Kelley Robinson capped the top three in the irons of Cimarron Farm’s Caberlay. Rounding out the top five over Jerry Dougherty’s course was Adam Cramer on Equi-Sport, LLC’s Luke 54 in fourth and Aaron Vale on his second mount, Thinklikeahorse’s Wodka L. (pron Vod-ka) in fifth, respectively.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
High-performance show jumping continues at HITS Ocala this week with the debut of the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix on Sunday. The first week of qualifying at Post Time Farm will give a select group of Grand Prix riders the chance to get a lead on qualifying for the Pfizer Million before HITS moves its circuits north and qualifying continues in Culpeper, Virginia and Saugerties, New York this spring and summer.
$25,000 SmartPack Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
Place Horse Owner Rider Prize $ Rd 1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 MTM Timon MTM Farm Tracy Fenney $7,500 0 0 35.059
2 VDL Torlando Torlando Group Callan Solem $5,500 0 0 36.474
3 Magic Cruise Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC Callan Solem $3,200 0 0 37.010
4 Colourline Starlite Farm Mark Jungherr $2,000 0 0 38.068
5 Just An Illusion Taylor McMurtry Taylor McMurtry $1,500 0 0 39.168
6 Buttercup Ash Lee Corp Erynn Ballard $1,250 0 4 36.951
7 GPS Evita The Stables at le Bocage Chris Nelson $1,000 0 4 37.594
8 Burg's Surprise B Procedures, Inc Megan Edrick $750 0 4 40.076
9 Vosqinus Beyaert Farm Inc Mattias Tromp $750 0 4 43.911
10 Wennous Looking Good Group Erynn Ballard $500 0 8 37.231
11 Big Brother Mark Bluman Mark Bluman $500 0 8 37.731
12 Distant Star 3E King Ridge Stables Hugh Graham $500 0 8 39.106
Photos: Tracy Fenney and MTM Timon are back to their winning ways at HITS Ocala. The pair took first place in Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at Post Time Farm. © ESI Photography; Caitlin Howley presents Tracy Fenney and MTM Timon with the blue ribbon and a new cooler courtesy of SmartPak after the duo beat out 32 other pairs in Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Ocala. © ESI Photography; Caitlin Howley joins Bruce Ginsburg of Brook Ledge to present the awards to Alex Granato and Augustin Walch’s Calypso W after their first-place finish in Wednesday's Brook Ledge Open Welcome at HITS Ocala. © ESI Photography.