Ocala, FL - February 24, 2012 - Tracy Fenney banked her eighth Grand Prix of the qualifying season with a win in yesterday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Centano to become eligible for her third appearance in the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. No stranger to Pfizer Million glory, Fenney appeared in HITS-on-the-Hudson’s big ticket class in both 2010 and 2011 with two top twenty finishes to show for it.
Fenney, of Flower Mound, Texas leads the way in the 2012 Pfizer Million Rider Rankings with $43,500 in prize money and has her sights firmly set on September’s offering. She stole first place in the preliminary Rider Rankings from former Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood with two second place finishes in last week’s Grand Prix.
Yesterday’s win was Fenney’s third during the HITS Winter Circuit in Ocala and MTM Centano’s huge stride ate up Course Designer Ken Krome’s tracks. He presented technicality over size to both horse and rider with a water obstacle at fence number four as well as a double and triple combination in the second half of the course.
“He did a really nice job – the first round jumps were not super tall and gave the horses a good chance,” said Fenney of Krome’s design. “The second round verticals were tall and we really had to be careful, but he [MTM Centano] has a giant, flowing stride and he really rises to the occasion without spooking.”
Fenney was one of eight riders to advance to the jump-off out of a starting field of 27. The top six all went double clear and the final standings came down to a speed duel. MTM Centano’s stride paid off as he carried Fenney through the second round course in 40 seconds flat for the win. The last clear round of the day was posted by Germany’s own Andre Thieme in the iron’s of his own Quonschbob and was the only one to threaten Fenney’s lead with a time of 41.63 seconds.
Aaron Vale of Morriston, Florida earned a third place ribbon after finishing the jump-off round in 42.14 seconds with no faults in the iron’s of Doug’s Crew’s Honeylands Douglason. Vale was first to challenge the jump-off course and set the Great American Time to Beat. Rounding out the top five was Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina aboard Kendra Bullington’s Patent Pending with a second round time of 43.01 seconds and Silvio Mazzoni of Leesburg, Virginia, who posted a jump-off time of 44.34 seconds on his own Remonta Habano.
Grand Prix action continues at HITS Ocala with Sunday’s $50,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Fenney will return to defend her spot at the top of the Pfizer Million Rider Rankings and many will use the class as an important qualifier for HITS Championship Weekend at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
$2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Jay Hayes and Summerhill Farm’s Riva got open jumper competition underway on Wednesday with a win in the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome. Vale and Fenney both gave a matinee performance in Wednesday’s class as Vale and Joan Kalman’s Highlander took second place and Fenney rode S&L Farms’ S&L Icebreaker to a third place finish. Erin Haas held down the last two slots of the top five, riding North Face Farm’s As di Chupito to a fourth place finish and settling North Face Farm’s Casino Van de Helle in fifth, respectively.
$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 MTM Centano MTM Farm Tracy Fenney $7,500 0 0 40.00
2 Quonschbob Andre Thieme Andre Thieme $5,500 0 0 41.63
3 Honeylands Douglason Doug's Crew Aaron Vale $3,250 0 0 42.14
4 Patent Pending Kendra Bullington Harold Chopping $2,000 0 0 43.01
5 Remonta Habano Silvio Mazzoni Silvio Mazzoni $1,500 0 0 44.34
6 Winter Fox Meadow Farm Daniel Damen $1,250 0 4 45.58
7 South Bound Martien Van der Hoeven Martien Van der Hoeven $1,000 0 4 42.98
8 Little Glen's Valentino Penelope Strait & Jenna Hoy Harold Chopping $750 0 8 51.53
9 Via Dolorosa Derek Petersen Derek Petersen $750 4 - -
10 Delilah DerbyPie, LLC Hasbrouck Donovan $500 4 - -
11 Whittaker MVNZ Woodrun Laura Linback $500 4 - -
12 HH Dauphin Woodrun Laura Linback $500 4 - -
Photos: Tracy Fenney and MTM Farm’s MTM Centano gain momentum towards qualifying for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix with a win in Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Ocala; Tracy Fenney and MTM Centano accept winning honors from husband Mike McCormick and HITS’ Cailtin Howley and Lisa Engel. Winners were presented with a bottle of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay courtesy of Sonoma-Cutrer, HITS Official Wine Sponsor; Jay Hayes on course with Summerhill Farm’s Riva during the $2,500 Brook Ledge Open Welcome class at HITS Ocala on Wednesday. All photos: ©ESI Photography.