Saugerties, NY- Horses and riders descended upon Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson III to compete in Saturday’s $15,000 KindredBio Jumper Prix.
Mclain Ward, ranked the world’s number one rider in show jumping, returned to HITS-on-the-Hudson for the first time since his third-place finish in the 2015 Canadian Pacific $1 Million Grand Prix FEI CSI-5*, presented by Wells Fargo, aboard esteemed mount Rothchild.
This time, the Brewster, New York, equestrian cashed in with Best Buy, a nine-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Double H Farm. “HITS has a very nice selection of classes going here for developing horses and riders, and she [Best Buy] is one we’ve been bringing along,” said Ward of Best Buy. “Classes like these are a nice outlet for horses and growing riders to compete in a solid class, that’s not as big as the Grand Prix, but a good class.”
Eight advanced over the course set by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, to contest the immediate jump-off course in the newly sponsored KindredBio Jumper Prix, the first equestrian sponsorship for the pet biotech company.
“It’s great to have their support in our sport,” said Ward of KindredBio’s sponsorship in the equine industry. “A lot of care goes into these horses, and companies that provide a veterinary service to keep these animals competing and healthy are important.”
The first challenger on the short course was Max Nieberg of Califon, New Jersey, and Candori, Rebecca Lewis. They clocked in with eight faults in 47.701, finishing eighth. Morgan Ward of Milford, New Jersey, followed with Doutzen. They put down a speedy round in 37.240 but a rail at the A element of the combination would ultimately land them in sixth.
A clear jump-off round had yet to be seen until Neshanic Station, New Jersey, equestrian Laura Chapot, winner of Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, contested the shortened course with Out of Ireland, owned by The Edge. They sped through the course and the crowd cheered as they stopped the clock fault-free in 33.134, ultimately landing them the third-place prize.
Next to move on to the jump-off was Anne Kursinski of Frenchtown, New Jersey, with Caspar’s Lasino, owned by Market Street, Inc. Their clear round in 34.694 would ultimately earn them final spot in the top five with four faults for fifth-place.
The next three trips would all go clear in a race for the blue ribbon. Kevin Mealiff of Flemington, New Jersey, turned in a fault-free round aboard Cecetto’s AS, owned by Jennifer Rowland. They turned in a 35.063-second round to rally the remaining field into a brief clean streak.
Victors Mclain Ward and Best Buy punched their ticket for the jump-off next. With speed and efficiency, the two-time Olympian and the up-and-coming mare laid down a blazing-fast time. The crowd rose to their feet as the seconds ticked by. They clocked in clear in 31.774, where the lead would remain.
Following Ward was Fernando Lozinsky of Flemington, New Jersey, piloting Welfare, owned by Shalanno Farms, LLC. They too put in a solid round, but it was a second shy of the lead as they passed the timers in 32.579.
The final entry in the jump-off was Mattias Tromp of North Salem, New York. Tromp piloted KM Whatever RV through the shortened course but had a rail at A of the mid-course combination, a troublesome spot for several competitors in the field, as well as a rail at the last fence. They would ultimately earn seventh-place with a time of 33.314.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.