Grand Prix Riders Battle for the Blue HITS Desert Circuit II

Saturday, January 30, 2016
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Chris Pratt and Cruise winning the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix

Chris Pratt and Cruise winning the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix (Photo: (C) ESI Photography)

Thermal, CA- Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix kicked off grand prix competition at Desert Circuit II, with 35 riders and horses eager to start the weekend with a win. The time allowed was the challenge of the day, with five clearing the course with no rails down, but only two doing so within the 84 second time allowed. Only Chris Pratt of Lake View Terrace, California, and Michelle Parker of San Marcos, California, were able to shift into high gear by jumping fault-free in the first round over Mexico course designer Florencio Hernandez’s 1.50m course of 15 jumping efforts.

First to return to the ring for the jump-off was Chris Pratt aboard Cruise, owned by Indigo Farms, LLC. Pratt and Cruise turned up the heat, putting in a flawlessly clear round over the shortened, 8-fence course.

Following Pratt in the jump-off was Michelle Parker riding Cupilor, owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc. of Tucson, Arizona. With only Pratt’s quick jump-off time of 44.822 seconds on Parkers mind, she knew she had to be quick and careful. Parker put in a speedy, clear round in a time of 44.998 seconds, just a fraction slower than Pratt, which landed her the second-place prize.

Northern California equestrian, Harley Brown, took home third-place with Apex, owned by Emma Catherine Reichow. Brown had no rails in the first course crossing the timers in 84.041 seconds, which unfortunately resulted in one time fault for the Portola Valley, California, rider.

Chris Pratt took fourth-place prize riding Edesa’s Basantos owned by Edesa Horse Productions Inc. Pratt tried vigorously to get two horses into the jump-off to compete for the blue ribbon. In the first round, Pratt and Edesa’s Basantos rushed through the timers in 84.461 which resulted in one time fault.

The Friday afternoon class rounded out the top five with Desert Circuit I $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix winner, Peter Petschenig of Murrieta, California, riding Zilox T owned by Haley Farms, LLC. Petschenig and Zilox T left all the jumps up but unfortunately had two time faults, in a time of 85.500 seconds, which gave them the fifth-place prize.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit