McLain Ward Wins His Fourth Grand Prix Of The Season

Sunday, August 7, 2011
Posted by HITS Media


Saugerties, NY — For the fourth time this year, McLain Ward led the victory gallop in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium beating out 51 starters to take home the blue in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. This time around, Ward’s win came aboard Grant Road Partners LLC’s Antares F.
Ward, of Brewster, New York, is no stranger to winning at HITS-on-the-Hudson. In addition to being the reigning Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix champion, he won the first $50,000 Grand Prix of the season during opening week aboard his own Oh' D Eole. He followed that with two more wins during Week II, in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix aboard Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Domino, and again two days later aboard Oh’ D Eole in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, both presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

International Course Designer Bernardo Cabral of Portugal is in charge of putting riders to the test this week and preparing them for Sunday’s $100,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Sunday’s summer finale promises to be a real game changer for many riders, including Ward, looking to break into the Top 40 Pfizer Million Rider Rankings.
Friday’s line up was packed with High-Performance heavy weights, so it was no surprise to see 15 riders advance to the jump-off. Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey was second to show in the jump-off and quickly went to work making it all the way around the course without any faults in a time of 39.040 seconds to set the Great American Time to Beat aboard Mary Chapot’s Umberto. In the end, Chapot finished the class in third place.

Two trips later, Olympian Margie Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida followed Chapot with a clean round and managed to shave nearly two seconds off the pace, in a time of 37.836 seconds to take the lead aboard Garber, Griese & Hidden Creek’s Indigo. Callan Solem of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania was up next aboard the Torlando Group’s VDL Torlando and made it through the course without any faults in 42.925 seconds. Solem finished the afternoon in fifth place.

Ward and Antares F entered the ring next and made quick work of Cabral’s course, crossing the timers in 37.373 seconds to take the lead away from Engle, who finished the class in second place. With nine riders left to go, four other pairs went double-clear in the jump-off but none were able to beat the new pace set by Ward.

“We work hard to win,” said Ward after the class. “We have a lot of great horses, great staff and great owners, and that formula works well for us. Antares [F] and I have a lot of experience together, which gives us an advantage and certainly helped today.”

“The course was good. The triple combination was difficult and the water was very technical. It really was a perfect class to have as a prelude to Sunday’s Grand Prix,” added Ward.

Engle had two horses in the Friday's jump-off and agreed with Ward on the challenge of Cabral’s course. “The course was technical enough. There were a lot of great horses competing today and I’m sure we’re going to see a good group on Sunday.” In addition to claiming the red ribbon with Indigo, Engle also finished ninth with Ashland Farm’s Lord Spezi.

Rounding out the top five in the class was Ireland’s Richard Moloney and Equinimity LLC’s Ahorn Van de Zuothoeve in fourth place.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Earlier in the week, Engle won the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome aboard Betsy Green & Gladewinds' Starnato. Last week's winner, Laura Chapot finished behind Engle in second and third place aboard Mary Chapot's Umberto and Laura Chapot & McLain Ward's Quointreau Un Prince, respectively.

Show jumping continues at HITS-on-the-Hudson this weekend with a full line up of classes. Sunday’s $100,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, will be one of five final opportunities for riders to qualify for this year’s Pfizer Million Rider Rankings. To mark the occasion, representatives from Pfizer Animal Health will be on hand all weekend and HITS Saugerties’ Official Radio Station WRWD will be broadcasting live from the show grounds on Sunday.

As a prelude to Sunday’s Grand Prix, The World of the Horse returns to HITS-on-the-Hudson with a parade of breeds in the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium. Freya Farm will parade their prize American Miniature Horses in a driving demonstration, while The Fernrock Friesians of Saugerties, New York will present their star-studded line-up, including their newest addition – a newborn Friesian foal. The Root Farm Vaulting Team will close out World of the Horse with their award winning team of vaulters as they perform gymnastic movements atop moving horses, all set to music. The Root Farm, located in Verona, New York is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in equine assisted therapies.

About SmartPak Equine
Founded in 1999, SmartPak Equine is the country's largest online and catalog retailer serving the needs of the active and engaged horse owner. The patented SmartPak™ supplement feeding system has simplified the process of feeding horse supplements and medications, making it easier for thousands of riders to keep their horses healthier by ensuring their supplements are being fed correctly. SmartPak's diverse and expansive product offering includes its own line of supplements, tack, and horse blankets as well as an extensive selection of leading brands of equine health, apparel, tack, and equipment. SmartPak is a six-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree and is the only equine company ever named to the Inc 500 list. SmartPak is backed by Waltham, Massachusetts-based North Bridge Growth Equity.

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 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 Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
1 Antares F Grant Road Partners LLC McLain Ward $7,500 0 0 37.373
2 Indigo Garber, Griese, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds Margie Engle $5,500 0 0 37.836
3 Umberto Mary Chapot Laura Chapot $3,250 0 0 39.040
4 Ahorn Van de Zuothoeve Equinimity LLC Richard Moloney $2,000 0 0 41.858
5 VDL Torlando Torlando Group Callan Solem $1,500 0 0 42.925
6 Zycarla Z Abigail Wexner Jeffery Welles $1,250 0 0 44.586
7 Unique Stateside Farm LLC Jennifer Goddard $1,000 0 0 45.699
8 Osiris Gemma Paternoster Gemma Paternoster $750 0 0 47.688
9 Lord Spezi Ashland Farms Margie Engle $750 0 4 36.474
10 Gowran Park Andrew Bourns Andrew Bourns $500 0 4 39.261
11 User I.D Atlanta Equestrian Center Juan Pablo Gnecco $500 0 4 43.356
12 Sweetheart Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Inc Todd Minikus $500 0 8 40.413

Photos: Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward captures his fourth victory of the season at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Grant Road Partners' Antares F.  © ESI Photography.
Lisa Engel and Christine Pankratz of HITS present the awards to McLain Ward and Antares F for their win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. Awards included a bottle of chardonnay courtesy of Sonoma Cutrer Wines.  © ESI Photography.
Margie Engle and Betsy Green & Gladewinds' Starnato in Wednesday's $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome.  © ESI Photography.