OCALA, FL (February 9, 2009)—Hugh Graham rode King Ridge Stables’ Executive Privilege 3E to the blue in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix to conclude week I of HITS Ocala, the Ocala Winter Classic, at HITS Post Time Farm, in Ocala, Florida.
A field of 34 challenged the course built by Guilherme Jorge of Campinas, Brazil, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Five advanced to the jump-off, and Graham outlasted them all to secure the first-place check of $15,000.
Jay Hayes got things going in the jump-off when he rode Summerhill Farm’s Livarot into the ring. They had an unlucky rail midway through the track and finished in third place. Second to show in the jump-off was Callan Solem and the Torlando Group’s VDLTorlando. The pair would also drop a single rail and finish in fourth place.
“Torlando was great,” said Solem. “It was the first time he moved up and did one of the big Grand Prix classes. If he continues to jump the way he did today, I think it will be a great winter for us.”
Graham and Executive Privilege 3E would go third in the jump-off round and make it all the way home with no faults, setting The Great American Time to Beat at 44.903. That time would prove to be good enough to hang on for the win. .
Solem returned for her second ride of the jump-off, this time aboard Mianta, owned by Quiet Winter and Redfield Farm. The pair dropped three rails early and voluntarily withdrew from the competition to land in fifth place.
“Mianta was so good in the first round,” said Solem. “In the jump-off, I think she thought she was a race horse and not a jumping horse. We ended the season last year doing a lot of speed classes and I think that we have to get used to jumping the bigger jumps again.”
Tracy Magness and Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko’s Tarco Van Ter Moude had the envious last-to-go spot. Looking to make it two-for-two for the week, the winners of Thursday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix were looking good, making it all the way home with no faults, but their time of 45.386 was just off the mark. The clean round, however, was good enough for second place.
“I thought it was a nice course for the young horses to move up on,” added Solem. “Guilherme did a great job. It wasn’t huge or too technical. I think it was just right for the horses who are just getting started out for the year.”
Show jumping at HITS Ocala continues next week with the Ocala Winter Festival and will feature a diverse schedule of classes, including the Thursday $25,000 HITS Grand Prix and the Sunday $50,000 Duggan Brothers Equipment Grand Prix.
The social calendar will also feature the Equine Art Reception and Silent Auction, presented by Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club on Thursday night. On Friday, the popular Central Equine Relay and Exhibitor Mixer will take center stage.
HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.
Media should contact Chris Mayone at 845.246.8833 or e-mail Media_Info@HitsShows.com.