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Aurora Griffin named to Sunday's $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix of the Desert at HITS Thermal

THERMAL, CA (March 14, 2008)—During the last two Sunday Grand Prix classes at HITS Thermal, Aurora Griffin finished just out of the money. Now on Sunday, the 17-year-old has one more chance to cash in as HITS is pleased to announce that she has accepted an invitation to compete in the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix of the Desert on Sunday, March 16 at HITS Thermal.

With the addition of Griffin to the field, Sunday's class is complete and will feature the top performers based on prize money won during the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit. The Invitational Show Committee has awarded three invitations to riders not otherwise qualified for the class. Will Simpson, one of the riders recently short-listed to be named to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, was the first rider to receive an invitation, followed by two-time Olympic Veteran Robert Ridland and now Griffin, who will be the youngest exhibitor to take aim at the blue ribbon.

Griffin was a member of the NAYRC Zone X Team in 2007 and won an individual Silver Medal. During the Prix de States she achieved both Individual and Team Gold Medals. According to her trainer Ilan Ferder, Griffin has only been competing at the Grand Prix level for a year and Sunday's class will provide her with invaluable experience.

"She will be in the ring competing against Richard Spooner, John Pearce and Jill Henselwood to name a few," said Ferder. "It will be a tremendous learning experience for her and I would like to thank Dale Harvey and HITS for making it happen."

"I am very happy with my performance in the last two Sunday Grand Prix classes at HITS Thermal," said Griffin. "I am going to give it my best shot Sunday, and walk away with some great experience."

"Aurora is an up-and-coming rider and having her compete in a class with so much at stake will do wonders for her progression as a rider," said HITS' High-Performance Liaison Dale Harvey.

Joie Gatlin sits on top of the mountain in the standings and will have the advantage of going last in Sunday's $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix. It is expected that she will ride her mount Cameron Hills Shan Roe in the class. Together, the pair accumulated $61,000 in Grand Prix prize money to earn the top spot; however, the qualified riders may ride any horse they chose.

The Invitational is the crown jewel of the new Desert Circuit Championship, which will close out the season with 17 different championship classes, including the R.W. "Ronnie" Mutch Equitation Classic and the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Classic.

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 http://www.HitsShows.com


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