Tampa, FL - March 28, 2009- It was warm and partly cloudy today at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, located on the Florida State Fairgrounds, the host of this year's Tampa Equestrian Festival. Today marks the fourth day of competition during the second week, the Tampa Bay Classic. In the Covered Arena junior and amateur riders competed in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Power and Speed class and the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low class, with the top awards going to Erica Pritz riding Ad Fundum, and Marque Cincotta riding Chappie.
The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Owner High Power and Speed class was the first to compete in the Covered Arena beginning at 8 a.m. For the power phase riders competed over eight fences, including a difficult triple bar bending line and a triple combination. If riders completed those eight fences without fault they then continued directly on to the speed phase. Today's speed phase featured eight fences, including a tricky double combination.
Eight riders were able to successfully master the power phase and advance to the speed phase, the first of which was Danielle Torano riding Pandoer. The pair had an unfortunate rail coming out of the double combination but had the fastest time of the class, stopping the timers in 41.126 to earn the pink ribbon. John Holmes was the next to compete in the speed phase aboard Baletta, and the duo was clear and fast in a time of 45.087. That time held the lead for four more speed rounds but eventually garnered them the second place prize. Michael Murphy followed Holmes into the ring with Katina 12. The pair came very close to catching Holmes' lead after going clear in a time of 45.294 seconds but their time put them in the third place position.
Next to compete in the speed phase was Filip Amram and Zorro, who also left all the jumps standing, but their time of 50.925 seconds earned them one time fault, and they took home the fourth place ribbon. Hillary McNerney followed Amram into the ring riding Unicum. The pair had a difficult trip, bringing down rails at fence 12, a single vertical, fence 13b, the second part of the double combination, and fence 14, a wide oxer. Their twelve fault score earned them the seventh place position. Julia Lourie qualified for the speed phase with Werly Chinde Muze but the pair had an unfortunate fall at the first fence; luckily both horse and rider walked away unharmed.
Erica Pritz and Ad Fundum were the last to qualify for the speed phase and Pritz knew she was going to have to be fast and accurate to win the class. The pair cut all the turns and left out all the right strides, flying through the timers in 44.554 seconds and capturing the blue ribbon.
"I'm pretty excited," expressed Pritz after receiving her ribbon. "This is my first high win on him, I only moved him up the last week we were in Palm Beach; I had been originally doing the lows and the mediums when I bought him in December."
She continued, "My plan with him was to try and make up for my mistake at the triple combination with my other horse earlier in the class, and really try to not over think and just go for it. The biggest concern was that first fence in the triple, I had it with my first horse, and a lot of others did as well. It was hard, especially coming off of a bending line with a triple bar. Today I just had to stay with my horse and turn; he jumps amazing!"
Pritz hopes to qualify both of her horses for the Devon Horse Show and will then go on to compete at the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows. She has been competing at Tampa for a long time and enjoys having the opportunity to show here again. "I've had a fabulous time here this year," Pritz smiled. "I have really great memories from coming here as a kid and I'm really glad Stadium Jumping is still putting on these shows. It's a nice break, this is a great facility, and Tampa's a really nice city."
Next to compete in the Covered Arena was the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low class. Seven riders were able to advance to the jump-off, which became a battle of the clock when they all managed complete clear short-courses. Sarah Kerins was the first to set a very fast time of 34.647 second with Allie, but it would not be enough to hold up against Marque Cincotta and Chappie, who beat them by fractions of a second after crossing the finish line in 34.244 seconds and winning the class.
Tomorrow the Tampa Equestrian Festival will feature the $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa beginning at noon in the Covered Arena. The $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa is the final World Cup Qualifier CSI-W before the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas. It is also a qualifying event for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, being held Saturday, April 4, and beginning at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational with feature 35 of the world's most renowned equestrian athletes competing at one of the nation's most historical show jumping events.
For more information please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com
Photo Credit: Erica Pritz and Ad Fundum raced through the timers in 44.554 seconds to win the Junior/Amateur-Owner High Power and Speed class at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo © Rebecca Walton/PMG. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/erica-pritz-junior-amateur-owner-03-09.html">Erica Pritz and Ad Fundum Gallop Away with Junior/Amateur-Owner High Power and Speed Win</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com