SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (June 2, 2008)--Hillary Dobbs couldn't wait to get to HITS Saugerties. The 20-year-old was planning on showing during HITS-on-the-Hudson II and III, but as soon as Devon ended she decided to make an early trip to the Hudson Valley and compete in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix to close out HITS-on-the-Hudson I.
As it turns out, the trip was well worth it. Dobbs negotiated the fastest double-clear round aboard Corlett on course designer Florencio Hernandez's route to win the blue and take home $15,000 in prize money for The Dobbs Group.
"I'm very glad we made the trip," said Dobbs' trainer Missy Clark of North Run. "We shipped Corlett up to Saugerties yesterday and (Missy Clark's husband) John (Brennan) and I got up at 4 am to come to Saugerties in order to school her. I told Hillary, that this was the first time in her career that she could pull a 'Margie Engle' and just show up and ride."
"I am very happy to be here," said Dobbs. "Once the Grand Prix started my adrenaline took over and I wasn't tired anymore, despite getting up so early to get to Saugerties. We are here for two more weeks and I am very excited about that. The place looks great. The Grand Prix ring looks like an entirely new ring with all the flowers and the big beautiful jumps."
Dobbs and her mount Corlett have been on quite a roll. In fact, Clark says she can't remember the last time the pair had a rail down in the first round. “She's among one of the favorites that I have had at the barn during all my years as a trainer,” said Clark. “Corlett is an 11-year-old Sasha mare and Hillary rides her to perfection.”
Five pairs advanced from the first round to the jump-off, and Dobbs and Corlett were first to go. The combination put the heat on the four other pairs that advanced to the jump-off round when they set the Great American Time to beat at a blazing 39.411.
"Since I was going first, I had to gamble and go really fast," said Dobbs, who attends Harvard University. "Especially with riders like Todd Minikus and Judy Garofalo Torres behind me, I had to go all out."
Second to go in the jump-off were Rebecca Johanson-Hoffmann and her mount Corona. The pair finished fifth in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. After the class she joked that she didn't come all the way to Saugerties for a pink ribbon. She was serious going into Sunday's feature class and almost grabbed the coveted blue ribbon when the pair went clear. The clock stopped at 42.482 and secured second place for Blue Hill Farm.
Next to go in the jump-off were Amy Momrow and her mount Summer Storm. The duo was fresh off their win in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. But in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, the pair had two rails down and finished the day in fifth place. Fourth in the jump-off order were Todd Minikus and his mount Romy. The combination had one rail down for a third-place finish.
Sitting in the last-to-ride spot were Judy Garofalo Torres and her lighting-fast mount Oliver III. They were almost home free until an unlucky rail at the final jump landed the pair in fourth place.
"It was a really good course," said Johanson-Hoffmann. "He (Hernandez) did a great job using the time allowed because the ring is so big. He had a few people with time faults in the first round and I think that was his strategy all week."
"I was looking for five horses in the jump-off and that's what I got," said Hernandez. "Today, I used the time allowed as the final obstacle in the first round."
One of the riders that jumped clear in the first round and had a time fault was Tim Hooker aboard his mount Sirius 127. "My horse has not dropped a rail in the first round all year," said Hooker, who finished in sixth place. "I was third on Thursday and sixth on Sunday, but I have a good idea I will be back to Saugerties in a few weeks."
HITS-on-the-Hudson I also featured the second annual HITS Saugerties Fashion Show, presented by DIG. The event was catered by New World Home Cooking Co. and the new Partition Street Wine Shop offered wine tasting. Click here for the video.
Show jumping at HITS Saugerties resumes on Wednesday with HITS-on-the-Hudson II. As always, HITS Saugerties features two Grand Prix classes per week. On Thursday, the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix takes the stage and on Sunday even more prize money is on the line during the $50,000 Waldorf=Astoria Collection Grand Prix.
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
PHOTO: © Lili Weik Photography; Hillary Dobbs and Corlett clear a jump during the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/hillary-dobbs-corlett-emo-hits-06-08.html">Hillary Dobbs and Corlett win the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com