SAUGERTIES, NY (June 2, 2010)--Two of the most decorated High-Performance riders in the country became serious contenders to qualify for the unprecedented Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix after a pair of impressive outings at HITS-on-the-Hudson I in Saugerties, New York.
First, in Friday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, it was Olympian Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L that took the blue ribbon in her first Pfizer Million Qualifying Grand Prix class of the season. Todd Minikus, who was an alternate on Team USA in 2000, grabbed the top prize in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Pavarotti in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium.
Both riders have made it clear that they will continue to compete at HITS Saugerties en route to hopefully earning a ticket to compete in the biggest Grand Prix class that has ever been held in the United States. "We will be qualified by hook or by crook," joked Minikus, who now has three of the eight Grand Prix classes needed to become eligible for the Pfizer Million under his belt.
Also excelling in the jumper ring this week was Michelle Spadone. The New Jersey native entered the week in the top 25 of the Eligible Rider Rankings for the Pfizer Million thanks to a successful winter at both HITS Thermal and HITS Ocala. After her second-place finish in Sunday's feature class, Spadone jumped to 16th in the rankings on her leading horse Melisimo, on which she has earned an even $20,000 in prize money, so far this year at HITS. David Beisel and his mount Moet Walk completed their eighth qualifying Grand Prix and have entered the Pfizer Million Eligible Rider Rankings at number 32 with $6,750 in prize money. Beisel, Spadone and all the other High-Performance riders at HITS Saugerties will have four more opportunities to qualify for the Pfizer Million during HITS-on-the-Hudson II and III.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The Top 40 based on prize money won will then be qualified to compete in the historical event.
Stepping Up! Albany's Stepping Stone Farm Shines at HITS-on-the-Hudson I
Amy Momrow and the rest of the team at Stepping Stone Farm seemed to have a stranglehold on the competition in the hunter rings during HITS-on-the-Hudson I. Early in the week, Momrow scored lots of tri-color ribbons in the Rated Hunter Divisions and won weekly championships in the First Year Green Hunters and the Regular Working Hunters aboard Deborah Brenner’s Star Quest Serenade. Momrow also piloted Sherrie Abbruzzese's Into the Blue to the weekly crown in the Green Confirmation Division. Momrow and Brenner's mare also placed in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Saturday afternoon at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
"Amy has brought her along since she was a baby," said trainer Monty Kelly, of Star Quest Serenade. "She has been circuit champion everywhere that she has shown this year. She is a very special horse."
Speaking of the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby, Junior rider Kelsey Hart and her horse Agostino scored a major upset when she came from behind to win the class, thanks to a nifty hand gallop in the handy round. Hart, who will attend South Carolina University in the fall, scored an 87 in the second round as she got the best of the 27 starters to compete in the class, including her trainer Momrow.
HITS hosted a get together Friday night at the nearby family fun center, Puttin Plus! Exhibitors were treated to free go carts rides, laser tag, batting cages and mini golf,and the guest list included everyone from top Grand Prix riders like Charlie Jayne and Gavin Moylan, to short stirrup riders attending their first horse show!
The out-of-ring excitement continues this week when the popular Taste of HITS-on-the-Hudson kicks off at noon on Saturday. For a complete list of participating local restaurants attending, click here.
Show Jumping at HITS Saugerties continues this week with HITS-on-the-Hudson II and features another installment of the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Saturday night. The road to the Pfizer Million also continues as prize money increases and High-Performance riders gear up for two more Pfizer Million qualifiers with the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Friday and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday.
Other Awards handed out at HITS-on-the-Hudson I Include:
Arenus Tack Room Award: Oak Meadow Farm, East Windsor, Connecticut
Arenus Performance and Conditioning Award: Gavin Moylan, Meadowville Farm, The Plains, Virginia
Groom’s Award sponsored by Odor-No-More: Chris Eguia, Riverstone Farm, Garrison, New York
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit our website at HitsShows.com.
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 will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com.
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