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Laura Chapot and Church Road win the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties

SAUGERTIES, NY (September 5, 2008)--Laura Chapot took advantage of the enviable last-to-go spot in the jump-off of Thursday's final $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix of the season at HITS Saugerties as she captured the blue aboard Church Road to rev up an exciting weekend of show jumping.

Chapot and Church Road got the best of 16 pairs to challenge course designer Jerry Dougherty's first-round track and the five combinations that advanced to the jump-off to win $7,500 in prize money for horse owners Sarah Becker and B&B Saddlery.

Church Road is 12 and Chapot has been in the irons since January. The win is the third Grand Prix that Chapot has won aboard the naturally quick mount and the second of the season at HITS Saugerties. In July, the duo won the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix, presented by Brook Ledge.

"He is a special horse so we pick and choose our spots," said Chapot. "We already have three wins together and have won a lot of ribbons."

Chapot had two mounts advance into the jump-off, including Bradberry who was the first to show in the jump-off. The combination dropped the final three fences on the seven obstacle jump-off track to finish in fifth place.

Jimmy Torano rode his mount Morgan into the Grand Prix ring next. A rail down at the first hurdle and another midway through the round put the pair in fourth place. Third to show was Kelley Robinson and her mount Solaman. A single rail down catapulted the pair into first place with just two riders left to show. However, when the class was complete they would finish in second place.

Fourth to go were Callan Solem and her eight-year-old mount VDL Torlando. The pair also had four faults and finished in third place. " I am thrilled with my young horse," she said. "I have only entered him in a handful of Grand Prix classes and he is coming along great."

Solem was also seventh aboard Mianta picking up an additional $1,000 in prize money adding to her winnings for the USGPL Standings. Currently, the 29-year-old from New Jersey is in second place but nearly $20,000 behind the top combination of Patty Stovel and her mount Shandor 41. In fact, the leading pair has already locked up the title and earned the right to go last in the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix on September 28 during the USGPL Finals at HITS Culpeper.

Rounding off the field in Thursday's jump-off were Chapot and Church Road. Knowing all that she had to do was go clear to win the blue, the accomplished equestrian navigated the course to perfection stopping the clocks in 42.70 to take the victory gallop.

"The horse is just naturally fast," said Chapot. "I knew that we could take the same track as the leader and probably be fast enough even if we dropped a rail. I am going to show him again on Sunday and we will see about my other two Grand Prix horses later on."

"It was a perfect class," said Dougherty. "There were no bogey jumps. I am not really a trick guy. I am going to go up a little in a few places for Sunday's Grand Prix. We have an interesting group of riders here showing and I know they will be up to the challenge."

Show jumping continues throughout the weekend at HITS Saugerties and wraps up on Sunday with the $50,000 HITS 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: © 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Laura Chapot and her mount Church Road on course during the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.


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