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Laura Chapot and Church Road capture the blue in the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix

SAUGERTIES, NY(July 28, 2008)--Laura Chapot and her blazing-quick mount Church Road outlasted a great crop of riders in Sunday's $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix, presented by Brook Ledge at HITS Saugerties to conclude HITS-on-the-Hudson IV.

Chapot and Church Road got the best of 18 pairs to challenge international course designer Olaf Petersen's first-round track and the eight combinations that advanced to the jump-off to win $15,000 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. "My horse is a natural speed demon," said an enthusiastic Chapot after the win. "He covers so much ground so quickly. Plus, he just seems to glide over the jumps and doesn't waste a lot of time when he is on course."

Argentina's Ramiro Quintana and his mount Q's Charm were first to show in the jump-off, they had the final fence down and finished in sixth place for owner Kathryn Quirk.

Second to challenge Petersen's route were Amy Momrow and Summer Storm. Momrow, who won the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix during HITS-on-the-Hudson I, went clear in 41.590 to secure third place for owner Shaine Brooks.

New Jersey's Callan Solem was third in the jump-off order aboard Allison. The combination made it all the way home clean stopping the clocks in 44.432 to eventually secure fifth place. Solem would also take home the ninth-place ribbon aboard Mianta.

Next to show were Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Coroya Z. Engle and her eight-year-old mare went clean in 40.256 to establish the new Great American Time to Beat. However, that time would only be good enough for second place and $11,000 in prize money.

"I heard Margie went clear in 40 seconds and I didn't have a lot of faith that we could beat her time," said Chapot. "I guess I shouldn't have underestimated him."

"It certainly was an entertaining jump-off," said Engle. "It more than made up for Friday when we didn't have a jump-off."

The USGPL's leading combination, Patty Stovel and Shandor 41, were the fifth team on course in the jump-off. Stovel, who affectionately calls her mount 'the turtle' were a bit off the pace stopping the clocks in 42.988. But their clear round netted a fourth-place finish and $4,000 in prize money for Shandor Syndicate. She still leads the USGPL with $57,400.

Sixth to go were Chapot and Church Road. The winning combination stopped the clocks in 37.005 to win the blue. "Her horse is just naturally quick," said Engle. "They are a tough combination to beat." The combination was third in Friday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix and now stands in the top 15 of the USGPL standings with $18,250.

Seventh to go were Curtis Ferguson and his mount Quibus Z. Two rails down landed the combination in eighth place. Sitting in the envious last-to-ride spot were Henrik Gundersen and his mount Lauritz.com Colorado. They had four faults and finished in seventh place.

"I think the course was perfect," said Chapot. "Eight was a great number to have in the jump-off."

Chapot will show during HITS-on-the-Hudson V, however she will be giving her winning mount the next two weeks off. "I do have Little Big Man here," said Chapot. "He is coming off an illness but I may show him next week or the week after."

HITS-on-the-Hudson IV also featured several fun out-of-ring activities, including an Equine Art Gala, Zephyr Gin Martini Night and a classic car show that decorated the berm that surrounds the Grand Prix ring.

The action at HITS Saugerties will continue for two more weeks at HITS-on-the-Hudson starting on Wednesday, July 30. HITS will once again host the USEF Junior Hunter National Championship for the East Coast on August 5 and 6, while the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and all-new $5,000 Pony Commotion will highlight competition on Thursday, August 8 during Week VI. HITS Saugerties also offers four more qualifying Grand Prix events for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix during the summer shows and another two during the September shows which run from September 3-7.

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 Church Road on course during the $50,000 STRONGID® C 2X™ Grand Prix, presented by Brook Ledge at HITS Saugerties.


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