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Laura Chapot and Church Road win the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties

SAUGERTIES, NY (September 8, 2008)--Laura Chapot took the victory gallop again at HITS Saugerties when she navigated the fastest double-clear effort on course designer Jerry Dougherty's route to win the blue in the final $50,000 HITS Grand Prix of the season aboard Church Road.

Chapot and Church Road got the best of 19 pairs to challenge course designer Jerry Dougherty'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.

The win is the fourth Grand Prix that Chapot has won aboard the naturally quick mount and the third of the season at HITS Saugerties. It also marks the second triumph of the week for the pair as they won Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. In July, the duo won the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix, presented by Brook Ledge.

"I can always trust [Church Road] to go fast, especially on the tight inside turns and hard angles," said Chapot. "I have been riding him since Florida and I am really glad that Sarah Becker put us together. She believes in me and I hope we are together a long time."

Laura Bowery was the first of eight to return for the jump-off aboard Indy Starr II and the pair proceeded to lay down a very fast clear round in 45.095 that looked for most of the rest of the jump-off to be untouchable. However, when the class was complete they would finish in second place.

Chapot was second in the order aboard her first of two horses to return for Dougherty's seven obstacle jump-off round. Two rails down and one on the clock landed Chapot and Bradberry in eighth place. Next to show was up-and-coming rider Michelle Spadone and her mount Melisimo. an unlucky rail down midway through the course left Spadone and her mount in fifth place.

Fourth to go were Christine McCrea and Twisther. The combination posted the second clear round of the jump-off in 48.967. However, that time was well off the pace and the pair settled for fourth place. Jimmy Torano and Tampa were next and a single rail down left the combination in sixth place.

Kelley Robinson and Calibur got their turn to show next and went clear in 47.936. That time would be good enough for third place. Chapot and her lightning-quick horse Church Road were next and they made a dash for the cash stopping the clocks in 41.830 to set the new Great American Time to Beat.

Last to ride in the jump-off was Jonathan McCrea and his mount Triomphe De Muze. Two rails down left the pair in seventh place.

The $50,000 HITS Grand Prix was the final qualifier for the USGPL Invitation Grand Prix to be held at HITS Culpeper on Sunday, September 28 during the USGPL Finals. Patty Stovel and her mount Shandor 41 earned the right to go last in the class by finishing on top of the USGPL Standings despite not winning a single Grand Prix.

"My horse is waiting to get the blue ribbon in Culpeper," said Stovel. "We got tons of red and yellow ribbons in Ocala, Saugerties and Culpeper this year. It just shows how consistent my horse is by finishing at the top of the standings."

Show jumping at HITS Saugerties will feature one final week for the 2008 season when the prestigious Marshall & Sterling League Finals take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson from September 11 -14. The Marshall & Sterling League Finals offer $35,000 in prize money, as well as numerous perpetual trophies and awards. New to the schedule this year are the popular $1,500 Pony Jumper Classic, $1,500 Bit O' Straw Hunter Classic and the Local Hunter Classic. Other classes and divisions on tap include favorites such as the $2,000 Adequan Hunter Division, $4,000 Children's Hunter Pony Division, $4,000 Children's Hunter Horse Division, $4,000 Adult Hunter Division, $10,000 Children's Jumper Division, $10,000 Adult Jumper Division, M&S Children's Horse Medal Final, M&S Children's Pony Medal Final, M&S Adult Medal Final, and the Central Equine Junior Medal Final.

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 $50,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.


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