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Mandy Porter wins the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X FEI World Cup Qualifier

THERMAL, CA (February 1, 2009)—Mandy Porter rode Danielle Korsh's horse San Diego to the blue in the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan, held in the indoor arena Saturday night at the HITS Desert Horse Park, in Thermal, California.

Porter bested 31 riders over a course built by Robert Ellis (GBR), as well as the eight horse/rider pairs that advanced to the jump-off en route to winning the first-place check. Porter was victorious earlier this week, in Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, also aboard San Diego. So Sunday’s win was the gem capping off a fantastic week for the Grand Prix superstar.

Porter, who currently ranks second in the FEI World Cup Standings for the West Coast, earned more valuable points for the 2009 FEI World Cup that will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada in April. With three spots on the West Coast up for grabs and Porter due to show in three more qualifiers at HITS Thermal this winter, she looks to be a lock for the West Coast Team.

Ashlee Bond got things started in the jump-off aboard Little Valley Farm's Cadett 7. Bond had a great trip, but knocked down the Adequan vertical in the last line of the jump-off to finish with four faults and a white ribbon. Bond, who is developing into one of the finest young Grand Prix riders on the West Coast, placed second in Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix.

"It was a great big course and I had so much fun riding it," said Bond. "I wish I didn't almost fall off though. I never really got reorganized and it was around a tight turn and that's why we dropped that rail."

Another fabulous young rider was next to show in the jump-off when Katherine Bardis took the course aboard C&S Partnership's Mademoiselle. Bardis and her mount had four faults and finished in sixth place.

The star-studded class continued when two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner McLain Ward stepped in the ring aboard his mount Goldika 559. The duo, who just made the trip from the East Coast earlier this week, had two rails down and finished in seventh place.

Erin Duffy was fourth to go in the jump-off aboard Elizabeth Oliver's Lionel. They had four faults and finished in fifth place.

Porter was fifth in the jump-off order and entered the ring in search of the jump-off's first clear round. Porter and San Diego made the dash for cash and went clean, stopping the clocks in 32.93. "The horse just keeps getting better and better," said Porter. "He has done some Junior Jumpers and Young Riders but to jump these types of courses shows how much heart he really has. Every time we ask him, he comes to the plate and gets better and better."

Lane Clark and Horsemanship Unlimited's mount Kiss the Sky showed next in the jump-off, and had eight faults to finish in eighth place.

Richard Spooner showed seventh in the jump-off. He rode Ace for C & S Partnership and laid down a very fast clear round in 32.94, just missing out on Porter's time by one tenth of a second. "I can't believe how close I was," said Spooner. "We were right on to beat Mandy's time, but I guess it was her night."

The envious last-to-ride spot belonged to Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood. Henselwood and Juniper Farm’s Black Ice looked to be on pace to beat the time set by Porter, but a rail down in the last line would put her in third place.

With Porter's victory, she not only earned precious FEI World Cup Points, but also takes the lead in the Platinum Performance Leading World Cup Qualifier Rider at the 2009 HITS Desert Circuit. For more information on the FEI World Cup Finals please visit worldcuplasvegas.com.

"I really want to thank HITS for this wonderful event tonight," added Porter. "They really outdid themselves and it's a great atmosphere for us to compete in."

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: Flying Horse Photography; Kate DeKraay of Pfizer Animal Health, Dr. Eric Korsh, Dianne Korsh, Debbie Morlock of HITS, Tony Hitchcock of HITS, Kristin Ruff of Pfizer Animal Health, John Eickman of HITS and Danielle Korsh join Mandy Porter after she won the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan.


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