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Mandy Porter and Summer win the $50,000 STRONGID® C 2X™ Grand Prix at HITS Thermal

THERMAL, CA (February 25, 2008)—Canadian Olympian John Pearce had a hunch right before the $50,000 STRONGID® C 2X™ Grand Prix at HITS Thermal.

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Pearce told Mandy Porter that he knew she was going to win Sunday's featured class as she was congratulated by a slew of supporters for her blue-ribbon effort aboard her trusty mount Summer.

Porter certainly wasn't joking around during the class as she outlasted a field of 34 pairs in the opening round and three combinations in the jump-off to secure $15,000 in first-place prize money for Wild Turkey Farm. Porter and Summer were also second in Friday's $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan to secure an additional $11,000 in prize money.

Summer is 13 years old and won the Pacific Coast Grand Prix Horse of the Year in 2006. Porter was born in California where she was a successful junior rider. She moved to Europe for seven years and now is putting her stamp back on the West Coast.

"Experience paid off for me today," said Porter. "We have known each other for so long and she wasn't distracted by some of the more difficult tests on the course."

"A lot of horses didn't pass the scope test in the triple combination," said Canadian course designer David Ballard. "The line from 9 to 10B was also tough. It had a difficult angle to it. Plus, the soft yellow and white color of the jump was hard for the horses."

Jennifer Crooks was first to compete in the jump-off round aboard SF Shakira. The pair had four faults and finished in second place for Stella Farm. Porter and Summer challenged the route next. They navigated the course without any errors and set the Great American Time to Beat at 38.13.

Entering the ring last in the envious last-to-go spot were Richard Spooner and Quirno 3. The pair won Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix but had to settle for third place on Sunday after they dropped two rails.

With the victory, Porter earned some valuable points towards the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, March 16 during the all new Championship Week at HITS Thermal. The top-30 pairs based on prize money won during the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit will be invited to compete in the class. Click here for the standings.

DC IV also featured a fabulous fashion show, presented by Horse Connection. Several vendors from HITS Thermal and merchants from El Paseo had their merchandise on display. Accomplished equestrians such as Kate Considine, Hannah Selleck, Ashlee Bond, Katherine Bardis, John French and Bliss Heers were among the models.

Competition at HITS Thermal continues on Tuesday, February 25 through Sunday, March 2. DC V will feature the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix on Friday, February 29 and the $75,000 Waldorf=Astoria Collection Grand Prix on Sunday, March 2.

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; Mandy Porter and Summer win the $50,000 STRONGID® C 2X™ Grand Prix at HITS Thermal

 

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