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Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L capture the blue in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix

SAUGERTIES, NY(August 1, 2008)--Margie Engle continued her great success at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix when she captured the blue ribbon aboard her mount Hidden Creek's Pamina L.

Engle and her other mount Hidden Creek's Coroya Z tied for first place in last week's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix and she had three horses finish in the money during last Sunday's $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix.

"Both of my new mares are really starting to hit their stride," said Engle. "They are winning on a more consistent basis, even though they are still very young. They just need some more mileage."

Engle, who is America's most successful Grand Prix rider, got the best of 29 starters on course designer Ken Krome's 12-obstacle first-round course that featured two 5' verticals and oxers set at 4'7". She beat out 10 pairs in the jump-off round to collect $7,500 in prize money for Hidden Creek Farm.

First to go in the jump-off was Amy Momrow riding Summer Storm for owner Shaine Brooks. The pair had a rail down at fence 10A to finish in seventh place. Second to show on Krome's jump-off track were Jonathan McCrea and his mount Costa. The combination made it all the way home clear in 35.785 to establish the Great American Time to Beat. McCrea would eventually take home third place for Windsor Show Stables.

Rebecca Johanson-Hoffmann rode her gray mare Corona into the Grand Prix ring next, fresh off a top finish in last Sunday's feature class. The Utah native made a dash for the cash and went clear in 35.570 to take the lead. She would eventually finish in second place for Blue Hills Farm.

"My horse was a jumping machine today," said Johanson-Hoffmann. "A lot of great riders came out for the class. I lost a few seconds at the water jump because I wanted my horse to leave the ring with a positive experience dealing with the water."

Johanson-Hoffmann currently keeps climbing the ladder in the USGPL Standings aboard Corona . Currently, she is sitting in the top 10 for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational that will take place at HITS Culpeper in late September. "Right now I am looking forward to competing in the Invitational," she said. "I never like to plan too far ahead because plans change, but I think I will be in Culpeper for it."

Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L were next to go and were quick to push Johanson-Hoffmann off the leader board. The winning combination went clear in 34.626 to take home the first-place check. "My gray mare is naturally quick and careful," said Engle. "I feel like I can consistently go pretty fast on her."

"I will never complain about finishing second to Margie Engle," said an ecstatic Johanson-Hoffmann after the class.

Christina McCrea was fifth to go in the jump-off aboard Promised Land and had a rail down to finish in eighth place. Baltimore's Tracy Magness was next to go and went clear aboard her trusty Grand Prix mount Tarco Van Ter Moude in 36.630 to take home the white ribbon for horse owners Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko.

Michelle Spadone and her mount Melisimo were next to show and went clear in 39.427 to capture sixth place for Morgan Hill Partners. Jonathan McCrea returned to face Krome's jump-off route on his second mount, Triomphe de Muze . The combination saw two rails hit the floor and finished in ninth place.

Argentina's Ramiro Quintana rode Sydney next in the jump-off and went clear to finish in fifth place for owner Kathryn Quirk. It all came down to Margie Engle and her second mount that advanced to the jump-off, Hidden Creek's Coroya Z. She decided that she was happy enough with the blue ribbon and would save her eight-year-old for Sunday's $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Smith Barney and elected not to jump.

"We had a lot in the jump-off but that's what I wanted," said Krome. "For Sunday, I will raise the oxers a little and make the course a little more challenging because they are jumping for double the prize money."

"It was a nice course with about 30 in it so I think the course designer got what he wanted when 10 went clear in the first round," said Engle. "It was a good Thursday course that was pretty straight forward and a nice tune-up for Sunday."

Show jumping continues throughout the weekend at HITS Saugerties and wraps on Sunday with the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Smith Barney. Also on tap at HITS-on-the-Hudson this summer are 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 7 during Week VI.

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; Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L on course during the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties


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