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Marvelous Margie!Former Olympian takes the top spot in $75,000 HITS Grand Prix

SAUGERTIES, NY (June 1, 2009)—Former Olympian Margie Engle captured the blue ribbon aboard Hidden Creek Farm's Coroya Z in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix to conclude the HITS-on-the-Hudson II horse show in Saugerties, New York.

Engle and her mare were the best of 23 horse-and-rider pairs who challenged Mexico's Florencio Hernandez's first-round course and the 10 pairs that advanced to the jump-off.

Engle and her winning ride were first to show on Hernandez's eight-effort jump-off course. They were fast and clean coming all the way home in 44.028 to set the Great American Time to Beat from the start. "After I went, it was hard to tell if my time would hold up," said Engle. "There were so many fast combinations that still had to go behind me."

"I thought the footing held up great this week," she continued. "I am very pleased with all of the improvements that were made here this year. I unfortunately will not be here next week but had a great stay in Saugerties and hope to be back in the summer."

The star-studded group in the jump-off continued when Todd Minikus and Sleepy P Ranch's Presidente were next to show. Two rails down early landed the pair in ninth place.

Bill Lowry rode Winsor Farm Sales' Rio Corde next in the ring for the jump-off and laid down a clean effort in 45.435. That time would be off of Engle's pace but would result in a second-place finish and a check for $16,500.

Leslie Burr-Howard would be the third former Olympian to show in the jump-off when she rode Rainmond W to an eight-fault performance to finish in seventh place. Fifth to show in the jump-off was Laura Bowery aboard the Epir Group's Epir. Three rails down landed them in 10th place.

Two-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner McLain Ward was next to show aboard Overlook Farm's Miss Liberty 7. Ward was heading home well under Engle's time but had a rail down late on the course to finish in third place. Ward, who won both Grand Prix classes last week, was the fastest of the four horse-and-rider combinations that had four faults and stopped the clock in 43.724 to collect $9,750 in prize money.

Darragh Kenny and Missy Clark's Gael Force would show seventh in the round. They had two rails down and finished in eighth place. Next to go was Daniel Bluman and Fatalis Fatum. The duo had four faults to finish in fifth place.

Engle returned next with her second ride of the jump-off, this time she was in the irons of Hidden Creek Farm's Campella. They had a rail down early to finish in sixth place.

Sitting in the enviable last-to-go spot were Rebecca Johanson-Hoffman and Blue Hill Farm's Corona. A rail down at the second effort on the course placed them in the fourth position to end the class.

Show jumping at HITS Saugerties will continue on Wednesday, June 3 with HITS-on-the-Hudson III. Highlighting the week for High-Performance Riders will be the $125,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix on Sunday. Also on Sunday, is the ever-popular Purina Mills Kids Day, including a sure-to-please Canine Costume Contest. For more information on Kids Day, please click here .

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 Credit: ©Lili Weik Photography

Photo Caption: Margie Engle in the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix.


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