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Miranda Fischer and Hot Wheels win the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties

SAUGERTIES, NY(June 6, 2008)--On any other day, Keean White would have walked out of the Grand Prix ring at HITS-on-the-Hudson thinking he had a sure win.

But White, who had the leading time in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix with just one trip left, was edged out by fellow Canadian Miranda Fischer and her lightning-fast mount Hot Wheels on the final trip of the class.

"When I walked out of the ring, I knew I was really fast," said White, who finished in second place aboard Celina Z. "I thought I would have had the time to win the class if it were any other horse behind me. Hot Wheels is just too fast to take anything for granted."

Fischer, who trains under the watchful eye of Darragh Kerins, began riding Hot Wheels this winter after purchasing the horse from Double H Farm. "I rode him up until heading to Florida this year," said Kerins. "We brought him along slow because he was a bit temperamental in the beginning."

"I think I have the best horse in the world," said the 28-year-old Fischer after her triumph. "Darragh did a great job breaking him in for me and I wouldn't be anything without Darragh and his wife."

Course Designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. trimmed a field of 31 exhibitors in the first round to six pairs for the jump-off. First to go in the jump-off were Christine McCrea and her mount Sweetheart. The duo set the Great American Time to Beat at 42.178 with a clean round. They would eventually finish in fourth place for Windsor Show Stables.

Second in the jump-off were Natalie Johnson and her mount Rodenburgh's California. The pair dropped an unlucky rail midway through the route and finished in fifth place.

Rebecca Johanson-Hofmann, who has been one of the hottest riders during the HITS Saugerties spring series of horse shows placing in the money in all three Grand Prix events, stepped into the ring next aboard her gray mare Corona.

Johanson-Hofmann and Corona were second in last Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix and fifth in last Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. In Thursday's feature class, they had to settle for a sixth place finish as they dropped a rail midway through the trip.

Bill Lowry and Rio Corde were fourth in the jump-off order. In an exciting round with the crowd egging them on, they set the new Great American Time to Beat at 41.710 to take the lead.

It didn't take long for Lowry and his mount to get pushed off the mountain. White and Celina Z shaved over a second off of Lowry's time to move into the lead with a clear round in 40.419.

Fischer and Hot Wheels took advantage of the last-to-ride spot and stopped the clocks in 39.651 to secure the victory gallop and $7,500 in prize money. "I knew I was running fast but didn't have any idea how fast," said Fischer. "I heard Darragh screaming for me from the in-gate, so I turned around to look at the clock and said 'Oh, I was really fast!'"

"I didn't jump in today's Grand Prix, but it looked like all of the horses were jumping well," said Kerins. "The footing looks great and I am looking forward to Sunday's Grand Prix where I will show my top horse Night Train."

Show jumping at HITS Saugerties continues all weekend and features the $50,000 Waldorff=Astoria Collection Grand Prix on Sunday.

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; Miranda Fischer and Hot Wheels win the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.

 

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