OCALA, FL (March 16, 2010)--The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit celebrated its fifth consecutive week of AA-rated competition as Sharn Wordley and Andiamo Pyon, owned by Swept Away Farm, captured the win in Sunday’s $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
"I don’t know what I did – I just kept kicking!" exclaimed Wordley, who was ecstatic with his victory. "He [Andiamo Pyon] went very fast today and I was surprised, because he normally doesn’t go that fast."
Originally from New Zealand, Wordley now lives in Ocala, Florida, and has been riding 12-year-old Andiamo Pyon for just over a year. He rode on the New Zealand Olympic Team in 2008 alongside Sunday’s third place winner, Kirk Webby.
"I thought it was a nice galloping course," Wordley said. "There were a lot of challenging questions out there and I was surprised there was a good amount of us who went clean in the first round."
As families gathered to enjoy the Purina Mills Kid’s Day festivities, the Grand Prix field was filled with 37 competitors on a course designed by Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico, which saw an outstanding 12 horse and rider teams return for the jump-off.
Hernandez’s first round track had 13 obstacles, including three combinations, and a time allowed of 91 seconds which was eventually adjusted to 93 seconds after the first few riders went. Canadian Francois Lamontagne and his mount Anton were the first pair to go clean within the time allowed, followed immediately by Taylor McMurtry of Barrington Hills, Illinois on Just An Illusion.
Texas’ Tracy Fenney and MTM Farm's MTM Timon was the next team to go clean in the first round, followed by Kirk Webby of Whitehouse, New Jersey on Tolleshunt Investment Group's Hennessey, Wordley on Andiamo Pyon, David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio on Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC's Patoile, Michael Morrissey of Bradenton, Florida on Scareberas, Fenney again on her second mount MTM Farm's MTM Centano, Callan Solem of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania on Torlando Group's VDL Torlando, Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois on Woodrun's As Di Villagana, Scott Lenkart of Delano, Minnesota on MacMillan SportHorse's Impulsive and, finally, Tracy Magness of Baltimore, Maryland on Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko's Tarco Van Ter Moude.
In the jump off, Hernandez set a seven-obstacle track that included one combination and a time allowed of 55 seconds. Lamontagne and his mount Anton got things started in the jump-off and were looking to set the pace with a fast round, but had a rail down on the very last fence for four faults, which eventually settled them into sixth place. Taylor McMurtry and Just An Illusion were next to show and had eight faults which would put them in 12th place.
The crowd cheered loudly when Tracy Fenney and MTM Timon posted the first double-clear round and set the Great American Time to Beat at 43.81 seconds. Fenney, who has come up just short of victory several times throughout the circuit, was eager to make her mark at HITS Ocala.
"I always take second!" exclaimed Fenney, who showed both MTM Timon and MTM Centano in the jump-off. Fenney would go on to finish second with MTM Timon, and fifth with MTM Centano. "It was a really exciting day and I think everyone was excited with how well all the horses were going in the first round."
New Zealand Olympian Kirk Webby on Hennessey followed Fenney and had a clean round in 44.10 seconds, for third place.
Next in the irons was Wordley who, eager to beat Fenney’s pace, jumped clean in 43.07 seconds to reset the Great American Time to Beat and become the new leader of the class. Wordley plans to show again this Sunday in the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group.
Of the seven riders remaining in the jump-off, Solem on VDL Torlando was the only pair to go double-clear in 44.82 seconds, which put the current Catena Leading Rider in fourth place.
Tracy Magness wins the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at the HITS Ocala Winter Finals
Tracy Magness on Tarco Van Ter Moude, owned by Mr. and Mrs. John Bartko, won Friday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
There were 26 competitors that challenged Hernandez's course on Friday. Magness, who was sixth in the order aboard Tarco Van Ter Moude, posted the first clear round of the day and was the first of seven to advanced to the jump-off.
The battle of the Tracys continued as Tracy Fenney and MTM Timon, owned by MTM Farms, followed Magness into the jump-off, two rounds later. Fenney wasn’t finished, as she later showed with MTM Centano, to earn another spot in Friday’s jump-off.
Next to join the group was Callan Solem on VDL Torlando, owned by Torlando Group. Solem won the $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, last Sunday with her long-time partner Allison, and looked to continue her winning streak that has made her one of the most popular riders at HITS Ocala.
Kirk Webby on Hennessey, owned by Tolleshunt Investment, was the next rider to go clean, followed by Megan Edrick on Cadence, owned by Procedures, Inc. and Tiffany Cornacchio-Morrissey on Caldam D’Or, owned by SCNC Investments Inc., to round out the jump-off.
Starting the jump-off was Magness, who was one of two double clear rounds of the day, in a time of 41.67 seconds.
Next to show was Fenney on MTM Timon, looking to capture the lead from Magness; however, eight faults and a time of 40.63 on the field put her in seventh place.
Solem and VDL Torlando were up next, racing towards the win in the fastest round of the jump-off in 38.65 seconds; however, four faults at the very last jump placed her in third for the day.
Next, Kirk Webby took the irons on Hennessey and had four faults in 44.31 seconds for the fifth-place finish.
Tiffany Cornacchio-Morrissey and Caldam D’Or were next but, like almost everyone else in the jump-off, they were plagued with four faults on the last jump on the field and, as a result, had to settle for a fourth-place finish.
Down to the final two competitors, Megan Edrick on Cadence took the field and earned the only other clear round in 42.45 seconds, for second place.
Fenney was last to show on MTM Centano, looking to be the last rider standing in the way of Magness, but another eight faults in a speedy time of 39.62 seconds earned her a sixth-place finish.
At the close of the weekend, Wordley now has six of the eight Grand Prix classes needed to make the initial qualification for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, which will take place September 12, in Saugerties, New York. Solem, with nine Grand Prix classes, has now become one of the 38 eligible riders and sits at number six in the Pfizer Million Eligible Rider Rankings with $42, 500 in prize money on her leading horse, Allison. Despite not having a single Grand Prix victory this season in Ocala, Fenney and MTM Timon sit at number eight in the Rankings with $40,750 in prize money. Rounding out the Top 10 of the Pfizer Million Eligibile Rider Rankings is none other than Magness, who has $33,500 in prize money on Tarco Van Ter Moude.
The road to the Pfizer Million makes its final two stops this week at HITS Ocala, with Thursday’s $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and the $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group, closes out the season on Sunday, March 21.
Missed the Grand Prix action? That’s alright – you can watch every Grand Prix at HITS this season on Galopando TV at http://www.galopandotv.com, either live during the event for a small fee or after the event for no charge. At any time throughout the year, viewers can watch select competitions from HITS Ocala.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit our website at HitsShows.com.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com.
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