OCALA, FL (February 18, 2008)—The finale of the HITS Ocala Winter Classic was twice as nice for Texas' Tracy Fenney as she captured both the blue and red ribbons in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Waldorf=Astoria Collection to conclude an action-packed week of show jumping at HITS Post Time Farm.
Fenney and her mount S&L Willie had the fastest double-clear round on course designer Ken Krome's track. The pair got the best of 40 starters in the first round and six combinations in the jump-off to secure $15,000 in first-place prize money for MTM Farm. Fenney collected $11,000 in prize money for Hidden Lakes Farm thanks to her second-place finish aboard Grace.
Fenney, who is a regular exhibitor at HITS Culpeper, is making her first trip back to HITS Ocala since 2003 when she won the first four Grand Prix classes. Fenney kicked things off with a third-place finish in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix to secure over $32,000 in prize money for the week.
"Everyone is joking with me saying I am going to win all the Grand Prix classes again this year," said Fenney, who brought 28 horses with her for the circuit.
"We love it here," she added. "Ocala is truly horse country. It's so beautiful. From the grass and the trees, to the spacious paddocks. We are all having a great time!"
Fenney and Grace were first to go in the jump-off and set the Great American Time to Beat at 39.81 with a clear round. "I wanted to go fairly fast but also wanted to make sure I didn't drop any rails with my first ride," said Fenney. "It worked out that we were nice and efficient."
Second to challenge Krome's jump-off route were David Beisel and his mount Patoile. They also went double-clear and stopped the clocks in 40.41 to secure third place for Harlow Investment Enterprises.
New Jersey's Callan Solem and Allison were third to go in the jump-off and had an unlucky rail down midway through the course to secure sixth place for Quiet Winter Farm. Solem's time of 38.96 would have given the pair the lead.
"I knew I had to go all out to beat Tracy," said Solem. "She was so fast but I thought we were on it. But I am so happy every time I get to ride Allison. I love her and am so proud of her."
Fenney returned to the jump-off with her second mount, S&L Willie. She broke her own time, stopping the clocks in 38.46 to catapult into first place.
Daniel Geitner and Artur 28 were fifth in the jump-off and had a rail down to finish the day in fifth place. Finally, sitting in the enviable last-to-ride spot were Mary Lisa Leffler and Gerona 92. The combination went clear but stopped the clocks in 42.02 to finish in fourth place.
"It was a great course," said Solem. "I think Ken (Krome) did a great job. The footing was perfect, the crowd was wonderful and the new jumps in the ring made the class feel important."
After her victory, Fenney said she is looking forward to competing at HITS Culpeper this spring and summer when the HITS Ocala Winner Circuit concludes. Fenney also earned some valuable points for the USGPL standings. This means that she increased her chances of being on the list of the riders who will be invited to participate in the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper in late September. The top 30 riders in the Marshall & Sterling League National Standings (based on money won by the horse/rider combination) will qualify to participate in the Invitational. In addition, one Wild Card slot will be allotted. The rider may elect to ride any horse of their choice, but may ride only one horse in the Invitational.
Also excelling at HITS Ocala last week were Chase Boggio who secured the Central Equine Junior Medal and Jen Alfano who rode Churchill to the Adequan Hunter Championship to highlight an exciting week of competition. For more information on Central Equine please visit http://www.centralequine.com
, and for more information on Adequan please visit http://www.hitsshows.com/press/pdf/adequan.pdf
Show jumping at HITS Ocala resumes on Tuesday, February 19 with the Ocala Winter Festival. The Ocala Winter Festival will feature the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix on Thursday, February 20 and the $50,000 Duggan Equipment Grand Prix on Sunday, February 24.
Also on the agenda for the Ocala Winter Festival are several fun out-of-ring activities. On Friday and Saturday February 22 and 23, The Ranch Fitness Center and Spa presents Spa Daze. Both afternoons will feature chair massages and spa services compliments of The Ranch. Also on Saturday, February 23, The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation Center will hold an open house from 6 pm-11pm. The Sanctuary is celebrating its Grand Opening with this special open house event for all HITS exhibitors. Complimentary food, drink and entertainment will be provided as The Sanctuary unveils its world-class equine sports medicine facility.
Finally, on Sunday, February 24, the HITS Mardi Gras Exhibitor Bash will follow the Grand Prix at the HITS Restaurant. The event will feature live music by The Saucecats, complimentary food and drink compliments of Four Winds Farm, Quiet Hill, Team Barber, DC Sales & Marketing, Huntington Ridge, Equine Medical Center of Ocala and The Custom Fox/Fox Meadow Farm.
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: ©Lili Weik Photography
Tracy Fenney and S&L Willie win the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented Waldorf=Astoria Collection at HITS Ocala.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/tracy-fenney-emo-grand-prix-02-08.html">Tracy Fenney Delivers a One-Two Punch during the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com