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Three Winter Circuits Wrap Up on Sunday, March 16 with $500,000 Up for Grabs!

THERMAL, CA (March 11, 2008)—On Sunday, March 16 all three of the HITS winter shows will celebrate the end of another successful season. HITS Thermal, HITS Ocala and HITS Arizona represent a total of 21 weeks of hunter/jumper horse shows, 36 Grand Prix classes worth more than $1.5 million in prize money and thousands of classes for every level of rider. From season-ending Grand Prix finales to a host of other big-dollar classes to the crowning of this season's circuit champions, it's all happening on HITS' Super Sunday!

DC Championship to close out the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California

At the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California the all-new DC Championship (March 11-16) will take center stage. DC Championship marks the return of the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Classic. The popular class will take place on Friday night in the Grand Prix ring under the lights. During DC III, Jenny Karazissis rode El Campeon's Swoon to victory and she plans to try for a repeat this weekend.

"We are the only circuit to host two of these exciting new classes highlighting show hunters over old-style fences with special emphasis on handiness and brilliance," said HITS' Vice President of West Coast Operations Fred Bauer.

On Saturday night, the lights in the Grand Prix ring will be shining bright again. This time the spotlight will be on the equitation riders when the R.W. Mutch Equitation Classic makes its debut on the West Coast. "The R.W. 'Ronnie' Mutch trophy is one of the most prestigious equitation classes in the country and we're delighted to welcome it to Thermal and showcase it in our Grand Prix ring." added Bauer.

Sunday will be all about the accolades in the Grand Prix ring. Prior to the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix, the Second-Half Circuit Award winners will be revealed as well as the Antares Sellier France Overall Circuit Award winners. The perpetual trophies will also be changing hands prior to the featured class on Sunday, including the Potcreek Meadow Farm Junior Sportsman Award, Jimmy Kohn Style of Riding Award, SHALANNO Style of Riding Award, Michael Patrick Perpetual Trophy and the HITS Grand Hunter Champion.

In all, more than 30 different champion classes will be offered at HITS Thermal over the course of the weekend, including popular favorites like the $10,000 PCHA Jimmy Williams Classic, the $15,000 Jr/A-O Jumper Low Classic, the $25,000 California Horsetrader Jr/A-O Jumper High Classic, $5,000 Junior Hunter Classic and the $5,000 A-O Hunter Classic, just to name a few.

Without a doubt, the crown jewel of DC Championship is the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix. The top 30 pairs, based on prize money won during the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit, will be invited to compete in the class. The final list of the top 30 competitors for the Invitational is expected to be released by Wednesday, March 12. The Invitational Show Committee has the option of awarding a total of four invitations. Will Simpson of El Campeon Farms was invited last week by the Invitational Show Committee. It is expected that at least one more Grand Prix rider will be named prior to Sunday's class.

"It's going to be a fantastic class," said Richard Spooner. "The riders who did the best this circuit get rewarded with a great event. There is no entry fee and a ton of prize money up for grabs."

"That's a lot of prize money," said Chris Pratt. "The buzz is in the air and everyone wants to win that first-place check."

PHOTO:©Flying Horse Photography: With $61,000 in accumulated winnings, Joie Gatlin and Camaron Hills Shan Roe have earned the number one spot in the standings for the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix on Sunday, March 16 at HITS Thermal. Gatlin may elect to ride any horse to compete in Sunday's class.


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