SAUGERTIES, NY (June 1, 2013) – After two in-the-money finishes last week at HITS Saugerties, Todd Minikus and Quality Girl kicked off Week II grand prix action by topping a ten-horse jump-off in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis.
Minikus won the Week I $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome at HITS Saugerties and picked up sixth and eighth-place ribbons in last week’s grand prix classes, but his spring circuit reached its pinnacle on Friday when he cashed a $7,500 check.
“She has really matured a lot over the winter,” said Minikus of Quality Girl, a ten-year-old Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Dobrock. He admits that she started off very green with little hope of making it to the grand prix ring. Her doubters were proved wrong, however, and the young mare has collected her share of successes in recent months. “She has been performing fantastic and between Purina, Vita Flex and Charles Owen, she has what she needs to keep us in the winner’s circle.”
Martin Otto of Muenster, Germany set Friday’s course, which included 12 obstacle and 16 jumping efforts with a double and triple combination. Faults were spread throughout the track, but ten riders, of an original 28, were clean to advance to the short course.
Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida piloted two mounts and returned first in the jump-off with Elm Rock, LLC’s Cabras. She and the nine riders behind her faced a seven-obstacle course, which include the 5ab double combination from the original course. True to form, the pair was clean and set the Great American Time To Beat at 41.29 seconds.
Three trips later, Minikus entered with Quality Girl and it was clear they had one goal – speed. They turned and burned to a clear ride in 34.78 seconds. Their time stood unscathed for the remaining five rounds and was nearly five seconds ahead of second place at the conclusion of the class.
“She is such a sweet mare, but extremely aware of everything going on around her,” Minikus said of Quality Girl. “She has a lot of blood and she was fantastic today – we have some good things ahead of us I think.”
Engle was double clear on both of her rides and picked up second place with Elm Rock, LLC’s Celena Z. Their time on the short course was 39.35 seconds. She and Cabras ended in fourth.
Third place went to James North of New York, New York on Fair Play Farm’s The Man To See. North and The Man To See rode in the middle of the jump-off order and posted 40.72 seconds on the clock. Heather Caristo-Williams of Saugerties, New York finished in fifth aboard Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Carsito’s Evening Star. They rode to a final time of 41.90 seconds.
The five remaining riders in the jump-off had rails and all ended with four faults.
Grand prix competition will return to the Strongid© C 2X Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday with the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. With a serious spike in prize money, riders will look to pocket qualifying leverage for the fast-approaching Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix of HITS Championship Weekend. Once eligible, the start order for the prestigious event will be determined by a rider’s money won on their leading grand prix mount. Keep tabs on all Zoetis Million qualifying action at HITShows.com.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Henrik Gundersen and his own Ahaveros won Wednesday’s $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome to get Week II at HITS Saugerties underway. Gundersen of Wellington, Florida and his eight-year-old bay gelding topped 33 contenders over the 1.40m course.
Mattias Tromp of North Salem, New York picked up second aboard Beyaert Farm, Inc.’s Zalicia and Michael Dorman of Wellington, Florida was third with Valinski S, who he owns with Wyndmont, Inc. Michael Desiderio of Chester, New Jersey rode to fourth on Tranquillity Farm’s High Eight, and Peter Wylde of Lake Worth, Florida capped the top five in the irons of Societe Civile de L’Ecurie Meautry’s Ak’s Clowney.
Brook Ledge Horse Transportation presents weekly jumper classes at HITS Saugerties. Aside from the winner’s purse, Brook Ledge Open Jumper riders also compete for the Brook Ledge Rider Bonus. The award, given at the conclusion of the circuit, includes a $1,500 shipping credit for the rider who
$25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis
Place; Horse; Owner; Rider; Prize $; Rd 1 Faults; JO Faults; JO Time
1 Quality Girl Todd Minikus, Ltd. Todd Minikus $7,500 0 0 34.78
2 Celena Z Elm Rock, LLC Margie Engle $5,500 0 0 39.35
3 The Man To See Fair Play Farm James North $3,250 0 0 40.72
4 Cabras Elm Rock, LLC Margie Engle $2,000 0 0 41.29
5 Evening Star Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo Heather Caristo-Williams $1,500 0 0 41.90
6 Capall Zidane Ronan McGuigan Ronan McGuigan $1,250 0 4 37.78
7 Casey Beyaert Farm, Inc. Mattias Tromp $1,000 0 4 38.02
8 Valentino Mavis Spencer Darragh Kenny $750 0 4 39.21
9 High Eight Tranquillity Farm Michael Desiderio $750 0 4 43.81
10 Rancine Von Het Gravenhof Dagny Mactaggart Judy Garofalo Torres $500 0 4 41.06
11 KT Undercover Michael Kirby Michael Kirby $500 – 1 –
12 Quivola Trade Winds Farm Agatha D’Ambra $500 – 3 –
About HITS, Inc.
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 took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix – now the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix. In 2011, HITS hosted the richest weekend in show jumping with the return of the Pfizer Million and the introduction of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. In 2012, the historic weekend got even sweeter with the addition of the HITS$250,000 HITS Hunter Prix Final. This year, HITS hosted a second $1 million class with the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Thermal and announced the first-ever Triple Crown of Show Jumping with the addition of the Ocala $1 Million Grand Prix in 2014.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!
Media should contact the HITS Media Team at 845.246.8833 or e-mail Media_Info@HitsShows.com.
2013 Horse Show Dates
HITS Desert Circuit
January 22 – March 17, 2013
HITS Ocala Winter Circuit
January 16 – March 17, 2013
HITS Arizona Winter Circuit
January 30 – March 10, 2013
HITS Culpeper Show Series
April / July / August / September
HITS Saugerties Show Series
May-June / July-August / September
HITS Championship Weekend
September 6-8, 2013