SAUGERTIES, NY (September 2, 2015): Week VII at HITS Saugerties ended on a high note for a select few riders who were fortunate to earn a HITS Championship Wild Card entry. Carolina Ramelli Barrera, of Morriston, Florida, and her own Zoran de Saulleu Z were added to that exclusive list after they won Sunday’s $10,000 Junior/Amateur –Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Vetera ® XP Vaccines.
Excitement filled the air as the field of competitors, hailing from across the country, vied for Wild Card honors. Eleven went clear over the 12 fence course set at 1.45m and as the jump-off began, it was anybody’s game.
It wasn’t until Haley Gassel and Quite Dark, owned by Westwind Equestrian Training Center, took the stage that spectators saw the class take a competitive turn. Gassel sped through the course for a clean round, a time of 39.982, and the lead. Although six more would try to catch her, they couldn’t keep up. Until Barrera and her mount – who were last in the order and ready to win.
Barrera was quick, fast and in a hurry to best Gassel’s time. Going clear a full second-and-a-half faster, the pair took on a class of well-respected riders and emerged victorious earning their place at the HITS Championship.
Nicole Bellissimo and Bellissimo LLC’s VDL Dogen placed third. Naranjo and owner Francisco Pasqual finished in fourth place, while Erin Haas with Coachella, owned by North Face Farm, received the fifth place ribbon.
(C) ESI Photography
Carolina Ramelli Barrera and her own Zoran de Saulleu Z on their way to a $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Vetera ® XP Vaccines win at HITS Saugerties.
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix
In anticipation for the CP $1 Million Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Stadium at HITS Saugerties was bustling with enthusiasm for Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. Pablo Mejia, of Frenchtown, New Jersey, took it all the away with Paris Z, owned by Andres Muller, going home $15,000 richer with a blue ribbon.
Thirty-four attempted the first round course designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, which included 13 fences, many of which proved to be a challenge for the contenders. No one was able to negotiate the course clear, so the top nine, all of which had one down rail or 4 faults, moved on to the jump off.
Given the opportunity to take a second chance, this time over an abbreviated course, the tone of the round was quickly set by Christine McCrea and Nektarina B, owned by Candy Tribble, who was first in the order, and clear in a time of 47.520. They remained in the lead until Allison Robitaille rode Cassinja, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone, to a swift clean round in a time of 45.949.
Sixth to reenter the ring, Mejia and his ride navigated their way through the course quickly and focused on the prize. Clocking in at 43.585 the pair stole the lead from Robitaille who would finish in second, and bumped McCrea to a third place.
Fourth place went to Cassandra Orpen aboard Casis, owned by SCCA Ventures. Manuel Torres and Santa Catalina Farm’s Anabella finished in fifth place.
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Pablo Mejia piloted Paris Z to a $50,000 HITS Grand Prix victory at HITS Saugerties.
$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Wild Card
Thirty-six competitors came out for Saturday’s $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Wild Card with hopes of a blue ribbon, the $1,500 prize, and a guaranteed spot in the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final order of go, which takes place during the HITS Championship. Brandi Holloway, of Topeka, Kansas, and Cascina, owned by Hayes Investment Group, swept in for the Wild Card title and took home top honors with scores of 87 and 89 for a total of 176.
At the end of round one Tracey Fenney aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Nestle led the sizeable group of competitors with an impressive score of 88, just one point higher than Holloway. Game faces were on as the top twelve returned for round two and riders took their go at the last qualifying opportunity of the season for the $500,000 Final.
Although some notable attempts were made by the first ten entries, it all came down to the last two, Holloway and Fenney. Holloway was slick as she moved through the course, which resulted in the round’s high score and the top spot. Last in the order, Fenney was up for a challenge and although giving a great effort, finished with a score of 86.5, for a total of 174.6, putting her in second place overall.
Third place went to Wild at Heart piloted by his own, Jamie Auletto and was followed by Heather Caristo-Williams and Sunset Hill, owned by Jacqueline Thorne, in fourth. Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC., rounded out the top five.
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$5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix Wild Card winners Brandi Holloway and Cascina.
$1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Wild Card
Hunters had their final chance to qualify for the Platinum Performance $250,000 Platinum Hunter Prix Final during Sunday’s with the $1,500 namesake class, which was also a Wild Card for the HITS Championship event. Emily Noble, of Concord, Massachusetts, cruised to a win with Volo Farm Inc.’s Claudio after the pair received scores of 82.5 and 81.4, totaling 164.
Things looked good for Noble leaving round one with the top score of the day, and going last in the round two order meant she could keep a close eye on her competition. Third to reenter the ring and with onlookers watching intently, Margot Peroni and her own, Orion, received a second round score of 84, combined with her round one score of 77 for a total of 161, to place her at the top for the time being.
Through the next eight contenders, Peroni kept her lead. Noble, in the anchor position, gave it her all and emerged victorious, pushing Peroni to second and securing her spot in the coveted $250,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix.
Casey Zuraitis rode her own KT Four Seasons to third place, while Lena Rea Reeb and Jamie Ringel’s Private Ryan earned fourth place. Fifth place went to Sydney DeGrazia and her own Extraordinary.
Thrilling competition at Saugerties continues this week when the HITS Championship returns to the majestic Hudson Valley. Over the next five days, HITS will boast several notable classes in both the hunter and jumper divisions, but all eyes will be on the Grand Prix Stadium Sunday, September 6 for the highest ranked class in US show jumping this year – the Canadian Pacific $1 Million Grand Prix FEI CSI-5*, presented by Wells Fargo.
General Admission tickets and Day VIP passes are still available for Sunday’s main event. Additionally, HITS will webcast select classes through the week and weekend LIVE. For more information, please visit www.HitsShows.com.