Edited Press Release
Wayne, Ill. – July 21, 2022 – Tiffany Hammack and Verdi O’Merveilles started off the busy weekend for Summertime III in the Grand Prix Stadium with a tactful win, coupled with a third-place finish, in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Chicago’s Lamplight Equestrian Center. With four horses advancing to the jump-off, Hammack produced the fastest double clear with Verdi O’Merveilles to earn the victory, while Ghana FS Z was the fastest 4-faulter for third place.
Catsy Cruz was tasked with designing and creating the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix track, where riders were tested on their ability to adjust their plan based on their horse. “I tried to make a technical course that was open, but as far as rideability, it could be done. There was also some questioning of a little long and a little short,” explained Cruz after the class. The questioning lines and bending lines throughout the course were also accompanied by a double combination out of one of the lines and a triple combination before the final fence.
Five horse and rider combinations successfully completed the first round without fault, however, only four of those pairs chose to take their chances at the jump-off, with one opting to save their horse for another date. Having gone clear with both mounts, Hammack doubled her odds by having both Verdi O’Merveilles and Ghana FS Z in the line-up for the jump-off.
Hammack and Ghana FS Z were the first to try their hand at the jump-off. Despite an unfortunate rail at the first jump, they still kept their pace for a time of 40.146 seconds to secure third place. Nicolas Gamboa and Interactive Mortgage Cayjano were the next to follow and the first to produce a clean jump-off with a speedy time of 39.307 seconds. Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Ivaro N also tried to snag the top spot, but a rail in the combination kept them out of the top three and landed them in fourth place.
Being the last to go in the jump-off and having already ridden the course, Hammack was able to use that to her advantage. By tightening up her track and going clear over all the fences with a quick time of 38.870 seconds, Hammack was able to take the top position aboard Verdi O’Merveilles.
“I knew I did nine strides from the one to four and nine strides for the other rollback on my first horse. Counting in turns is not my strong suit, but I really tried, so I knew I got eight and eight on my other horse,” noted Hammack after her round.
This is not the first time Hammack has earned a spot in the winner’s circle with her horses here at HITS Chicago this summer, and she was thrilled to add another victory to the list. “For my 9-year-old, it’s a great place to step up – and the facility is beautiful!”