As the last week of HITS Ocala turns on the warm weather for a spectacular finale, Aaron Vale got the excitement started early on with a win in Thursday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, aboard Zippo II, owned by 2VR Showjumpers. Forty-one horse-and-rider combinations made up the starting list on Thursday, as riders got a preview of the design style of Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico. Hernandez will also set Sunday’s $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group. Vale rode two mounts to the ribbons in a ten-trip jump-off. He was also fourth aboard Palm Sunday, owned by Amen Corner Farm, the horse he rode to two consecutive grand prix wins during the first week Of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.
First to produce a double-clear effort and set the Great American Time to Beat was last Sunday’s winner, Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois aboard Mary Goldman’s Centurion B. Goldman’s season, her first at HITS Ocala, has been nothing short of superb with three grand prix win and several more top-five finishes. She set the pace at 37.49 seconds and eventually finished in third place.
The lead would quickly change hands as Vale and Zippo II entered the ring next and shaved nearly a full second off the clock in 36.81 seconds. Vale is no stranger to success during the final week of HITS Ocala and has his sights set on Sunday’s $100,000 grand prix. Having won the title three times before, and finishing in second place last year, Vale clearly means business again this year.
Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas and MTM Farm’s MTM Centano finished the jump-off in 37.24 seconds to take second place. Also no stranger to victory in the $100,000 Grand Prix of Ocala, she and her two grand prix mounts – MTM Centano and MTM Timon – are also eager to claim top honors on Sunday. Rounding out the top five was New Jersey’s Amanda Flint on The Coverboy Group’s Superbad. Flint crossed the timers in 39.53 seconds with no faults.
Source: Press release from the HITS Media Team
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