Purina Mills was on hand this weekend at HITS Ocala as the title sponsor of the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. The weekend was full of Purina Mills sponsored festivities and Purina sponsored rider Aaron Vale, of Morriston, Florida, put the exclamation point on the weekend when he captured the coveted first place prize in the Grand Prix aboard Bonnie Smith’s Tibor. To put the icing on the cake, he also won a ton of Purina Mills feed through the Purina Mills Rider’s Bonus.
Can“It’s been awhile since I’ve won a big Sunday Grand Prix and I was hoping to do it this circuit, so I was pretty thrilled,” said Vale, who showed two mounts on Sunday and finished in tenth place aboard Honeyland’s Douglason, owned by Doug’s Crew. “I think Danny [Foster] did a fantastic job today giving us a big course to jump. The line to the triple combination gave a lot of difficulties today and the six strides made the horses kind of dive at the jump and take a down. I was able to do seven strides with both of my horses and was able to sneak them through it. The jumps came up quick and there was a lot of riding to do in 88 seconds. There were 14 fences and it was about the same time allowed for a 12 jump course, so it kept you busy.”
At the end of the first round, five horse-and-riders were poised to return for the jump-off, which included a well rounded group of seasoned veterans and talented High-Performance riders, including Tracy Fenney, who has been an unstoppable force this season in the Grand Prix ring.
First to show in the jump-off was Daniel Damen of Ocala, Florida riding for Chuck and Dana Waters aboard All Star. The team set the Great American Time to Beat at 54.094 seconds.
Vale and Tibor were next to show and were determined to take the blue ribbon. With some quick competition waiting in the wings, Vale knew he needed to post a blistering fast time and did so in 41.076 seconds with no faults.
Laura Linback of Mundelin, Illinois aboard Woodrun’s Whittaker MVNZ showed next and was the last rider to post a double-clear effort in 44.782 seconds, which earned them the second place ribbon.
Thaisa Erwin, originally of Australia and now riding out of Ocala, Florida, and her own Matilda gave a valiant effort to earn the fourth place ribbon with one rail down in 47.868 seconds.
Last to show was the most dominant team of the HITS Ocala season thus far – Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas and MTM Farm’s MTM Centano. As they sought to capture yet another win, Fenney laid it all the line and galloped around the course. Her luck ran out, however, on the way to the fifth fence when MTM Centano refused and she suffered an unintentional dismount, which eliminated them from the jump-off and set them up to finish in fifth place.
$50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
1. Tibor/Aaron Vale $15,000 0/0 41.076
2. Whittaker MVNZ/Laura Linback $11,000 0/0 44.782
3. All Star/Daniel Damen $6,500 0/0 54.094
4. Matilda/Thaisa Erwin $4,000 0/4 47.868
5. MTM Centano/Tracy Fenney $3,000 0/Elim.-
6. Vicki Vale/sabelle LaPierre $2,500 1
7. Quonschbob/Andre Thieme $2,000 4
8. MTM Timon/Fenney $1,500 4
9. Chambacunero/Manuel Torres $1,500 4
10. Honerlands DouglasonAaron Vale $1,000 4
11. Underground Des Hauts Dro/Francois Lamontagne $1,000 4
12. Spitfire/Katherine Frame Dewar $1,000 4
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