Nothing could dampen the spirits of David Beisel on Sunday. The rider hails from Goshen, Ohio and jumped a crowd favorite nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Ammeretto for owners Equine Holdings, LLC to a win in the $50,000 Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, at HITS Ocala.
"Ammeretto is very aware of the spectators - he loves people," said Beisel of the stallion he has been partnered with for the last six years. "When people move in the stands, he watches them like he didn't want them to go and I have to get his attention back on the business of jumping."
The first round course had a time allowed of 80 seconds and was designed by Jack Robson of Coronado, California. It was straight-forward until the last line, which included a short six strides to a vertical-oxer-oxer triple combination and a tall vertical at thirteen ended many competitors' hopes to make it to the jump-off.
Beisel had this to say about Ammeretto, "This horse is all heart and motor he attacks a fence. I was afraid after he jumped in the Prix on Thursday he was getting a little burned-out, and I was thinking of giving him some time off." Beisel admits that after some help from fellow trainer Richard Rinehart, a few 6am schooling sessions and a gallop on the track at HITS Ocala, Ammaretto was back on his game.
The jump-off offered seven obstacles, including a left roll-back to fence eight, then a 10ab double and a new fence at 15 – the Strongid® C 2X™ vertical – which was the last fence on the course and produced the most faults.
Beisel and Ammeretto were last of 16 to jump off, and followed a very fast time of 32.95 seconds set by front runner Michael Hughes of Allendale, New Jersey aboard Christina Fried's MacArthur. Beisel and Ammeretto dug in for an amazing nail-biting jump-off performance, tackling the course in a time of 31.4 seconds and brought the crowd to their feet. With many placings so far this season, it was this duo's first grand prix win. Hughes ended in second.
Helen Goddard of Lincroft, New Jersey, the rider and trainer of Noire, was the first to return in the jump-off answering the call with the Great American Time to Beat in a time of 37.81seconds, which was eventually good for a sixth-place ribbon.
Next to jump was Bryn Sadler of Sante Fe, New Mexico on the strapping Bon Giorno for owners Showcase 81 LLC and trainer Wendy Haig Sadler with a clear round in 36.75 seconds for fourth. Third place went to Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas, who already has four grand prix wins this circuit. She piloted the lovely chestnut MTM Timon for MTM Farm to a time of 34.35 seconds. Taking fifth place was Envy, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding, ridden and trained by Sulu Rose-Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia for co-owner Lisa Striplin with no-faults and a time of 37.22 seconds.
There will be more grand prix action at HITS Ocala on Thursday, before the $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, brings competition back to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium on Sunday. The excitement is building for the first-ever Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on March 24 as those trying to qualify are feeling the pressure with only more grand prix left, as the 'showdown in the stadium' draws closer.
Source: Press release from HITS, Inc.
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