Jared Petersen and his father, Derek, were walking on air yesterday afternoon. Their excitement not only stemmed from the fact that Jared had just piloted Titus 2:11 to a win in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, but also because it was his third grand prix win of the winter season.
"I'm hoping that I don't wake up anytime soon," said Derek just moments after claiming the winner's prizes with his son. "This horse just keeps surprising us and I hope we can keep this up."
Jared, who hails from Archer, Florida, has been riding Titus 2:11 for about a year and a half, but their meeting was not a fairytale– it was more of an accident turned perfect partnership. According to his father, Jared's mount, now a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding, was a "sweeten the deal" horse added onto the purchase of Derek's Via Dolorosa in Germany in 2011. "He was seven, green and we thought he would just be a nice trade horse," Derek admitted.
Petersen admits that he was not expecting his son would find such success so soon with Titus 2:11. After riding to a few clears in small grand prix at the end of last season, Petersen was planning to have Jared ride in a few of the Thursday grand prix and some of the high amateur jumper classics on Sundays in Ocala. "Apparently this horse doesn't care how high the jumps are," he said. "He has figured this whole thing out pretty well and we are going to let him keep going until he shows us that he needs to rest."
Jared and Titus 2:11 were one of eight to go clear over a course designed by Dave Ballard of Tottenham, Ontario, which included 12 obstacles and 15 jumping efforts.
"The first round had a lot of good lines for us," said Petersen. "There were a few opportunities to leave strides out and he [Titus 2:11] is really good at that."
Last to ride in the jump-off, Petersen had only one clear round to beat. David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio, ahd gone first in the jump-off and set an early Great American Time To Beat of 33.65 seconds. Beisel, riding Equine Holdings, LLC's Ammeretto remained in the top spot until Petersen's trip, despite six other attempts to unseat him. Four riders found trouble jumping into the double combination at the end of the course: Lisa Goldman of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois; Jordan Coyne of New Port Richey, Florida; James Gillam of North Hatley, Quebec; and Erin Haas of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland had an unlucky rail at the first fence for four faults and Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas suffered a rail at the last fence.
"My only strategy was to catch David [Beisel]," Petersen said after posting the final and winning trip of the day in 32.91 seconds. "I'm still in shock that everything is working out like this, and I'm thankful to God everyday that I am able to ride this horse."
Fenney picked up third aboard one of her two mounts for the day, MTM Farm's MTM Centano, while Lisa Goldman and Mary Goldman's Centurion B were fourth. Jordan Coyne, was fifth with her own Lazaro. Grand prix competition will continue at HITS Ocala as Sunday offers the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis – another opportunity to qualify for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix, which will return to HITS Championship Weekend this fall at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
Source: Press release from HITS, Inc.
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