With the qualifying stakes high for the Great American $1 Million Prix, one might think it a little daunting for a young rider to face a strong field of competitors, including multiple grand prix winners and professionals. Not when you're Jordan Coyne of New Port Richey, Florida. Under the tutelage of trainer Derek Petersen, Coyne qualified both of her grand prix mounts, Lazaro and Cordovo, for the jump-off in the $50,000 Ring Power Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, at HITS Ocala. Coyne would eventually take the blue aboard Lazaro and finish second with Cordovo.
The course, designed by Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, challenged 29 riders with 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts, including gallops, a liverpool, several big oxers, rollbacks and a vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination. Many fell victim to the triple at six, as well as the large oxer-vertical double at fence nine.
A very strong field of ten returned to face the difficult jump-off course with a time allowed of 55 seconds. "I thought when I walked the course it was big and technical. I was surprised when ten managed to go clean," said Jordan "I've had five or six grand prix wins in the past, but it is always exciting, I was glad to get our first win of the circuit – we've worked hard for it."
With both of her grand prix horses, MTM Timon and MTM Centano, fault-free and qualified for the jump-off, Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas returned to jump first on MTM Farm's MTM Centano. With four grand prix wins this circuit, two coming on each horse, Fenney posted a very fast time of 37.03 seconds, but pulled a rail for four faults giving MTM Centano the fifth-place ribbon. MTM Timon would finish in tenth place with two rails down and eight faults.
The first clean round in the jump-off was Callie Morgan Smith of Bernardsville, New Jersey riding for Smithfield Farms on the versatile Captain Krutzmann. After making a daring inside turn to the large oxer at fence three, she set the Great American Time to Beat at 44.29 seconds, good for third place.
The time would only hold until Coyne and Lazaro entered the stadium. They threw caution to the wind with a crowd-thrilling new line to 9a, earning them a time of 41.16 seconds. Coyne also jumped clean on Cordovo in 44.19 seconds, to take the second place ribbon.
"I am blessed to win first on Lazaro and second on Cordova today. It was no easy task and even my legs are weak" said Coyne. "My horses really jumped great today and I am thrilled. I knew I had to take a risk to beat the clock and Lazaro was on the bit and up to the challenge. We've been together six years now and we trust each other."
Bryn Sadler of Santa Fe, New Mexico was also double clear, piloting Bon Giorno to fourth for Showcase 81, LLC.
Grand prix action returns to the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium on Thursday as the Ocala Winter Finals offers the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis and again Sunday with the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. Excitement continues to build for the first-ever Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, which will debut as the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24.
Source: Press release from HITS, Inc.
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