After winning four in a row during Weeks V and VI at HITS Saugerties this summer, Laura Chapot is off to another great start as she and Mary Chapot's Umberto rode to a win in today's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health. They topped a field of 30 horses who rode over Jerry Dougherty's track and pocketed the last $25,000 grand prix before HITS Championship Weekend arrives September 7-9.
Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida set a 13-obstacle course, which included 16 jumping efforts. He tripped up most riders with a one-stride to a two-stride triple combination at fence eight and a tight one-stride double at fence eleven. The two combinations alone ruined all hope for clear rounds for nine riders, while eleven persevered to the jump-off.
Chapot was one of five to go double clear, but it was John Pearce of Bermuda Dunes, California who got things started by producing the first clear round in the jump-off and setting the Great American Time To Beat at 40.79 seconds. Pearce, who is regular at the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California during the winter, is one of many riders who has recently flocked east in hopes of conquering next weekend's Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. Pearce was aboard Forest View Farm's Johnny B Good.
The lead changed, however, when Matt Williams of Wellington, Florida piloted Samantha Turek's Watch Me VD Mangelaar to a clear jump-off round in 39.02 seconds to sit in first. Pearce, however, did not go down quietly – he returned with his second mount, Forest View Farm's Chianto, and stole back the lead with a clear round in 36.78 seconds.
Chapot batted clean-up in the jump-off and was able to slip past Pearce's fastest time by six tenths of a second and finished the round in 36.18 seconds for the win.
"This horse is always consistent here," said Chapot of Umberto – a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. "This was our third grand prix win together in Saugerties and I am just really happy with how well he has been jumping lately."
Behind Chapot was Pearce and Chianto in second, and Williams with Watch Me VD Mangelaar in third. Pearce and Johnny B Good finished in fourth, and rounding out the top five was Vanessa Paschini of Boisbrand, Quebec in the irons of Equifind Group's Neolisto Van Het Mierenhof.
Source: Pressrelease from HITS.
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