'This girl is on fire', aptly describes Lisa Goldman and Centurion B as they beat a contentious field and jumped to the blue for their third grand prix win at HITS Ocala, in Thursday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis.
With 76 seconds, the allowed first-round time, course designer Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida challenged competitors by offering 12 obstacles with 14 jumping efforts. The competitors faced a combination of straight-forward verticals, oxers and tight turns, with a difficult left turn between fence seven, onward to eight. But, it was the triple combination at fence 10 a, b and c – a vertical-oxer-vertical that proved the trickiest part of the course. This combination produced the most faults with downed rails.
Five clean would return in the jump-off, taking on the clock and five fences, including a triple bar at number five with the jump-off time allowed set at 50 seconds.
MTM Timon, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding and a seasoned champion trained by Michael McCormick, owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound, Texas and ridden by veteran two-time 2014 HITS Ocala grand prix winner, Tracy Fenney were the first to jump-off. They answered the call with a Great American Time to Beat of 39.56 seconds. Ultimately, their time proved good enough for the red ribbon.
Third place rider/trainer was hometown hero, Aaron Vale of Morriston, Florida aboard Bromance, owned by his Thinkslikeahorse. Fourth place went to Moet Walk, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, with trainer/rider David Beisel of Goshen, Ohio in the irons. Rounding out the field of five was Leviticus, owned by MTM Farm of Flower Mound, Texas, also trained by McCormick and ridden by Fenney.
Make no mistake, this day belonged to the American-bred Belgian Warmblood Centurion B, bred by the ever-proud Allyn McCracken and partnered for ten years with the now, three-time HITS Ocala 2014 winning grand prix rider Lisa Goldman. Goldman is trained by her mother Mary Goldman, both of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois.
When asked about the course and the horse, Lisa beamed. "He is just the best. He was a little feisty with the weather, which is out of character for him – usually he shows with a laid-back attitude," she said. "The course wasn't set too big for today's conditions and the footing was very good, considering the rain. My horse jumped well and dug in after the combination. I was really watching the clock at 33 seconds."
Acknowledging the class sponsor, Goldman admits that her 85-horse farm in Illinois is fueled by SmartPak. "After winning a lot of product during last year's winter circuit, we started using it on our horses and couldn't be happier with the results," she said.
There will be more great grand prix action on Sunday as HITS III, the Ocala Premiere continues with the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. The excitement is starting to build for the first-ever Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. The Great American Million will debut as the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24 in the new Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.
Source: Press release from HITS, Inc.
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