In a stunning repeat performance, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and the nine-year-old mare Malou, owned by Octavia Farms, scored victory in Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis. They also won the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix last Sunday. “Malou has emerged as my most successful horse of the Desert Circuit,” Michaels-Beerbaum said immediately following the class, and she wasn’t exaggerating.
Malou has been in the money in every Thermal grand prix in which she’s shown – a total of nine beginning with Desert Circuit II. She also landed in the ribbons in the $5,000 PCHA Jimmy Williams Classic that was her starter class during week one. “The mare is jumping beautifully. I’m delighted,” Michaels-Beerbaum said. Whatever horse she is on, Michaels-Beerbaum is a force to be reckoned with. Riding Windward Farm’s Unbelievable 5, she also placed fourth in a very hard-fought contest for DC VI’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. There were 47 starters, with seven making the jump-off, and of those seven only four were able to go double clear.
In what was a climactic finish to an electrifying competition, Michaels-Beerbaum and Malou were the first in on the jump-off and laid down a Great American Time to Beat that could not be topped – 41.07 seconds. New Zealand rider Duncan McFarlane, who lives in San Ramon, California, was second to go on Simone Coxe’s Mr. Whoopy, and their time of 41.51 seconds put them into a snug red-ribbon position.
“Hopefully we’re peaking at just the right time,” said McFarlane, who came in second in the 2011 HITS Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties with Whoopy and plans to ride the stallion in the AIG Thermal Million next week. “It was a great outcome with seven in the jump-off and no crazy runs. Everybody had the same number of strides across the first line, rollback to a skinny then one stride and you could gain speed and leave a stride out coming home. I thought it was a really good course.”
Two rides later, Will Simpson of Westlake Village, California, and the Monarch International mare Acorina gave it their best shot, but landed in third with a time of 41.60 seconds. “It was a great grand prix – the best course Olaf Petersen, Sr. designed all week,” said Simpson, who seemed to be a crowd favorite, generating shrieks and cheers as he and Acorina raced around the ring.
Two trips later, Michaels-Beerbaum returned with Unbelievable 5 and the two gave it everything they had, which turned out to be good enough for fourth in 41.66 seconds. When the dust settled, just six-tenths of a second separated the top four.
Paige Dotson of Laguna Hills, California and her family’s Rockford I was fastest of the four-faulters in the jump-off, earning fifth place with a time of 48.47 seconds. Woodside, California-based Karl Cook had a rail and a refusal at the third fence, but still finished within the time allowed four sixth with an eight fault score in a time of 51.91 seconds. In an effort to beat the clock, Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and his own Caruschka had three rails for a total of 12 faults in 42.86 seconds to finish seventh.
Source: Press release from the HITS Media Team
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