Ramiro Quintana put just one month worth of work to good use as he piloted HH Narcos Du Marais to the top spot in Sunday’s $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS Culpeper. After just 30 days with the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, owned by Double H Farm, Quintana found himself in the ribbons. Despite a heat wave that blazed through much of the East over the weekend, horses and riders alike returned to HITS Culpeper to meet the Showday National’s qualifying opportunity for HITS Championship Weekend. Quintana of Wellington, Florida and “Narcos” led off the Sunday afternoon Grand Prix and were the first to go clear and pick up a qualifier for the famed Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. He met four other pairs in the jump-off.
“The course was certainly suitable for the conditions, considering the heat,” said Quintana. “I think five was the perfect number clear and the course seemed to ask all the right questions.” Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida designed a 13-obstacle course, which involved 16 jumping efforts including a double combination at fence four and a triple at fence 10. In the jump-off, Dougherty repeated the A element of the double as the first fence and used seven more efforts, which included the B-C elements of the triple combination to complete the course.
Quintana was first to show in the jump-off and knew he had to use his horse’s speed. “I wanted to go as fast as we could without a rail to put the pressure on the riders behind me,” he said. “I was hoping that while they were trying to catch our time, they would make a mistake.”
Quintana’s jump-off plan worked according to design as he and “Narcos” were the only pair clear in the jump-off in a time of 51.57 seconds. Meg O’Mara, of Rumson, New Jersey, who rode next was on track to trump Quintana’s time aboard Walstib Stables, LLC’s Aragon Rouet, but clipped a rail over the last fence to pick up four faults in a time of 50.11 seconds for second place. “We are really starting to come together,” said O’Mara her relationship with Aragon Rouet, who she purchased last September after he won the 2011 Pfizer Million. “We are a team now and we have finally figured each other out.”
Two of the final three riders in the jump-off found trouble on the clock as Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina posted a round with no jumping faults, but four time faults with a time of 55.17 seconds to finish fourth aboard Kendra Bullington’s Patent Pending. It was Rachel Udelson, who rode fourth aboard her own VDL Wardorette, who had the horse to beat, according to Quintana. “I knew Rachel’s horse was going to be fast and we were lucky that she had a rail down,” he said.
Udelson, of Middleburg, Virginia picked up four faults at the final fence to clinch third in a time of 51.21 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Quintana on his second mount of the day Capone 21, owned by St. Bridges Farm in a time of 56.05 seconds with five time faults.
Udelson and Quintana also went head-to-head on Friday as Udelson and VDL Wardorette won the $15,000 Brook Ledge Open Jumper Prix on Friday. Quintana and HH Narcos Du Marais were second. Laura Linback, of Mundelein, Illinois swept the third and fourth place positions with Woodrun’s Whittaker MVNZ and Woodrun’s HH Dauphin, respectively. Rounding out the top five was Manuel Torres of Ashburn, Virginia with TG Show Stables’ Chambacunero.
Source: Press release from HITS Media Team.
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