Top prize in the $40,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis at HITS Culpeper came down to a speed duel on Sunday afternoon. Tracy Fenney of Flower Mound, Texas topped a five-horse jump-off with MTM Farms’ MTM Centano by fractions of a second. She returned first over the short course and crossed the timers clear in 42.60 seconds, eventually landing her the blue ribbon.
Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida set the track for the grand prix, which included 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts. Three double combinations tested riders with an oxer-oxer at fence five, a vertical-oxer at fence seven and an oxer-vertical at fence 12. “The footing dried out perfectly after some rain earlier in the week and the course was difficult, but was a really nice way to get ready for Saugerties and the [Zoetis] Million,” said Fenney. “There were a couple of tall verticals that did a good job of getting the horses ready for what they will see in Saugerties.”
From a field of 23, Fenney was joined in the jump-off by Jordan Coyne of New Port Richey, Florida on two different self-owned mounts – Lazaro and Cordovo, as well as Henrick Gunderson of Wellington, Florida with his own Krake Ask and Jared Petersen aboard Derek Petersen’s Titus 2:11.
After finishing one-two in last week’s Culpeper grand prix, Petersen and Coyne were primed for a repeat. “I knew that those kids can be fast, and anyone in the jump-off could have come away with the win,” said Fenney. “Going first in the jump-off, I didn’t have much of a choice but to go as fast as I could and try and put as much pressure on them as possible.”
Coyne went second and chased Fenney’s Great American Time to Beat, piloting Cordova to a clear round in 48.43 seconds. Petersen took to the course next but had a bit of bad luck as he and Titus 2:11 clipped two rails for eight faults in a time of 44.50 seconds. Coyne returned fourth with a second chance at besting Fenney and was well on her way, but landed from the last jump two tenths of a second slower, finishing clear in 42.83 seconds. Gunderson and Krake Ask wrapped up the jump-off with four faults in a time of 47.87 seconds. Coyne was both second and third on Lazaro and Cordova, respectively, while Gunderson finished fourth and Petersen fifth.
“Centano is a really big horse, so most people look at him and assume he is slow,” said Fenney of the gelding who has proved to be anything but slow. “His stride is deceiving and he covers so much ground. We turned really tight at the 5 A-B in-and-out in the jump-off and I think that is where we won it.”
With the wrap of the August HITS Culpeper shows, Fenney is heading north for HITS Saugerties Weeks VII and VIII. At this point, she is still unsure which mount – Centano or MTM Timon – she will pilot in the coveted Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix on September 8. Grand prix riders still have two qualifying opportunities, plus the $30,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on September 6 before the fourth annual Zoetis Million takes the stage at HITS-on-the-Hudson.
Source: Press release from the HITS Media Team
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