Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jumping: HITS: Thermal: I Love Lucy! Lucy Davis and Nemo 119 win the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach, at HITS Thermal

© Flying Horse Photography.
Lucy Davis and Nemo 119 on course in the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach, at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.
THERMAL, CA (March 14, 2011)—Lucy Davis and Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 scored the crown jewel of the 2011 HITS Desert Circuit when they captured the top placing in the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach, to conclude six weeks of world-class show jumping at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.

Davis,18, is making herself a household name in the sport. Sunday’s victory marked her fourth Grand Prix triumph in a row at the HITS Desert Circuit. Earlier in the day, she was awarded the SHALANNO Style of Riding Award during the Parade of Champions. The prestigious award is presented to the young Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation as modeled by Olympic medalists Joe Fargis, Conrad Homfeld, and George Morris. 

“I could never believe this in a million years,” said Davis, after the class. “I was so happy to just win one Grand Prix and I kept thinking that there was no way that this could ever happen. Some of the best riders in the world were competing here today and to come out on top is just surreal.”
© Flying Horse Photography.
HITS Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock is joined by Donny Gath of Lamborghini of Newport Beach and his family to congratulate Lucy Davis after winning the $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach, at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.

“Once again, I just want to thank my trainers Gabby Salick, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and Marcus Beerbaum,” added Davis.

“Lucy is an amazing student,” said Salick. “She is a freakishly talented rider. But her best quality is that she is a wonderful person. I am so proud of her.”

In Sunday’s mega Grand Prix, Davis (Los Angeles, California) and Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 were the top horse-and-rider combination of the 52 starters that challenged a course set by International Course Designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Munich, Germany. Five talented pairs advanced to the short course to battle it out for the $60,000 first-place check. 

Setting the tone in the first round was Kirsten Coe (Johnson, South Carolina) who rode Ilan Ferder’s Kilkenny Randall Z to a clear round nine trips into the feature class. Just three trips later, Davis and Nemo 119 told the gigantic crowd that watched the class on a sun-kissed afternoon in the Strongid C 2X Stadium to sit tight because there would be a jump-off. At the end of the first round, Rich Fellers, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, and Jill Humphrey joined the list of riders advancing to the short course.
Coe and Kilkenny Randall Z wasted no time setting the Great American Time to Beat, coming home clear in 40.56 seconds. Coe, who is originally from California, came back to her roots to get a leg up on qualifying for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson on Sunday, September 11. At the end of the class she finished second and, with six of the eight Grand Prix needed to become eligible, is looking like a lock to earn a spot in the Pfizer Million after scoring $44,000 in prize money.

Two trips later, after dropping a shoe, Davis and Nemo 119 were fast and clean crossing the timers in 38.75 seconds to take the lead and eventually score the winner's share of the prize money. Davis’ trainer Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Richard Michaels' Kismet 50 held the last-to-go spot and had a chance to snag the victory away from her star student. However, two rails down would drop the decorated equestrian into fourth place, as the student beat her teacher on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Taking third place was Rich Fellers (Wilsonville, Oregon) aboard Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Flexible. Earlier in the afternoon, Fellers was named the Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider at HITS Thermal and won a magnificent timepiece courtesy of Catena, USA. During the 2011 HITS Desert Circuit, Fellers won four Grand Prix events en route to taking home the watch.

Jill Humphrey (Sacramento, California) and Alicia Jonsson Foster's Tao Tao 3 finished fifth with 12 faults and a time of 36.86 seconds to round out the top five in the class.
Sunday’s feature class capped off Horsepower Weekend at the HITS Desert Circuit. The berm surrounding the Oasis VIP Club was lined with a veritable herd of super-luxury sports cars thanks to Lamborghini of Newport Beach. Joining a dozen Lamborghinis, a quartet of Ferraris and a brace of Rolls Royces was a stunning Pilatus Aircraft to celebrate the grand finale weekend.

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