Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jumping: Thermal: Hits: Lucy Davis Wins Her Third Grand Prix in Seven Days to Kick Off Horsepower Weekend at the HITS Desert Circuit

© Flying Horse Photography.
Lucy Daivis and Old Oak Farm's Hannah capture the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health at HITS Thermal.
Thermal, CA (March 11, 2011)—Horsepower Weekend at the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California shifted into high gear on Friday afternoon when Lucy Davis rode Old Oak Farm’s Hannah to the top placing in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.

It was a perfect Friday afternoon of show jumping in the majestic Strongid C 2X Stadium. Under bright blue skies, while nearly five dozen horses tested the course, 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 at the HITS Desert Horse Park!

“We are excited to be here,” said Bettina Jacobson, of Pilatus Aircraft. “We have our PC-12NG here that can travel up to 350 miles per hour and has enough cargo space to carry tack trunks and saddles. We have had great traffic so far this week and a lot of people are interested. I am thrilled with all of the leads”

“It feels like a big deal having all the cars and a plane here,” said Davis. “I have my red Lamborghini all picked out.”

Friday’s feature class saw the largest number of starters in a Grand Prix of the season when 58 horse-and-rider combinations challenged the first-round track set by International Course Designer Olaf Petersen, Junior of Munich, Germany. Eight of those talented pairs advanced to the short course to battle it out for the first-place check.

“Having 58 in the class is a tremendous number,” said Petersen. “It really speaks volumes to the facility here. Everyone is really happy to be showing and they got a perfect afternoon for it.”

Once the riders got down to business in the first round, it was Canadian Olympian Jill Henselwood (Oxford Mills, Ontario, Canada) riding Bradon Construction’s Beau Soleil showing the field how it was done, as they were the first on course and the first to come home clear.

Two rounds later, Richard Neil (Pasadena, California) ensured the crowd a jump-off would take place when he rode his own Transmission around the course without dropping any rails, as the crowd settled in for an entertaining class on a picture-perfect afternoon.

In the jump-off, Henelwood and Beau Soleil wasted no time setting The Great American Time to Beat when they came home all the way home across the timers in 36.66 fault-free seconds to put the pressure on the seven horse-and-rider teams that remained.

Lucy Davis (Los Angeles, California) and Old Oak Farm’s Nemo 119 answered the bell when they were fast and clean in 35.09 seconds to take the lead and eventually win the class. Davis has now pulled the hat trick at HITS Thermal, winning three Grand Prix classes in a row, including the $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, during Desert Circuit V.

“It seems unlikely but it sure would mean a lot,” said Davis, when asked about the possibility of winning four in a row on Sunday.

“I just want to thank my trainers Gabby Salick, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Marcus Beerbaum,” added Davis. “They do an incredible job with the horses.”
© Flying Horse Photography.
Lucy Davis and Old Oak Farm's Hannah are congratulated by HITS Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock after winning the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health at HITS Thermal.

Taking second place in the class was Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (Westlake Village, California) and Richard Michaels’ Kismet 50, and finishing in the third spot was Henselwood and Beau Soleil.

The $25,000 Smartpak Grand Prix was just the appetizer for High-Performance riders during Desert Circuit VI as Sunday afternoon will feature the colossal $200,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert, presented by Lamborghini of Newport Beach. Paving the way on Sunday will be the $10,000 Pilatus Aircraft Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Medium Classic and the $25,000 California Horsetrader Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic. At about 1:00pm, there will be a Parade of Champions in the Strongid C 2X Stadium that will feature the Smartpak Mid-Circuit Awards and the Antarès Overall Circuit Awards.

“It’s going to be a great way to finish off a tremendous six weeks of show jumping,” said Henselwood. “We had great weather every single day of the circuit and there is nowhere else in the country where they can say that. Adding the cars and the planes to the atmosphere will make it an unforgettable weekend.”

About SmartPak Equine
Founded in 1999, SmartPak Equine is the country’s largest online and catalog retailer serving the needs of the active and engaged horse owner. The patented SmartPak™ supplement feeding system has simplified the process of feeding horse supplements and medications, making it easier for thousands of riders to keep their horses healthier by ensuring their supplements are being fed correctly. SmartPak’s diverse and expansive product offering includes its own line of supplements, tack, and horse blankets as well as an extensive selection of leading brands of equine health, apparel, tack, and equipment. SmartPak is a six-time Inc. 500/5000 honoree and is the only equine company ever named to the Inc 500 list. SmartPak is backed by Waltham, MA-based North Bridge Growth Equity.

HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. HITS will once again offer the most innovative weekend in show jumping history in 2011 when it hosts the second annual Pfizer Million and the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 3'3" Hunter Prix Final, September 10-11, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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