Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jumping: Saugerties: Margie Engle returns to HITS Saugerties and captures the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome and $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health

© ESI Photography.
Margie Engle and Ashland Farms' Lord Spezi on course in Friday's $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

                   SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (June 11, 2011) — Margie Engle made a triumphant return to HITS Saugerties this week and reignited her winning streak in the Strongid C 2X Stadium when she captured both the $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome on Wednesday and the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Ashland Farms’ Lord Spezi on Friday.

On Wednesday, Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida and Lord Spezi beat out 38 starters in the Brook Ledge Open Welcome, with Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Florida and Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables Inc.’s Sweetheart in second, followed by Richard Moloney of Wellington, Florida with Equinimity LLC’s Alsvid in third.

In Friday’s feature class, Engle, Minikus and Moloney were at it again as three of 42 starters on a course designed by International Course Designer Olaf Petersen Jr. of Muenchen, Germany. After the first round, ten horse-and-rider combinations returned to navigate the short course in an exciting jump-off.

Nicholas Dello Joio of Wellington, Florida returned first in the jump-off aboard his own Geledimar and set the Great American Time to Beat at 41.479 seconds. Dello Joio was joined in the jump-off by his father, Norman Dello Joio aboard Thelma Romero-Cloud’s Notre Star De La Nutria. Father and son finished third and fourth, respectively.

The all-star duo of Minikus and Pavarotti, owned by Todd Minikus, LTD., were second to jump-off and went clear with a fast time of 38.139 seconds and put a tight grip on the lead. The next six riders failed to go clear and it was starting to seem like Minikus had it all wrapped up until Engle and Lord Spezi entered the ring.
© ESI Photography.
Lisa Engel and Christine Pankratz of HITS present Margie Engle and Lord Spezi with the awards for the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

“After I watched Todd go, I thought I was riding for second place,” said Engle, a former U.S. Olympian who is also the winningest Grand Prix rider of all time. “I think we all thought we were riding for second place, but I knew it had to be all or nothing and I need all the help I can get!”

Engle and Lord Spezi posted a clear jump-off in 37.410 seconds to take the lead, pushing Minikus into second place. “I’ve only been riding this horse for a short while and I just started going fast with him,” she commented. “He’s really handy and galloped up nicely for me.”

Rounding out the top five in Friday’s Grand Prix was Moloney aboard Equinimity LLC’s Let’s Go in fifth.
© ESI Photography.
Christine Pankratz joins Margie Engle and Lord Spezi in the winner's circle after the duo captured Wednesday's $10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.

Engle, who competed in the 2010 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, is back on course to qualify for this year’s installment, which is set to take place on September 11 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York. “I hope to qualify for the Pfizer Million Grand Prix again this year,” said Engle. “I will definitely be here a lot this summer.”

As the $100,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, approaches this Sunday to highlight the spring series of horse shows, Engle and Lord Spezi have plenty of momentum to potentially sweep the competition.

Sunday’s Purina Mills Grand Prix will be Engle’s and the rest of the High-Performance roster’s last chance this spring to capture prize money in order to qualify for the Pfizer Million before the summer circuit kicks-off at HITS Culpeper on Wednesday, July 6 for two consecutive weeks. The Culpeper shows in July will feature two more $40,000 Pfizer Million Qualifying Grand Prix and then it’s back to HITS-on-the-Hudson for three consecutive weeks of competition and six more Pfizer Million Qualifiers starting on Wednesday, July 20.

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, Massachusetts-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 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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