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[Saugerties, NY] After winning four in a row during Weeks V and VI at HITS Saugerties this summer, Laura Chapot is off to another great start as she and Mary Chapot’s Umberto rode to a win in today’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Chapot and Umberto cruise to a victory. ©ESI Photography
They topped a field of 30 horses who rode over Jerry Dougherty’s track and pocketed the last $25,000 grand prix before HITS Championship Weekend arrives September 7-9.
Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida set a 13-obstacle course, which included 16 jumping efforts. He tripped up most riders with a one-stride to a two-stride triple combination at fence eight and a tight one-stride double at fence eleven. The two combinations alone ruined all hope for clear rounds for nine riders, while eleven persevered to the jump-off.
“You never know what you are going to get on Friday because the field is so mixed – there are a lot of young horses here and there are a lot of horses who are in it to prepare for Sunday’s grand prix,” said Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey. “But, all-in-all, I think the course was really nice and I was very pleased with how my horses jumped it.”
Chapot was one of five to go double clear, but it was John Pearce of Bermuda Dunes, California who got things started by producing the first clear round in the jump-off and setting the Great American Time To Beat at 40.79 seconds. Pearce, who is regular at the HITS Desert Circuit in Thermal, California during the winter, is one of many riders who has recently flocked east in hopes of conquering next weekend’s Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. Pearce was aboard Forest View Farm’s Johnny B Good.
The lead changed, however, when Matt Williams of Wellington, Florida piloted Samantha Turek’s Watch Me VD Mangelaar to a clear jump-off round in 39.02 seconds to sit in first. Pearce, however, did not go down quietly – he returned with his second mount, Forest View Farm’s Chianto, and stole back the lead with a clear round in 36.78 seconds.
Chapot batted clean-up in the jump-off and was able to slip past Pearce’s fastest time by six tenths of a second and finished the round in 36.18 seconds for the win.
“This horse is always consistent here,” said Chapot of Umberto – a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “This was our third grand prix win together in Saugerties and I am just really happy with how well he has been jumping lately.”
According to Chapot, she is still deciding who she will tack up for next weekend’s coveted Pfizer Million.
Behind Chapot was Pearce and Chianto in second, and Williams with Watch Me VD Mangelaar in third. Pearce and Johnny B Good finished in fourth, and rounding out the top five was Vanessa Paschini of Boisbrand, Quebec in the irons of Equifind Group’s Neolisto Van Het Mierenhof.
As HITS Championship Weekend approaches, HITS-on-the-Hudson will begin to welcome equestrian stars from all corners of the world. Serving as a snapshot of the global representation that will be seen in the Pfizer Million, today’s grand prix welcomed a colorful set of international flags. Helen McNaught and Duncan McFarlane of San Ramon, California represented Great Britain and New Zealand, respectively and anxiously await their returns to the third annual $1 million class. Canadian Olympian and silver medalist Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ontario also joined today’s order. Capping the international cast was HITS Thermal rider, John Perez of Cruz Manca, Mexico who represents his native Columbia.
$10,000 Brook Ledge Open Welcome
Chapot made it no secret that she is at HITS to win. She prepped for today’s grand prix victory with a one-two-three finish in Wednesday’s Brook Ledge Open Welcome. She and Umberto impressed again with another first place finish, while she and Mary Chapot’s Zealous picked up the red ribbon. In third, she was in the irons of The Edge’s Carpe Diem. Tracy Fenney, of Flower Mound, Texas snuck her way into the top five in fourth aboard MTM Farm’s MTM Centano and Chapot capped the group on Mary Chapot’s Shooting Star in fifth.
Chapot and Umberto warmed up with a win in the welcome. ©ESI Photography
Grand prix riders will have one last chance to pick up necessary qualifying leverage this Sunday in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, before Pfizer Million weekend rolls into town. Next Friday will host the $30,000 G&C Farm Wild Card Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, and give one lucky rider, not already qualified, the chance to get in on the $1 million action. The Pfizer Million is set to once again make show jumping history Sunday, September 9 at 2 pm in the Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix Stadium.
Top Ten - $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health
Rider | Horse | Round 1 Faults | Round 2 Faults | Round 2 Time
- Laura Chapot | Umberto | 0 | 0 | 36.18
- John Pearce | Chianto | 0 | 0 | 36.78
- Matt Williams | Watch Me VD Manglear | 0 | 0 | 39.02
- John Pearce | Johnny B Good | 0 | 0 | 40.79
- Vanessa Paschini | Neolisto Van Het | 0 | 0 | 41.13
- Laura Chapot | Shooting Star | 0 | 4 | 38.35
- Helen McNaught | Lariccello | 0 | 4 | 38.83
- Duncan McFarlane | Mr. Whoopy | 0 | 4 | 40.57
- Tracy Fenney | MTM Centano | 0 | 8 | 36.22
- Isabelle LaPierre | Vivki Vale | 0 | 12 | 40.26