Ocala, Florida, USA – March 22, 2021 – That’s a wrap for the Hits Ocala Winter Celebration (IX), featuring world-class hunter and jumper competition. Riders are certainly on their A-game as we near the end of the Circuit. This week featured the $200,000 Hits Ocala Grand Prix, where many of the top riders in the sport prepared their horses for next week’s Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. Along with featured competition, riders worked diligently to earn their final points toward the Tack Shack of Ocala 2nd-Half Circuit and Pyranha Overall Circuit Awards, which will be presented prior to next week’s Great American Million.
A field of 46 riders were welcomed to the Grand Prix Stadium on Sunday afternoon for the $200,000 Hits Ocala Grand Prix. Just eight riders would jump a clean first round over the course designed by Ms. Catalina “Catsy” Cruz of Mexico City, Mexico. The jump-off consisted of past Million Winners, Grand Prix Veterans, and riders that are no stranger to the Winner’s Circle at Hits Ocala. There was no doubt that it was going to be a competitive jump-off with each rider locked-in on the top prize.
Capping off the Ocala Winter Celebration (IX) with her fourth Grand Prix win of the Hits Ocala Winter Circuit was Fenney, jumping clean in the first round aboard her two mounts with a good shot at taking home the win.
First to return in jump-off was Andre Thieme and Crazil Girl , posting a fault-free a time of 41.930 and setting the pace for the class. Following Thieme, was Fenney and her first mount in the jump-off, MTM Reve du Paradis. An unfortunate rail at the first fence would ultimately place them fifth. “Following Andre [Thieme], I had an idea of what the time would be like,” said Fenney. “Aaron [Vale] has been super on fire and I knew that he has won a lot with that horse [ELUSIVE] so I knew with him behind me and Jordan [Coyle] also having two after me, that I needed to be pretty quick.”
Fenney had one more shot at the win as she was fourth to return aboard MTM Apple (Favorit Ask x Willemoes), a 10-year-old grey Danish Warmblood mare owned by MTM Farm. She knew that she would need to be quick and accurate as Vale and Coyle, both known for their incredible speed, were standing by to jump-off. The pair navigated the jump-off in 36.645 and held onto the lead until the very end. “I don’t know that I’ve won a $200,000, so that’s pretty impressive,” exclaimed Fenney, beaming with joy. “She [MTM Apple] was great and I am so excited! Aaron [Vale] was within a whisper of me so it could have gone either way today.”
Second place was awarded to Aaron Vale (USA) and Elusive (Rodrigoo x Capfucino), who were also the winners of this class in 2020. They came up just a hair short, posting a time of 39.714 in the jump-off. Rounding out the top three in the class was Andre Thieme (GER) and Crazy Girl with the only other fault-free jump-off performance, timed in 41.930 seconds.
Final Results – $200,000 Hits Grand Prix
1) Tracy Fenney (USA) & MTM Apple – 0 / 0 – 36.645
2) Aaron Vale (USA) & Elusive – 0 / 0 – 39.714
3) Andre Thieme (GER) & Crazy Girl – 0 / 0 – 41.930
Source: Press Release (edited) from Hits Horse Show
Photos: © ESI Photography