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Aaron Vale and Zenith UHS Capture the CMJ Sporthorse Jumper Speed Stake at Horse Shows by the Bay

RELEASE: July 10, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Horse Shows by the Bay

Zenith UHS and Aaron Vale (Tricia Booker Photography)
Zenith UHS and Aaron Vale (Tricia Booker Photography)
Traverse City, MI
- When Aaron Vale jumped to the victory in today's $2,500 CMJ Sporthorse 1.40m Jumper Speed Stake, he also edged closer to the top of the $10,000 Hagyard Leading Jumper Rider Cash Bonus Award standings.

The 6.25 points he accrued for first place with 2VR Showjumpers' Zenith UHS--added to last week's point total of 91--puts him just behind Yann Candele, last week's victor in the $30,000 Danny & Ron's Rescue Grand Prix of Traverse City, who currently leads with 105 points.

"This is a good way to start the week," said Vale with a smile. "This is the last week we're here, so anything I can get in these classes is great. If I can do well in the Positive Step Farm Welcome Prix [tomorrow] and the Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix [on Saturday] maybe I could get a piece of that bonus. I'd have to rack up all of the classes, but if we could do that it would be great."

Vale described today's CMJ Sporthorse Speed Stake course, designed by Guilherme Jorge, as a concentrated effort with a lot of jumps in a short amount of time. Clean rounds were hard to come by, as just two of the 11 starters kept the rails in the cups.

Ann F. Anastasio's Quite Ruffy 840 and Wilhelm Genn posted the other clear round, just .79 seconds behind Vale's winning effort of 56.00 seconds.

Several combinations dropped a rail at fence 2, so Vale was careful down the first line and then increased his pace from there.

"That line walked a normal six [strides], but everyone was getting there a little bit deep," he noted. "I noticed that in the 1.35m class earlier, so I kind of bent that line and put a little curve in it so I'd have more room to keep going, which brought me right back to the next fence quite quickly.

"I just got pretty good turns everywhere," he continued. "I could have been quicker to fence 7, the combination, but I thought I'd better keep it up first. And I was just fast enough to win the class. I felt like I was pretty darn quick. There wasn't a whole lot I could have done faster. It ended up being enough to win the class, which is where we want to be."

Vale's winning mount is a 9-year-old approved KWPN stallion he's shown for about four months.

"Zenith is a 9-year-old, but he has the mileage of a late 7-year-old," Vale said. "He's jumping better and better for me. He's almost ready to start in the grand prix classes. I don't know if we'll do it this week, but he's starting to get fit enough and to get back in the groove to think about doing that. So, I've got some pretty good expectations for him in the future."

Zenith UHS (Lupicor--Jorina, Nimmerdor) also does double duty in the ring and the breeding shed, and Vale has already bred one mare to him.

"He's careful and has beautiful style, like an American hunter," said Vale. "He really gets his knees up by his chin, and he has a beautiful head. He's classic looking over a fence. He's well bred, so he can produce jumpers, and he's got the qualities we want for American hunters, so maybe he's got a future there as well as in the ring."

Vale, of Ocala, FL, is enjoying his first trip to Horse Shows by the Bay and in the Traverse City area. "We went fishing on Tuesday, and we caught fish!" he said. "It's been a great trip up here."

To see Vale's winning round with Zenith UHS, please click here.

Horse Shows by the Bay Series II is also a United States Hunter Jumper Association/World Championship Hunter Rider member event, so hunter riders can earn points toward WCHR regional and national year-end awards.

In addition, this week features the Hillside Farm High-Score Hunter Awards, given to the highest-scoring horse/rider combinations from the U.S. Equestrian Federation rated hunter sections, including the Green Working, Conformation, Performance, Junior, Amateur-Owner, Pony, Children's Pony, Children's Horse and Adult Amateur.

In today's Conformation Hunter sections, sponsored by Lisa A.H. Cudahy and Missy & Doug Smith, Kelley Farmer swept the blue ribbons over fences with Quotable, Taken and Skorekeeper. Her first-round performance with Quotable topped the scoreboard with an 89 from judges Steve Wall and Patrick Rodes.

In the Pine Hollow Farm Performance Hunter 3'6" section of 27 entries, John and Stephanie Ingram's Fonteyn, with Hayley Barnhill aboard, jumped to victory in both over fences classes with double scores of 86. 

In the $10,000 North Face Farm Leading Hunter Cash Bonus Award standings, Michigan resident Greg Crolick leads the way with 75 points, ahead of Hayley Barnhill in second (55) and third-placed Kelley Farmer (37.5).

Riders will have the opportunity to add to their point totals in this week's $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Walgreens. 

Follow the action on July 10-14 during Horse Shows by the Bay Series II. Competition will be held in all five rings, with the Grand Prix Ring and R.L. Polk Family Main Hunter Ring streaming live thanks to ShowNet LLC and this week's free streaming partner, Alltech Equine TV. They're bringing the action right to your screen every day, beginning at 8 a.m. Go to www.horseshowsbythebay.com and click on "Watch It Live." 
Horse Shows by the Bay Series II

Featured events for July 11-14:
USHJA/World Championship Hunter Rider Week
Hillside Farm High-Score Hunter Awards 
$1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Stake Class, sponsored by PJP Farm, Inc - Thursday, July 11
$10,000 Positive Step Farm Open Jumper Welcome Prix - Thursday, July 11
Young Jumper Championship Qualifiers, Friday, July 12
$30,000 Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix & 10th Anniversary Orange-and-Blue Party, Saturday, July 13
$5,000 The Patton Family $5,000 NAL Low JR/AO Jumper Classic - Sunday, July 14
$10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, Sunday July 14
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by Walgreens - Sunday, July 14
$2,500 The Harvey Family NAL/WIHS Children's Jumper Classic - Sunday, July 14
$2,500 Der Dau NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic - Sunday, July 14