Gatlin, Fellers, Watring and Solem Capture Grand Prix Events at HITS Shows
RELEASE: February 7, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Chris Mayone
For the second time in the past three years, Joie Gatlin captured the top prize in the annual EMO Grand Prix at the HITS Desert Circuit. On Sunday, Gatlin secured $37,500 in prize money for Camaron Hills Farm with her triumph aboard Camaron Hills Shan Roe in the $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO to conclude DC II at HITS Thermal.
During the 2005 HITS Desert Circuit, Gatlin won the blue ribbon in the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix. "I love to win the EMO class," said Gatlin. "They are a great supporter of our sport, and I am very appreciative of everything that they do."
Speaking of being appreciative, Gatlin was just that when she was sitting in the envious last-to-ride spot in a jump-off that featured eight pairs. Gatlin and Camaron Hills Shan Roe raced to the clocks in 40.947 to win the class. Camaron Hills Shan Roe is 13, and Gatlin had the ride in place of rider Molly Talla, who is expecting her second child.
Starting off the jump-off was Jill Humphrey who rode Rudy Leone's Kaskaya. The pair negotiated a clear round and set the Great American Time to Beat at 46.330.
Canadian Olympian John Pearce was next to go in the jump-off aboard Allison Moore's Chianto. They had four faults and finished in eighth place. Third to go was Ashlee Bond and her mount Tommy Gun. Bond and her mount went clear in a very fast 41.588 to take over the top spot. The combination would eventually finish in third place. "I thought I was very fast but knew I had some big competition behind me," said Bond. "Richard Spooner had already beaten my time, but had a rail down so I knew my time was reachable."
Fourth to go was the HITS Desert Circuit's all-time leading money winner Richard Spooner and Cristallo. One rail down would land them in fifth place. Recent Pan Am Games Gold-medal winner Jill Henselwood was next aboard Callisto. Henselwood and her mount would be eliminated and finish further down the rankings
Pearce was back in the irons aboard his second ride of the jump-off. This time it was Archie Bunker, and they were fast and clean, stopping the clocks in 41.582. The combination's time pushed Bond and Tommy Gun off the top of the mountain as they set the new Great American Time to Beat. Pearce and Archie Bunker eventually finished in second place.
"Two horses in the top six is a fair chunk of change," said a happy Pearce after the class. "The vibe is good, and the people seem very happy this year."
Pearce's fellow countryman, Henselwood, was back for her second trip of the jump-off aboard Black Ice. The pair had two rails down and finished in seventh place.
Finally, it was Gatlin and Camaron Hills Shan Roe's turn. They were lightning-fast and stopped the clocks in 40.947 to win the class. "I wanted the horse to go clean but I knew I had to go fast because John Pearce set a fast pace," said Gatlin. "We were slow to the first jump and then I said to her, 'Come on. Lets go!' We were very fast from two to nine and we kept cruising through 10. Once we cleared 12B I heard the crowd getting behind me so I knew we had a good chance to win."
In other action at HITS Thermal during DC II, Demi Stiegler of Tustin, CA, secured the Central Equine Junior Medal, and John French of Gilroy, CA, rode Obelix to the Adequan Hunter Championship to highlight an exciting week of competition. Rich Fellers and Flexible Win the $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier
Rich Fellers and his mount Flexible captured the blue ribbon in Friday evening's $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan before a boisterous crowd at HITS Thermal.
Fellers outlasted a field of 19 combinations in the first round and five pairs that advanced to the jump-off to secure the top prize in the first of four FEI World Cup qualifiers at HITS' state-of-the-art equestrian facility in Thermal, CA. All World Cup qualifiers are being held in the new covered Eq