Top Talent Battles It Out During the Third Week of HITS Thermal
RELEASE: February 14, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Chris Mayone
It's amazing what a difference a few days can make! Just ask Kim Farlinger who had an unlucky fall off her mount Cordoba in last Sunday's $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO at HITS Thermal. The Canadian pulled off a complete 180-degree turn aboard Cordoba when she outlasted a field of 38 combinations to capture the blue ribbon in Thursday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at HITS Thermal.
Farlinger had the only clear round on course designer Anthony D'Ambrosio's tough route to secure $7,500 in prize money for owner Peter Farlinger. Cordoba is 10 years old and has been with Farlinger for the last three years. When asked what her strategy was to master the route that tripped up some of the top equestrians in the world, Farlinger joked, "I tried to leave all the jumps up."
Farlinger was 15th in the order and stopped the clocks well under the 87 seconds allowed by D'Ambrosio when she finished the round in 84.236 seconds. Richard Spooner and Quirno 3 had one time fault to grab the red ribbon for Oscany, Inc. Spooner, the HITS Desert Circuit's all-time leading money winner, had four horses in the money, including Ezrah who finished third. In total, Spooner collected $9,500 in prize money on the afternoon.
"The course was a lot tougher than I thought it would be," said D'Ambrosio. "There were a lot of pairs with four faults and Richard Spooner had a time fault. It could have gone either way."
After last Sunday's Grand Prix, Farlinger schooled Cordoba on Monday and Tuesday and showed him in both the level 6 and level 7 classes during the week to get him back on track.
With the victory, Farlinger earned some valuable points towards the $200,000 Invitational Grand Prix to be held on Sunday, March 16, during the all new Championship Week at HITS Thermal. The top 30 pairs based on prize money won on the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit will be invited to compete in the class.
Show-jumping icon Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum held a special clinic at HITS Thermal on Thursday night. Beerbaum is American-born but has been riding for Germany since 1998. Highlighting her impressive list of individual accolades, in 1994 she was the first woman to reach the number one spot on the FEI show jumping world rankings list, a spot she held for four consecutive months. Once again, she is on top of the world rankings list.
An enthusiastic crowd watched the special two-hour clinic and enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres after the event. "WCAR is privileged to have had the opportunity to have Meredith come to Thermal for this special clinic," said WCAR Executive Director Kathy Hobstetter. "It went great, and I appreciate the support and help from HITS. The staff at HITS absolutely went above and beyond on this one."
In an instant replay of last Friday's FEI World Cup Qualifier at HITS Thermal, Rich Fellers and his mount Flexible outlasted a field of 20 combinations in the first round and five pairs in the jump-off to secure his second consecutive victory in the $50,000 Tourneau FEI World Cup Qualifier, presented by Adequan at the 2008 HITS Desert Circuit.
Fellers had the ride for Mr. and Mrs. Harry Chapman and collected $15,000 in prize money. He also grabbed 19 valuable FEI World Cup points, putting him near the top of the U.S. West Coast League standings. "I am flabbergasted," said horse owner Harry Chapman. "Two wins in a row is incredible!"
The Chapman's have owned the Irish stallion for eight years. "He had some medical problems and was written off twice," said Chapman. "Then the horse said the heck with you guys, I am going to be a show jumper!"
"I am amazed by this horse," said Fellers. "I am really proud that Mr. and Mrs. Chapman stuck with him. He is on an incredible run."
First to challenge Ambrosio's jump-off route was Joie Gatlin and her mount Camaron Hills Shan Roe. Gatlin won last Sunday's $125,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by EMO aboar