"Hail to the King!" Kyle King is Victorious in the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit
RELEASE: January 22, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
The 2009 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit started off with a bang for Kyle King. The Ocala resident posted the fastest double-clear round aboard Paola to secure the top prize in Sunday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix to close out the Ocala Pre-Circuit 1 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, FL.
King and his 12-year-old mare outlasted a field of 24 horses in the first round and an additional four pairs that advanced to course designer Jerry Dougherty's jump-off track to secure the first-place check of $7,500 in the inaugural grand prix of the 2009 HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.
"Kyle was tremendous in the jump-off," said Dougherty. "He saved some valuable time with a tight turnback on fence 14 in the jump-off that got him the victory. He also made it to the final jump in one less stride than everyone else! All in all, it was a really good start to the circuit."
The jump-off featured two riders from Ocala and two riders from Canada. Kicking things off in the jump-off were Canadian Beth Underhill and her new mount Tjengo. The former Olympian had three rails down and finished the day in fourth place aboard Tjengo and 12th place with Cantero Z, owned by Iron Horse Farm.
"Overall I am really happy and feel that it was a great learning experience," said Underhill. “Tjengo is a young horse that is just moving up to the grand prix level. I couldn't be happier with the way my horse jumped in the first round."
Sitting in the second spot in the jump-off order were Roberto Teran and his mount Distant Star 3E. The pair went clear and stopped the clocks in 41.695 to set the Great American Time to Beat. They would eventually finish in third place for Canada’s King Ridge Stables.
Next to show in the jump-off was King aboard Blair Cudmore’s mare Paola. The pair made it all the way home clear in 41.268 to set the new pace. "I knew I had to be fast, so I took a shot at the time," said King. "All of us actually finished within a second of each other so it made for an exciting jump-off."
"She (Paola) is naturally fast and was born a winner," said King. "I have had her for about six months and have already won five grand prix classes. I plan on her being one of my main mounts this winter."
Aaron Vale, also an Ocala resident, was the final rider to show in the jump-off aboard Joan Kalman’s Tarco. The duo stopped the clocks in 41.687 to finish in second place. Vale, who won last season’s $100,000 DeLuca Toyota Tundra Grand Prix, presented by Great American Insurance Group to close out HITS Ocala, was also ninth aboard Sinatra in Sunday’s grand prix.
Other grand prix riders with top showings in Sunday's featured class include Sharn Wordley, who finished with two horses in the money, and New Jersey's Callan Solem. Historically, Solem has been one of the top grand prix riders at HITS Ocala and finished eighth aboard VDL Torlando.
Show jumping at HITS Ocala continues next week with the Ocala Pre-Circuit 2 and will feature a diverse schedule of classes including the second half of the Marshall & Sterling Child/Adult Jumper Championship and the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix. Following Ocala Pre-Circuit 2, the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit will take a one-week break and continue on Tuesday, February 3, with the first of six rated weeks of competition.
The social calendar also gets into full swing next week with a special off-site exhibitor party on Friday, January 23, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. during The Sanctuary Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center Exhibitor Party. Exhibitors will be treated to refreshments, heavy hors d'oeuvres, exhibitions and seminars.
The Sanctuary is located just down the road from HITS Post Time Farm and all exhibitors are encouraged to see what The Sanctuary has to offer. For those arriving for the HITS Ocala rated shows, The Sanctuary will be hosting a Welcome Party on Friday, February 7, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, please