Desert Circuit IV Week in Review
RELEASE: March 4, 2010
—The Maple Leaf was flying high at the HITS Desert Horse Park during Desert Circuit IV when a pair of Olympians from Canada had Grand Prix triumphs during an action-packed week of show jumping at HITS Thermal.
On Saturday night, Pearce aboard Forest View Farm's Chianto, beat out the 22 other starters to challenge international course designer Bernardo Cabral's first-round track, as well as the eight riders who advanced to the jump-off in the $50,000 Purina Mills CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
Pearce is certainly on pace in the chase for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. In fact, Pearce has competed in the eight Grand Prix classes needed to make the initial qualification for the Pfizer Million, and is sitting in the number two spot of the Standings. Pearce is also the leader in the Royal Champion Leading World Cup Rider Standings aboard Son of a Gun.
"What an opportunity Saugerties is going to be," said Pearce. "If I keep winning, we will get qualified and be there."
When talking about Canadian Olympians you would be hard pressed to leave out Jill Henselwood. The decorated rider won a Team Silver medal at the 2008 Olympics for her country. She then became a Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix contender when she took home the top prize in Sunday's $25,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, aboard Bradon Construction's Bottom Line.
"Bottom Line is a young mare, this being her second Grand Prix win, and she is continuing to improve. I look forward to qualifying and competing in the Pfizer class in September," said Henselwood.
Leading the way in the Pfizer Million Standings of qualified riders is John Anderson and his leading horse Terrific. Anderson represented Canada in the 1988 Olympic Games and is now looking to carry the flag to HITS-on-the-Hudson, in Saugerties, NY, for the monumental Grand Prix on September 12. The fabulous horse-and-rider pair has two wins in their pocket, so far, during the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit and has collected more than $40,000 in Grand Prix prize money. Thanks to all his winnings, Anderson is also in the lead for the Catena Leading Grand Prix Rider Award. The top-ranked Grand Prix rider on the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit will receive a beautiful Catena diamond-faced watch at the conclusion of the $300,000 Lamborghini Grand Prix of the Desert on Sunday, March 14.Olympians Honored at HITS Thermal
With the 2010 Winter Olympics in full swing last weekend, HITS honored some of its past equestrian stars of the summer games that are competing at the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit in a ceremony prior to the $50,000 Purina Mills CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, held in the indoor arena on Saturday evening.
John Anderson (Canada), Liz Ashton (Canada), Lisa Carlson (Canada), Kevin Freeman (U.S.), Damien Gardiner (Ireland), Guerado Hegewish (Mexico), Jill Henselwood (Canada), Eddie Macken (Ireland), John Pearce (Canada), Butch Thomas (New Zealand) and Guy Thomas (New Zealand) were all greeted at the end of the red carpet by HITS' Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock and received a rousing ovation from the crowd. He Did It Again! John French Wins Another $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby
John French continued to prove that he is one of the top hunter riders in the world on Sunday afternoon when he rode Yellow Dog LLC's Crown Affair to the blue in the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby. Alexandra Ladove's Homecoming, ridden by French, was fifth, and the top hunter rider collected a total of $3,800 in prize money from both placings in the class.
This circuit, French has certainly stolen the show in the hunter rings. He has won two of the three $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby classes at the 2010 HITS Desert Circuit, and has also taken the top prize in the $10,000 Chronicle of the Horse
/USHJA International Hunter Derby.
Teenager Melissa Doddridge had her moments in the spotlight, as well. She won the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby during Desert Circuit II, and then had all of her three rides in the top four in Sunday's main event for hunter riders. Look for Doddridge and French to continue to battle it out for big-time prize money when the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby returns on Sunday, March 7.
This winter, the all-new Devoucoux Hunter Derby will be a featured event at both the HITS Desert Circuit and the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit in Ocala, FL, and represents the 13th division to count for points in the Marshall & Sterling League. In addition to the $10,000 classes at HITS winter shows in Thermal and Ocala, qualifying classes for the Devoucoux Hunter Derby will be offered at the HITS Culpeper and HITS Saugerties shows this spring and summer. HITS has also invited a select number of additional horse shows in the Northeast to add the Devoucoux Hunter Derby to their show schedules which will help facilitate the growth of the class and provide further qualifying opportunities for the Marshall & Sterling League National Finals. The Devoucoux Derby Finals will be offered at the 2010 Marshall & Sterling League National Finals on September 16-19 in Saugerties, NY. For a complete list of horse shows offering the Devoucoux Hunter Derby for Marshall & Sterling points, please click here. Out-of-the Ring Fun
Purina Mills Fiesta Day returned to the HITS Desert Horse Park on Sunday afternoon and featured loads of fun for the hundreds that attended the event which took place during the $25,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health.
This year's event saluted Hispanic heritage in the Coachella Valley with a day of family fun that included music, dancing and delicious Mexican food. Hollywood trick-rider and roper Ramon Becerra was the headline performer. Additional fun, family activities included “paint your own horseshoes, arts & crafts and a bounce house, plus a special performance by Mark Guerrero with his band, and teenage singer Pacito Herrera.
Guest of honor, Dr. Raul Ruiz, was born in Coachella and funded his way to UCLA, thanks in large part to the community that stood behind him. He then moved on to Harvard Medical School. After his medical studies, he returned home to his roots and fulfilled a promise to the community that supported him by working in the emergency room at Eisenhower Medical Center in La Quinta. Gate proceeds benefit the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Support Organization where Dr. Ruiz is a medical doctor.
"We were thrilled to bring together so many Hispanic activities on Sunday to honor Dr. Ruiz and to raise money for Haiti," said HITS Senior Vice President Tony Hitchcock. What's Next?
Show jumping at the HITS Desert Circuit resumes today with Desert Circuit V. In addition to hosting the $10,000 Devoucoux Hunter Derby on Sunday, March 7, HITS Thermal will also feature three more Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix qualifiers, including the $50,000 HITS CSI-W Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Saturday night in the indoor arena.
In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse-and-rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit HitsShows.com.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS will take the industry to new heights when it hosts the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties on September 12.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com.
Media should contact the HITS Media Team at (845) 246-8833 or e-mail Media_Info@HitsShows.com.