FEI Riders Win BIG at HITS and Their Horses Love it Too!

Jonathan McCrea Rides to a Double Clear Victory in the
Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5*!

The HITS Championship came to a close with the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix FEI CSI5* on Sunday afternoon. Three bustling VIP areas and a full grandstand, coupled with crisp fall-like temperatures made for a spectacular day of show jumping. Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil designed a challenging course that that required riders to be careful and cautious, yet also demanded promptness. Five of the 35 riders left all of the jumps up, but only two completed the task within the time allowed; it all came down to Jonathan McCrea and Margie Engle.

McCrea went towards the top of the order in the first round and was the first rider to jump clean. Returning for the Jump-Off, McCrea knew he had to set the bar high with speedster Engle following him.

The jump-off invited riders to gallop, and the footing in the Grand Prix Stadium was in top form for them to show their stuff.  

McCrea laid down a clean round abourd ARISTOTELESE V, owned by Candy Tribble, in 52.69 to put the pressure on Engle. “Saugerties has always been lucky for me,” said McCrea, who also showed in the HITS Chicago FEI CSI2* and CSI5* in August.  “I have not experienced anything other than good footing here [at HITS Saugerties], and that’s why I keep coming back.”

McCrea had a great week with a third place finish aboard ARISTOTELESE V in the $35,000 HITS Jumper Classic on Thursday and a second aboard WIN FOR LIFE in the Hudson Valley $100,000 Jumper Classic on Friday to pair with his win yesterday.

Engle and her long-time mount ROYCE, owned by Gladewinds Partners LLC, took to the jump-off next. They chased McCrea’s time and caught it, finishing in 51.67, but a rail at 12c of the triple combination made for a red-ribbon finish. “We had almost everything in terms of weather here this week and the footing was always fantastic,” Engle said.  “It’s nice to have big [FEI CSI5*] horse shows here in our own country. He [Tom Struzzieri] has done a great job with this facility, especially with the footing which was great every day.”

Coupled with Engle's second place finish yesterday was a win in the $35,000 HITS Jumper Classic on Thursday with DICAS.

Appreciative of the compliment, Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, summarized the day. “Let’s face it, even with only two in the Jump-Off, it was pretty exciting. Marina did an excellent job with the course, and today is still the biggest day in the history of show jumping in America in terms of prize money.” With $1.375 Million awarded just on Sunday, and a total of nearly $2 Million awarded throughout the week, the HITS Championship has earned the moniker of the “Richest Week in Show Jumping.”

The competitors who would make up the remainder of the top five in the Saugerties $500,000 Grand Prix had all completed the course with no jumping faults, but had struggled to stay within the time-allowed, finishing within seconds of each other.

Charlie Jayne in the irons aboard his own AMICE Z would take home the third place ribbon with a time of 82.52 in the first round. “I’ve been jumping in Tom’s [Struzzieri] HITS Shows since the inception of the first Million dollar class in 2010. Every single year I think the facilities improve and the horses enjoy HITS facilities,” Jayne commented. “I travel coast to coast from HITS Thermal, to HITS Ocala, here in HITS Saugerties and now in HITS Chicago, which is not so far from my farm, and all I can say about the facilities is that they are all very horse friendly. There’s never a place that you can’t ride, and they all have paddocks that are available to rent.”

Finishing in fourth place was Adrienne Sternlicht aboard the Starlight Farms 1 LLC entry of TOULAGO. Sternlicht would finish with one time fault, just a sliver of a second slower than Jayne, crossing the timers in 84.13.

Rounding out the top five would be Emanuel Andrade aboard his own HARDROCK Z in a time of 84.46.

For a full listing of results from the final week of HITS-on-the-Hudson, visit HitsShows.com.

Show jumping returns when the “Riders of Tomorrow” join us this week for the Marshall & Sterling Insurance League National Finals.