Thermal, Calif. – Feb. 12, 2019 – It was an exciting week at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park to closeout the first half of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit with the introduction of the all-new Marshall & Sterling Team Challenge, crowning the Back on Track Mid-Circuit Grand Champions and the unveiling of the brand new grass derby field.
Cassio Rivetti and Carlo captured the blue ribbon in the $5,000 Johnson Horse Transportation Open Welcome for the second week in a row. They saved the best for last as they crossed the timers in 35.027 seconds for the victory. Mathis Schwentker followed close behind aboard Chico P with a finishing time of 35.267 seconds to finish in second place. Jeff Campf and Tender Star rounded out the top three with a time of 37.000 seconds.
The $30,000 SmartPak Gambler’s Choice was introduced in the Grand Prix Stadium on Friday afternoon. A smooth ride and 1,440 points produced by Natalie Dean and Don’s Diamant would secure top honors. Second place was awarded to Rivetti with 1,400 total points aboard Harriri. Schwentker captured third with NKH Carrido in 1,310 points.
Saturday saw the $10,000 Summit Joint Performance Jumper Classic where Eric Navet and Charita crossed the times in 34.306 seconds to finish first. Angel Karolyi and Ce Ce Senior captured second place with a time of 36.819 seconds while Nicole Haunert followed with Bathsheba to capture third place in a time of 37.067 seconds.
Top honors in the $15,000 KindredBio Jumper Classic went to Karl Cook for his ride aboard E’Special P.S., jumping clear in a time of 35.515 seconds. Mattias Ekeroth and Dacarlos earned a close second-place finish, galloping through the timers in 35.858 seconds. Third place was awarded to Mandy Porter and Caramo Z with a final time of 38.741 seconds.
Taking home the blue ribbon in the $1,000 Charles White Hay Sales U25 Classic was Schwentker aboard Clearwater S.
Jake Cheikha and Cagoldas finished first for the second week in a row in the $3,000 Junior 1.20m Jumper Classic.
Taking home the blue ribbon in the $3,000 A-O/Am 1.20m Jumper Classic was Jessie White aboard Copycat.
With the exception of Week II, Dean and Mary Poppins have been the weekly winners in the $5,000 Jr/A-O/Am 1.35m Jumper Classic while Taylor Siebel and Evidence took the blue ribbon in the $10,000 Jr/A-O/Am 1.45m Jumper Classic.
Highlighting the week, Ali Ramsay rose to the occasion on Sunday to take home the blue ribbon in the $70,000 EQ International Real Estate Grand Prix aboard Hermelien Vd Hooghoeve. As the last to go in the jump-off, Ramsay did not hold back, flying through the timers in 40.937 seconds to secure top honors. Second place finishers, Schwentker & NKH Carrido, were close behind with a final time of 41.199 seconds. Cook rode Caillou 24 to a 42.284-second finish to round out the top three.
Week IV of the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit featured the inaugural classes on the new grass derby field. Both the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix and USHJA International Hunter Derby were held on the beautiful field at the AON HITS Desert Horse Park.
The first winner to be crowned on the grass field was Grace Duffy for her ride aboard Easy Company in the $1,500 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. Duffy produced rounds that were awarded scores of 82 and 84, for a two round total of 166. Mia Burlington and Carnado captured second place with a combined score of 161 while Kim Cheikha followed with a score of 142 for third place aboard Cajeton.
The first of two $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies to be offered this circuit took place on Saturday afternoon. John French was awarded the blue ribbon for his ride aboard Frosted Blue. Scores of 179 and 195 in the first and second rounds, respectively, would place him second in each, and a total score of 374 would solidify the Overall Champion title for French.
Jenny Karazissis and Really followed with a 372.5 total while Nick Haness and Verdict rounded out the top three with 368 combined score.
Desert Circuit IV also introduced the new Marshall & Sterling Team Challenge for Children’s and Adult Hunter and Jumper Riders.
In the Marshall & Sterling Children’s and Adult Jumper Team Challenge, the team that went by the name “Mongolain Meatloaf” would take home top honors over the three rounds of competition. This team consisted of Stella Buckingham & Danger Mouse, Lola Stern & Claudius, and Della Walker & Cosmic.
The team “Misfits,” consisting of Jennifer Boyce & Maximus Z, Amy Brubaker & Podium, and Lorri Quiett & Basil, would take home top honors in the Marshall & Sterling Children’s and Adult Hunter Challenge after three rounds of competition.
Show jumping competition will be back in the Desert on February 19, with even more excitement to come.