For Immediate Release
July 23, 2007
Melissa Jones-Sarle takes home the blue-ribbon aboard Lavaro in the $40,000 Footings Unlimited Grand Prix at HITS Culpeper
CULPEPER, VA (July 23, 2007)—Melissa Jones-Sarle of Raleigh, North Carolina bested a field of 25 horses and riders in Sunday's $40,000 Footings Unlimited Grand Prix at Commonwealth Park in Culpeper, Virginia. Jones-Sarle and her mount Lavaro were one of five pairs to go clear in round one of the Sven Loewe-designed Grand Prix class.
Jones-Sarle collected $12,000 in prize money for River Edge Farm aboard the 14-year-old Bay Gelding. "It's a tremendous feeling to close out the week on top," said Jones-Sarle. "Winning this class gets me one step closer to qualifying for the USGPL Finals in September."
There were seventeen challenging efforts in round one followed by a shortened jump-off. Laura Linback of Mundelein, Illinois was the first to return for the jump-off and had high hopes for a Sunday Trifecta after winning both the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low and High Classics in the same ring earlier in the day. But a fall on a tight turn aboard Grand So So 2 going into the next-to-last jump in the jump-off put her in fifth place in the featured class.
Of the remaining four horse-and-rider pairs, two had four faults and two lowered the height of two jumps for a total of eight faults. Of the four-faulters, Jones-Sarle's jump-off time of 56.199 seconds gave her the win over Robin Sweely of Madison, Virginia and her mount Quarco V't Merelsnest.
The fastest of the two pairs with eight faults were Tracy Fenney and her mount MTM Centano. The duo won the featured class one week prior and collected $5,200 in prize money for MTM Farm with their third-place finish in Sunday's class. Also with eight faults were Sulo Rose-Reed and her mount Leondor. Their time of 54.599 was good enough for fourth place. Linback and Grand So So 2 rounded out the top five finishers in the class.
With the win, Jones-Sarle earned some valuable points as each Grand Prix at every HITS horse show, including HITS Culpeper and HITS Saugerties, is a qualifier for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix, the featured class for the United States Grand Prix League Finals. The Invitational will be held in Culpeper on September 30 and is limited to the top-30 USGPL pairs based on money won. On Friday, September 28 the $25,000 Wild Card Grand Prix offers the top finisher who is not already qualified the final spot in the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix. Currently, Jill Humphrey (CA), John Pearce (ON) and Tracy Magness (MD) own the top five spots in the standings.
HITS offers 10 more qualifying grand prix classes for the $100,000 USGPL Invitation Grand Prix this summer at its HITS Saugerties and HITS Culpeper equestrian facilities. At HITS Saugerties, competitors have eight chances remaining to secure enough prize money to make the cut. The first chance occurs on Thursday, July 26, in the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix. HITS Culpeper offers two more opportunities to qualify when show jumping returns to Commonwealth Park in late August.
The win was Jones-Sarle's first at HITS this show season. She will look to earn even more points for the USGPL Finals when show jumping returns to Culpeper for two back-to-back weeks with the Winston National (August 22 - 26) and the Constitution Classic (August 29 - September 2).
Also in August at HITS Culpeper, the Tad Coffin Zone III Junior Equitation Finals return on Saturday, August 25 during the Winston National Horse Show.
The Grand Finale of the Culpeper shows, the USGPL Finals, will take place September 26 - 30 and will feature a full schedule of classes, including $10,000 Pre-Green Hunter Classic, $15,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low Classic and $25,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Classic.
The first Culpeper Horse and Colt Show was held at Monte Vista Park in 1897 and it continued for the next 54 years. In the 1980s, show jumping returned to Culpeper in a grand fashion with the opening of Commonwealth Park, one of the finest horse-sport facilities in the country. Some of the richest show jumping events in America have been held at Commonwealth Park, including the $200,000 U.S. Cup, the grand finale for the United States Grand Prix League in 1986. HITS purchased Commonwealth Park in 1997 and began restoring the grounds to its former glory. In 1998, HITS reintroduced the United States Grand Prix League, and has presented the USGPL Finals at Commonwealth Park ever since. Approximately $1 million in total prize money is offered at the six HITS Culpeper events.
HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit www.HitsShows.com
Media should contact Chris Mayone at 845.246.8833 or e-mail Media_Info@HitsShows.com
HITS CORPORATE OFFICE: HITS, Inc., 319 Main Street, Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
phone 845.246.8833 fax 845.246.6371 www.HitsShows.com