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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, said Engle,“ 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.