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Vale Seizes Third Victory In A Row With 1-2 Finish In $25,000 HITS Ocala Grand Prix

OCALA, FL (March 5, 2004)—For any Grand Prix rider, having a good string of up-and-coming horses is fundamental to sustained success. Aaron Vale, the record holder for the most Grand Prix wins in a single year, certainly looks like he is going to stay at the top of his game. Vale had a 1-2 finish, his third win in a row in Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix, and is consistently placing in the top four spots in jumper classes across the board at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Quendo, owned by Town Creek Investment, was Vale's horse for the win. He rode Romulus to second place, also owned by Town Creek Investment. Quendo and Romulus are both new mounts—this is their first full season in the Grand Prix ring with Aaron. Harold Chopping and Shadwell, owned by Mr. & Mrs. Wyatt Steward, took third place in the competition.

Twenty-three competitors took to the field to tackle the challenging 14-obstacle Round One course set by Canadian course designer Danny Foster. Foster's course included a few tight turns, with a triple at fence no. 7 and a double at fence no. 12. Time allowed was set at 105 seconds. Fence no. 5 proved to be trouble for a number of riders as they cut a turn into 6. Only five horse/rider combinations went clear to advance to the jump-off.

For the jump-off, Foster built a seven-obstacle short course and set time allowed at 56 seconds. By removing the C element of the first round triple combination, Foster left a long gallop to a vertical - vertical in-and-out, which caused most riders to slow down and re-group in the middle of the course.

Erynn Ballard and Robin Van Roosendael were the first to attempt the course. The pair had a rail down after a tight turn to an oxer in a time of 50.48 seconds, giving them fifth place. Harold Chopping was next up aboard Shadwell, leaving all the rails up with a fast 48.90 seconds on the clock. Aaron Vale went all out on his first mount, Romulus, taking a chance at the vertical - vertical in-and-out. The chance paid off as he edged out Chopping with a time of 48.75 seconds. Canadian show-jumping legend, Ian Millar, had an unlucky knockdown at the last with Sweet Dreams in a time of 48.85 seconds for fourth place. With only himself to beat, Aaron Vale was in a prime position as he finished out the field aboard Quendo. The top Grand Prix rider blazed through the course with no faults in a time of 47.64 seconds for the win—over a second faster than his previous round on Romulus, giving him both first and second spots in the competition.

After the class, Aaron Vale paid homage to the legendary Ian Millar, saying, "I heard Ian say once, 'if you take the chance and go fast and leave the jumps up, you have a pretty good chance of winning. If you play it safe and take your time, even if you leave the jumps up, you're probably going to be too slow to win anyway.'" Never one to play it safe, Vale always gives the crowd a show of speed, and HITS Ocala spectators are enjoying every split second of it.

The next Grand Prix event at HITS Ocala will take place on Sunday, March 7th. Spectators will enjoy world-class show jumping competition as riders compete for top honors in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

For more information on the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, please visit

Aaron Vale and Quendo - Winners of the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix © 2004 Lili Weik Photography
$25,000 HITS Ocala Grand Prix - Thursday, March 4, 2004
HITS Ocala IV - Ocala, FL
Course Designer: Danny Foster, Georgetown, Ontario

Place Horse Rider Owner Prize Money Rd1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1st Quendo Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $7,500 0 0 47.64
2nd Romulus Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $5,500 0 0 48.75
3rd Shadwell Harold Chopping M / M Wyatt Stewart $3,250 0 0 48.90
4th Sweet Dreams Ian Millar Scotia Farms $2,000 0 4 48.85
5th Robin Van Roosendael Erynn Ballard Looking Back Farm $1,500 0 4 50.48
6th Freestyle Elliott Stone Michael Stone $1,250 4
7th Neander Andre Thieme Redfield Farm LLC $1,000 4
8th Kartousch Mary Lisa Leffler Rolling Acres / McLain Ward $750 4
9th R Mable KZ Michelle Pia Morgan Hill Partners $750 4
10th On The Sly Kristi Smith Knights Fork Inc. $500 4
11th Valentino Amy Millar Amy Millar $500 4
12th Graf Rossini S Mary-Lisa Leffler Bruce Chovnick LLC $500 6

Ocala Tournament IV - March 3-7
Ocala Winter Finals V - March 10-14

$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, March 7 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, March 11 at 1:00pm
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Junior / Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic - Sunday, March 14 at 10:00am
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Child / Adult Jumper Classic Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 noon
$100,000 King Shavings Grand Prix of Ocala presented by Great American Insurance Group - Sunday, March 14 at 2:00pm

Grand Finale - Sunday, March 14
Champions of the Week Presentations are held on Sundays prior to the 1:00pm Grand Prix.

POST TIME FARM: 13710 U.S. Hwy 27; Ocala, Florida 34482; Tel: 352-620-2275. Website:


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