ELLENVILLE, NY (May 25, 2001)--Mark Jungherr of Amesbury, Massachusetts, riding his longtime partner, Roscoe, was the fastest of seven double-clears to win the $15,000 Open Jumper Prix at HITS Catskills in Ellenville, New York, today. Roscoe earned $4,500 for owner R.A. Francoeur. In a hotly contested jump-off, four riders finished in 33 seconds and fractions, with 100ths determining the winner and placings. Course Designer Paul Duffy of Claregalway, Ireland, commented, "What I haven't seen ever before, and I'm 30 years at it, is four in the same second. To me that was incredible."
For the field of 29 horses in Round One, Duffy built a 12-obstacle course that included a triple combination at Fence No. 6, water at Fence No. 8, and finished with a double at Fence No. 12. Time Allowed was set at 83 seconds. Ten horses had clear rounds and moved on to the Jump-Off.
Duffy set six fences for the tiebreaker, including the double at the finish, with Time Allowed set at 41 seconds. Olympian Nona Garson of Lebanon, New Jersey, riding Rhythmical, her mount from the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, was first to go on the short course and set the pace with a clear round in 34.454, which proved to be good enough for sixth place. Lynne Little, of Frederick, Maryland, went next and immediately snatched the lead with her clear on Ransom in 33.912, but her daughter Marilyn Little, also of Frederick, Maryland, was next to go on Pico de Gallo, and after taking some advice from her mother, proceeded to take the lead from her with a clear in 33.742. Daughter and mom finished third and fourth respectively. Jungherr and Roscoe were sixth in the order and displayed their characteristic speed in a partnership that has earned Roscoe the nickname of "King of the Catskills"--he has won more Grand Prixs at this venue than any other horse. Jungherr's time was 33.202, which placed him in the lead. Garson returned to the ring with her second ride in the jump-off, Capitol S, and gave Jungherr a run for his money with a clear round in 33.513, but it was only good enough for second place. Misti Cassar of Thousand Oaks, California, blasted around the course on Pasadena, taking a shot at the win with a ride in 33.235, which was the second fastest time in the jump-off, but she had a rail for four faults, finishing eighth. Brian Shook of Holly, Michigan riding Abebe Bikila for Hunterpointe Farm was the ninth rider to go and was clear in 34.142, earning fifth place. Last on course was Michael Dorman of Jamison, Pennsylvania, with Quriel, who was the seventh rider to go double-clear today, crossing the timers in 38.685 seconds for seventh place.
"As much as I would like to win this class I'm setting Rhythmical up for Sunday," said Garson. "I'm playing the strategy of trying to be medium today and hopefully I'll be in the jump-off and faster on Sunday." The $100,000 EMO Grand Prix on Sunday, May 27, is the first of six $100,000 Grand Prixs at HITS Catskills. Garson's second place horse, Capitol S, is a 10-year old Holsteiner that she has been riding for two-and-a-half years and is currently aiming him for the World Championships. "There was an option of doing five or six strides up that line [from Fence No. 4 to 5]. I did the five and I went inside. I took a really good track on Capitol S. But he's a little slower in the air and across the ground. Mark's horse Roscoe is a very fast horse across the jumps. His technique is just a little faster than my horse's. I might have even taken a little better track, but he was quicker across the top of the jumps than I was." Garson brought 30 horses to HITS Catskills for Weeks I and II and plans to compete in all six weeks of the series that runs through September 2.
Winner Mark Jungherr said that Roscoe had been off for four months and competed in his first class on Wednesday-the $10,000 Welcome Stake in which he placed sixth. In today's class, Jungherr said that Roscoe jumped well, though he struggled through the triple in Round One. "He dragged a little deeper than I wanted him. The first round really got difficult for him." In the jump-off, Jungherr successfully executed his planned ride, taking the same track as Garson at the option between Fence No. 4 and 5, though he added a stride. "I did six and took the inside turn. It was hard to get that inside turn. What you left out [going] to the jump you lost on the back side." Jungherr described how he shaved fractions, "We got a good bend in the first two jumps, we got turned around well after the first line, we got down to the red oxer off a big open gallop, and then to the last combination he galloped a little bit more into that than some of the other horses."
Roscoe is a 14-year-old, 16.3 hand, black Holsteiner gelding that Jungherr purchased in Europe 12 years ago. Jungherr said he would be competing for most of the six weeks of the series, though he's giving Roscoe a break this Sunday and won't compete in the $100,000 EMO Grand Prix. "We'll rest Roscoe and show him the next Sunday in the Grand Prix. That's the only horse I have for the Grand Prix right now." What does the rider of the "King of the Catskills" think of the doubled Grand Prix prize money at HITS Catskills this year? "Excellent," said Jungherr adding, "It's a little harder now. There's a lot more people here."
Course designer Duffy said that his course worked out well and he was pleased with the class. "For me, it was probably on the easy side. It was a mixed class of some of the very good horses and some of the up-and-coming young horses. [Before the class] I spoke to some of the riders, and I eased off what it was going to be because there were too many young horses in it. But it didn't matter today if we got a couple too many [in the jump off]. Ten went clean which was a little bit too many. It'll be a different field of horses on Sunday."
$15,000 Open Jumper Prix, May 25, 2001
HITS Catskills, Ellenville, New York
Course Designer: Paul Duffy
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults & Time
1/Roscoe/Mark Jungherr/RA Francoeur/$4,500/0-0/33.202
2/Capitol S/Nona Garson/Kamine Family/Nona Garson/$3,300/0-0/33.513
3/Pico De Gallo/Marilyn Little/Raylyn Farm/Marilyn Little/$2,250/0-0/33.742
4/Ransom/Lynne Little/Alex Carl/$1,500/0-0/33.912
5/Abebe Bikila/Brian Shook/Hunterpointe Farm/$1,200/0-0/34.142
6/Rhythmical/Nona Garson/Kamine Family/Nona Garson/$900/0-0/34.454
7/Quriel/Michael Dorman/Wyndmont Inc./$750/0-0/38.685
8/Pasadena/Misti Cassar/Misti Cassar/$600/0-4/33.235
Number of horses who competed in this class: 29
Class Prize Money: $15,000
HITS CATSKILLS 2001:
HITS CATSKILLS 2001 SHOW DATES:
HITS Catskills I, May 23-27
HITS Catskills II, May 30-June 3
HITS Catskills III, July 18-22
HITS Catskills IV, July 25-29
HITS Catskills V, August 1-5
HITS Catskills VI, August 29-September 2
May 27$100,000 EMO Grand Prix 1pm
June 3 $100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix 1pm
July 22 $100,000 Avis Grand Prix 1pm
July 29 $100,000 Cosequin® Grand Prix1pm
August 5 $100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix 1pm
September 2 $100,000 Rio Vista Grand Prix 1pm
July 22 Taste of the Hudson Valley For Exhibitors Only 2pm-4pm
July 29 Kids Day 11am-1pm