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Catskills Canadian Olympian Eric LaMaze and Millcreek Raphael Win $100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix at HITS Catskills II

ELLENVILLE, NY (June 3, 2001)-Canadian Olympic Team member Eric LaMaze of Schomberg, Ontario, riding Millcreek Raphael was the faster of only two double-clears in a field of 45 to win the $100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix at HITS Catskills II in Ellenville, New York, today. In a four-horse jump-off, LaMaze was more than two seconds faster than second place Meredith Taylor of Annandale, New Jersey, on Victor owned by Full Cry Farm. Millcreek Raphael took home an engraved silver tray, an embroidered cooler, and $30,000 for owner Millcreek Stable. LaMaze was first in the order and said that he found the course difficult and long, but that he had a definite strategy. "It wouldn't have made a difference to me if I went fortieth or first," said LaMaze. "It was pretty clear once I walked the course. I stuck to my plan and the horse jumped wonderfully. I decided to gamble on a double-clear and see where that got me. I wasn't going for speed, I just wanted a double-clear and let them chase me a little." Buddy Brown of Wellington, Florida, was the course designer.

For Round One, Brown built a 14-jump course that included an oxer-oxer double at Fence No. 4, a vertical-vertical-oxer triple at Fence No. 9, open water at 11, an oxer-vertical double at Fence No. 12, and finished with a vertical at 13 and an oxer at 14. Time Allowed was set at 102 seconds. Brown described the course as technical. "There were only two lines that were set distances-the oxer to the plank up the hill, and the vertical to the water to the combination after the water. Everything else was rider option with however many strides they wanted to put in. The design of the jump, the size of the jump, the turn to the jump is what makes it hard to keep a horse balanced. They had to jump 18 efforts in 102 seconds-basically they were going in 95. That's a long time to keep a horse balanced. We have fairly light equipment, which keeps you from having to build scary big. My idea of a good course is when the rails fall and the people don't." In Round One, eight riders retired on course, one rider was eliminated, and four riders were clear and moved on to the Jump-Off.

For the short course tiebreaker, Brown asked the riders to re-jump Fences 1 through 4AB, then called for some hairpin turns to get to 7 and 12A, and again finished with 13 and 14, with 13 as the highest jump on course at 5'3". Time Allowed was set at 55 seconds. "I like that style jump-off," said Brown commenting on the tight turns. "I gave them a couple places to run and get the crowd going a little bit. I think for the skill involved at this level, a flat-out run leaves haphazard luck involved. If you've got to turn and jump, and turn and gallop and jump, you definitely have to be more skilled to be able to do it neat, quick and carefully." LaMaze with Millcreek Raphael set the pace with a clear in 52.563. Meredith Taylor was next on Victor with a clear, but her time of 54.89 put her second for $20,000. Third in the order was Federico Sztyrle of Sagaponack New York, riding Lilli for Sag Pond Farm who had 12 jumping faults plus four time faults for his round in 58.559, to finish in fourth place, earning $8,000. Last to chase LaMaze was Michael Dorman of Jamison, Pennsylvania, riding Dumbo de Chappelle who had eight faults in the fastest time, 49.269, taking third place and $12,000 for owner Flora Ribeira. "I don't think I was faster, I think I was more casual than everybody but the rails stayed up," said LaMaze. "Meredith was actually going a bit faster than me and just got jumped off a little out of the double so she had a wider turn therefore, and that's where I made up my time."

Millcreek Raphael is an 11-year-old, 16.3-hand, bay German-bred gelding that LaMaze has been riding for two years. "I walked the lines, and the lines were obvious for my horse, which means I know the horse well," said LaMaze, adding, "so when a distance walks a little too long or a little too short, I know exactly what to do. He has a big stride so it doesn't leave a lot of options with him as far as what you do in the line. He's a very classic jumper with a big gallop. The time allowed plays a factor because you don't know how it rides, but he's naturally a slow horse so I always have to think about that. He's had a lot of success. He's basically very careful and he always tries his best." LaMaze and "Raffi" competed in Toronto three weeks ago on a Grand Prix course that was also designed by Buddy Brown. "I won actually," said LaMaze. "So I told Buddy everywhere he goes, I'm going. He's good luck for me!"

"Eric's a great rider," said Brown. "Generally, the people who do well over my courses are riders that are in a unit with their horse. "

Steve Brygidyr, Sales Manager for the Nevele Grande Resort and Country Club, title sponsor of today's Grand Prix, was on hand to award the check in the ceremonies before the victory lap. "I wanted to thank you for your participation and I hope we can make a long and lasting relationship between the hotel and the horse show," he said to LaMaze, adding, "and we hope to see you back again in July." HITS Catskills returns to the show grounds, which are next door to the 682-room Nevele Grande complex, on July 18 and will run three consecutive weeks, each week featuring a $100,000 Grand Prix, including another $100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix on August 5.

$100,000 Nevele Grande Grand Prix, June 3, 2001
HITS Catskills II, Ellenville, New York
Course Designer: Buddy Brown
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults & Time
1/Millcreek Raphael/Eric Lamaze/Millcreek Stable/$30,000/0/0-52.563
2/Victor/Meredith Taylor/Full Cry Farm/$20,000/0/0-54.819
3/Dumbo de Chapelle/Michael Dorman/Flora Ribeira/0/8-49.269
4/Lilli/Federico Sztyrle/Sag Pond Farm/$8,000/0/16/58.559
5/Rainbow/Vanessa Haas/Vanessa Haas/$6,000/ ½ /NA
6/Hidden Creek's Jones/Margie Engle/Hidden Creek Farm/$5,000/3-3/4 /NA
7/Samoens/Kimberly Frey/Katherine Miracle/Overlook Farm/$4,000/4/NA
8/Kondor/James Benedetto/Kamine Family & James Benedetto/$3,000/4/NA
9/Rhythmical/Nona Garson/Kamine Family & Nona Garson/$3,000/4/NA
10/Hidden Creek's Laurel/Margie Engle/Hidden Creek Farm/$2,000/4/NA
11/Korina/Chris Kappler/Moonraker Farm & Chris Kappler/$2,000/4/NA
12/Diamond Go Go/Misti Cassar/Misti Cassar/$2,000/4/NA
13/Latinus/Robin Sweely/Acorn Hill Farm Inc./$1,500/4/NA
14/Hennessey/Pamela Polk/Pine Hollow Stables/$1,500/4/NA

Number of horses who competed in this class: 45
Class Prize Money: $100,000

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 Prix 1pm
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

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