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Mario Deslauries Claims Second Grand Prix Win In The Catskills

Canadian Olympic veteran Mario Deslauriers riding his own Big Sir won the $75,000 Hudson Valley Resort Grand Prix on Sunday, as the fifth of the HITS series of horse shows concluded at Kelly Farm in Ellenville, New York. This marked the second big win of the series for Mario, who won two weeks ago with another mount, Everest.

The starting field of twenty-four horse and rider combinations included several veterans of Olympic and international competition, including Kevin Babington, Laura Chapot and Nona Garson, all from New Jersey. The course included fifteen jumping efforts, with one double and one triple combination. Nine of the twenty-four produced clear rounds and proceeded to the timed jump-off. The first horse in the jump-off was Kinetic, from the Sagamore Farm and ridden by Darren Graziano. They showed the way and set the pace with a clear round in the very good time of 36.599 seconds, which gave the rest of the riders something to shoot for. Earlier in the show, Darren and Kinetic won the Thursday, $25,000 Grand Prix where they produced the only clean round.

Two more horses went clean, but slightly slower than Kinetic. Then Enterprise, owned by R. A. Francoeur and Mark Jungherr, with Jungherr aboard, went clean and beat Graziano's time, crossing the finish line in 34.724. The very next to enter the Grand Prix arena was Big Sir with Mario Deslauriers who sped around the course and posted the very fast time of 33.566. Helena and Kevin Babington, posted another a clear round in the time of 34.329 to slide into second place.

Deslauriers was particularly pleased with today's win, since Big Sir is developing into a first-rate Grand Prix horse. The chef d'equipe of the Canadian Equestrian Team, Danny Foster, believes that Big Sir will be ready to be Mario's mount for the 2003 Pan American Games. The winner's share of the $75,000 purse was $22,500 in each of the Grand Prix held in Ellenville. For his two wins in Ellenville Mario Deslauriers added $45,000 to his other considerable winnings at HITS shows during the 2002 show season. Deslauriers also competed in HITS events in Ocala, Florida and Culpeper, Virginia. HITS show jumping continues in Virginia next week, and then returns to Ellenville August 27-31 for the sixth and final show in the 2002 Catskills series.

The Hudson Valley Resort and Spa is pleased to host HITS Catskills exhibitors once again in 2002, and is proud to be the sponsor of today's $75,000 Grand Prix.


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