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Aaron Vale and Picasso Win $100,000 King Shavings USGPL Grand Prix

Culpeper, VA (September 30, 2003)—Aaron Vale of Aiken, South Carolina, and Picasso, owned by Town Creek Investment, defeated a field of thirty-one to win the $100,000 King Shavings USGPL Grand Prix. The win capped a very successful year for Vale, giving him his 13th Grand Prix win this year. McLain Ward of Brewster, New York, and Sapphire, owned by Double H Farms, took second place in the competition. Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, and her horse Little Big Man, finished in third place.

Grand Prix course designer, Michel Vaillancourt of Schomberg, Ontario, set a challenging 14-obstacle course that included a triple combination at fence #8 and a double combination at fence #13. The time allowed was set at 91 seconds. Nine horses managed to go clear over the first round course, giving the afternoon crowd an exciting jump-off that showcased the skills of some of the country's top riders.

Three-time Olympic medallist, Joe Fargis of Middleburg, Virginia, was the first to attempt the shortened seven-fence jump-off course. Fargis had three knockdowns with Edgar for a total of 12 faults in a time of 45.97 seconds. Canadian rider, John Pearce and Jamco's Champagne were next to enter the ring. Pearce duplicated Fargis' effort in terms of faults with a slightly faster time of 43.05 seconds. Laura Chapot, daughter of Olympians Frank and Mary Chapot, was the first rider to post a clear round. Chapot rode her own horse Little Big Man in the competition, leaving all the rails up in a time of 44.87 seconds. Olympic veteran, Margie Goldstein-Engle, and her mount Hidden Creek's Perin, posted four faults with 39.33 seconds on the clock. Her time held as the fastest time of the field, but unfortunately an unlucky rail spoiled her chances. Laura Linback and Grand So So also posted four faults in a time of 43.14 seconds. With only three horses left to jump, Laura Chapot was edged out of the lead by McClain Ward and Sapphire. The pair jumped clean and shaved over two seconds off Chapot's time. Jeffrey Welles and Ursa Major finished with three knockdowns in a time of 45.73 seconds. Aaron Vale and Picasso were the last to enter the ring. For an experienced Grand Prix rider like Vale, this was a prime spot to be in. He had witnessed all of the mistakes and knew the time he had to beat. Vale delivered an exciting finish to the competition, pulling out all the stops to guide Picasso clear in the winning time of 41.92 seconds.

Vale has competed in the USGPL Invitational Finals since 1998 and has seen the competition grow in stature over the years. This USGPL veteran is quoted as saying, "This was one of the toughest Grand Prix courses to date and it was a thrill to win."

Other major award winners at the King Shavings USGPL Invitational Finals included:

$25,000 Jr/A-O High Jumper Invitational - Kate Levy, South Salem, NY
$15,000 Jr/A-O Low Jumper Invitational - Mary Helen Shaughnessy, Baltimore, MD
$25,000 Pre-Green Hunter Invitational - Olin Armstrong, Staunton, VA
Bayer Legend Leading Hunter Rider - Todd Minikus, Loxahatchee, FL
Bayer Legend Leading Jumper Rider - Margie Goldstein-Engle, Wellington, FL
Charles Owen Children's Medal - Abbey McGuire, Woodbridge, VA
Charles Owen Adult Medal - Deirdre Catani, Duxbury, MA
HBO Junior Medal - Rene Crawford, Colorado Springs, CO

$100,000 King Shavings USGPL Grand Prix - Sunday, September 28, 2003
HITS Culpeper, USGPL Invitational Finals - Culpeper, VA
Michel Vaillancourt, Schomberg, Ontario: Course Designer
Place Horse Rider Owner Prize Money Rd 1 Faults Rd 2 Faults JO Time

1st Picasso Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $30,000 0 0 41.92
2nd Sapphire McLain Ward Double H Farms $22,000 0 0 42.24
3rd Little Big Man Laura Chapot Laura Chapot $13,000 0 0 44.87
4th Hidden Creek's Perin Margie Goldstein-Engle Hidden Creek Farm Inc. $8,000 0 4 39.33
5th Grand So So Laura Linback Woodrun $6,000 0 4 43.14
6th Jamco's Champagne John Pearce Forestview Farms $5,000 0 12 43.05
7th Ursa Major Jeffrey Welles M/M Fred Croft/High Dunes Farm $4,000 0 12 45.73
8th Edgar Joe Fargis Mary B Schwab/Oeji Farms LLC $3,000 0 12 45.97
9th Iceberg Allison Firestone M/M Bertram Firestone $3,000 0 Elim
10th King William Lowry Windsor Farm Sales Inc. $2,000 1
11th Tyson Kimberly Frey Overlook Farm $2,000 4
12th Viktor Todd Minikus Harry Gill $2,000 4


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