IAN MILLAR AND PROMISE ME WIN THE $50,000 EMO GRAND PRIX AT HITS OCALA WINTER CIRCUIT
OCALA, FL (February 16, 2004)
Seven-time Olympic veteran, Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario, rode Promise Me to the blue ribbon in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Millar was the faster of two double-clears in a seven-horse jump-off, managing to shave over a second off Harold Chopping's double-clear ride on Kathleen 16, owned by Silver Oak Stables. Aaron Vale, holder of the record for the most Grand Prix wins in a single year, had the second fastest time aboard Quendo, owned by Town Creek Investment, but an unlucky rail left him in third place. Ian Millar also qualified In Style, owned by Susan Grange & Lothlorien Farm, for the jump-off, delivering a four-fault performance that gave them fourth place. Millar and In Style were the winners of the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix during the first week of the circuit.
Course designer Javier Hernandez of Guadalajara, Mexico, built a 12-obstacle first round course that included a triple at Fence No. 4, and a double at Fence No. 10. The time allowed was set at 77 seconds. Of the thirty-two starters, only seven horses advanced to Hernandez' seven-element short course. The time allowed was set at 56 seconds.
Harold Chopping and Kathleen 16 were first to attempt the jump-off course, leaving all the rails up in a time of 48.04 seconds. Ian Millar and Promise Me matched Chopping's clear round, while shaving 1.25 seconds of his time to win the competition. There were no other clear rounds amongst the remaining five horses. The crowd pinned their hopes on Derek Peterson from Archer, Florida, the last to go in the jump-off. The Floridian was cheered on in the hopes of his upsetting Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, but it was not to be. Despite his blazing fast time, the fastest in the jump-off, Peterson accumulated 8 faults.
The $50,000 EMO Grand Prix showcased the talents of an Olympic pair in the making. After the competition, Ian Millar stated, if I am given the nod to ride for Canada in the Olympics, this is the horse I will take. Promise Me is a 10-year old Dutch Warmblood that I got from the Hendricks Brothers in Holland, said Millar. He was originally owned in part by [fellow Canadian] Marni Von Schalburg who frequently showed here in Ocala. The Hendricks brothers always kept a part-ownership position, but when Marni decided to sell her interest in the horse, Andre Hendricks called me and said Get on a plane.' I flew to Holland and tried the horse out and said right then give me a week.' A week later I had assembled a Baker's Dozen' of investors and we bought the horse. I have been buying horses from the Hendricks Brothers for the past 21 years and have had great luck with them, starting with Big Ben.
Asked about his horse's name, Millar answered, His name comes from a line in a Lee Ann Womack song: Promise me you'll give faith a chance'I bought him on faith and I gave him a chance.
The Millars are regular competitors at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, and call Ocala their winter home. My family and I arrive December 15th and we have our Christmas here rather than up north in the snow, said Ian Millar. Now that my son and daughter work with us we can all be together here. I am a great fan of Team Struzzieri. He knows the sport and he knows the business. Lots of show managers know one or the other, but he knows both. Ocala offers us a great opportunity to train our students.
Other major award winners at
HITS Ocala I included:
The next Grand Prix event of the Ocala Winter Circuit will take place on Thursday, February 19th at 1:00pm. Spectators will enjoy world-class show jumping competition as riders compete for top honors in the $25,000 Peterson & Smith Grand Prix.
$50,000 EMO Grand Prix - Sunday,
February 15, 200 HITS Ocala I - Ocala, FL
Place - Horse - Rider - Owner - Prize Money - Rd1 Faults - JO Faults - JO Time
1st - Promise Me Ian Millar
Millar Brook Farm $15,000 0 0 46.79
WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, 2004
REMAINING SHOW DATES ARE:
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: www.HitsShows.com
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