OCALA, FL (February 27, 2004)—

Aaron Vale took the Grand Prix ring by storm during Thursday's $25,000 HITS Grand Prix at Ocala Masters III. The top Grand Prix rider and holder of the record for the most Grand Prix wins in a single year, placed four of his five mounts in the money.

© 2004 Lili Weik Photography

Vale took the blue ribbon aboard his top horse, Picasso, owned by Town Creek Investment. He placed third with Arriscraft Soliel, owned by Angelstone Farm—the horse that gave him the win in last week's $25,000 Peterson & Smith Grand Prix. His mount for fourth place was Quendo, and he also placed eleventh aboard Romulus—both horses are owned by Town Creek Investment. His total winnings in the competition came to $13,250.


Aaron Vale and Picasso - Winners of the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix

Kristi Smith and On The Sly, owned by Knights Fork Inc., took second place. Smith also placed tenth with her second mount, Jennieta. Her total winnings came to $6,000.

Course designer Michel Vaillancourt of Schomberg, Ontario, built a 13-jump Round One course that included three doubles at Fences No. 4, No. 6, and No. 10. His last line included water at No. 11, and an oxer at No. 13. Time Allowed was set at 88 seconds. Twenty-four horse/rider combinations took to the field and six went clean.

For the jump-off, Vaillancourt built a seven-obstacle short course and set Time Allowed at 50 seconds. Beth Underhill and Magdaline were the first to attempt the course. The pair caught a rail at the double for a four-fault performance in a time of 43.67 seconds—good enough for fifth place. Vale took his first mount Arriscraft Soliel around the course for a clear trip, crossing the timers in 44.86 seconds, which proved good enough for third place. Eduardo Braun and Blackforest ASDI, winners of Wednesday's $2,500 Brookledge Open Welcome, had trouble at the double and another unlucky rail for eight faults in a time of 44.02 seconds, giving them sixth place. Vale and Picasso, the prime favorites for the competition, took to the ring and did not disappoint. Vale went fast and clean in the winning time of 41.81 seconds. Kristi Smith and On The Sly tried to catch them, but came almost a second shy with a clear round in a time of 42.75 seconds. Vale finished out the field with his third mount Quendo. The pair had a rail at the double, but their quick time of 42.47 seconds placed them in fourth.

The next Grand Prix event at HITS Ocala will take place on Sunday, February 29th. Spectators will enjoy world-class show jumping competition as riders compete for top honors in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix. The Sunday Grand Prix will coincide with Family Day presented by Cox Communications. Parents and their children will be invited to visit the show grounds to participate in a day filled with pony rides, face painting, clowns, and much more. These activities will take place from 12:00-2:00 pm, prior to the Grand Prix.

$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, February 26th, 2004 Ocala Masters III - Ocala, FL
Course Designer: Michel Vaillancourt, Schomberg, Ontario

Place - Horse - Rider - Owner - Prize Money - Rd1 Faults - JO Faults - JO Time
1st Picasso Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $7,500 0 0 41.81
2nd On The Sly Kristi Smith Knights Fork Inc. $5,500 0 0 42.75
3rd Arriscraft Soliel Aaron Vale Angelstone Farm $3,250 0 0 44.86
4th Quendo Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $2,000 0 4 42.47
5th Magdaline Beth Underhill Darryl B Williams Assoc. $1,500 0 4 43.67
6th Blackforest ASDI Eduardo Braun Karl Giebmanns $1,250 0 8 44.02
7th Elton Polly Howard Polly Howard / Fox Meadow Farm $1,000 4
8th Kartousch Mary Lisa Leffler Rolling Acres / McLain Ward $750 4
9th Neander Andre Thieme Redfield Farm LLC $750 4
10th Jennieta Kristi Smith Knights Fork Inc. $500 4
11th Romulus Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $500 4
12th Ting Tin Hyde Moffatt Hawkestone Farm $500 5

Ocala Masters III - February 25-29
Ocala Tournament IV - March 3-7
Ocala Winter Finals V - March 10-14

$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, February 29 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, March 4 at 1:00pm
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, March 7 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, March 11 at 1:00pm
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Junior / Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic - Sunday, March 14 at 10:00am
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Child / Adult Jumper Classic Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 noon
$100,000 King Shavings Grand Prix of Ocala presented by Great American Insurance Group - Sunday, March 14 at 2:00pm

Kids Day presented by Cox Communications - Sunday, February 29
Grand Finale - Sunday, March 14
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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