AARON VALE SCORES 1-2 IN $100,000 HITS GRAND PRIX OF OCALA
OCALA, FL (March 15, 2005) --
Aaron Vale galloped away with the top two spots in the $100,000 HITS Grand Prix of Ocala, presented by Great American Insurance, the Grand Finale to seven weeks of show jumping at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Artur, owned by Millstream, Janet Peterson, and Alison Register, was Vale's horse for the win. The ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding is a new mount for Vale. "We had a win in Jacksonville in January, and he has jumped really well here in Ocala. We were unlucky not to win on a few occasions, so this was a really good end to the circuit." Vale rode Arriscraft Soliel, owned by Angelstone Farm to second place. His total winnings amounted to $52,000. Erynn Ballard of Canada was the only other double-clear of the competition, taking third place with Rio's Rhapsody.
Forty-two horse/rider combinations took to the field to tackle the challenging 13-obstacle Round One course set by Kenneth Krome. Only six horses went clear to advance to the jump-off.
Aaron Vale and Arriscraft Soliel were the first to return for the jump-off. Vale posted a clear round, setting the pace with a time to beat of 46.25 seconds.
Harold Chopping had two horses in the jump-off, and was up next with Kathleen. The pair had a knockdown at the first obstacle and finished their round in 49.18 seconds. Chopping's second trip was aboard Rabaila. This time Chopping went all out, and it was looking good until the final obstacle. Rabaila pulled a rail to finish with four faults in the fastest time of the competition with 44.69 seconds on the clock
Aaron Vale was still holding the lead with Arriscraft Soliel when he returned for his second tour of the course aboard Artur. Vale left all the rails up and shaved 1.5 seconds off his previous time to take on a new lead with Artur. "I think I was able to save the time with the long gallop to the combination. I was faster across the ground with Artur, and just hoped that we could get over fence B in the combination."
Darrin Dlin and Catwalk were the next to enter the ring. Dlin rode a slow careful round, but a rail at the last and going over the time allowed left him with 13 faults.
Erynn Ballard and Rio's Rhapsody were the last to challenge Vale. "It was a hard call. You always have to balance what you have to do with what you want to do. I knew I had to go clean, and I did, but I also tried to best his time. It worked last time (Ballard edged Vale by five hundreds of a second to win last week's $50,000 HITS Grand Prix), but not this time. I was still very pleased with my result."
Aaron Vale has achieved tremendous success over the seven weeks of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, winning four Grand Prix and also picking up the Leading Jumper Rider Award. "I am thrilled with the circuit, its great to finish with a big win. No matter how you do, the last class is what you go on, and its leaves a good taste in your mouth to end with a win."
Other major award winners at the HITS Ocala Winter Finals included:
HBO Junior Medal Julianne
Kruger, Verona, NJ
HITS Grand Prix of Ocala, presented by Great American Insurance - Sunday,
March 13, 2005
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