Culpeper, Vancouver – April 24, 2022 – The first week of the HITS Culpeper Series concluded on Sunday, kicking off HITS’s 25th Anniversary at HITS Commonwealth Park. The highlight event of the day was the $20,000 Hits Open Prix, where Tracy Magness completed her sweep of the week by placing first and second with Intenz Van HD and ChopindDu Chateau Hollogne Z, respectively.
“I’ve been coming here since I rode ponies,” expressed Magness after her win. “I did the Pony Finals here when I was on medium ponies. This is sort of my hometown show and we love it here!”
Canada’s Danny Foster set a technical track for the first round of competition, which included two double combinations and a bending line to the airy final vertical. Five pairs advanced to the jump-off, where a tall vertical off a bending line in the middle of the course resulted in a rail down for three of the challengers. Only Magness completed the jump-off without error, and did so with both of her horses.
Anthony Sauriol and Rozsa returned first over the shortened course, setting the pace at 47.692 seconds, but with 4 faults to their name they would finish in fourth place. Magness was next with her first mount, Intenz Van HD, and they blazed to the top of the leaderboard with a quick time of 43.167 seconds, leaving all the rails intact. Andrew Ross and Cornet’s Cobalt were the next duo in the ring, lowering the height of the vertical for 4 faults in 50.91 seconds, which would place fifth.
Magness aimed to better her original time when she rode into the arena aboard Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z. While the scopey gelding left all the rails in place, his time in the air had them cross the finish line in 49.246 seconds. The last rider of the day was Hadden Frost aboard his veteran mount Finou 4. He also lowered the vertical on the bending line for 4 faults, crossing the finish line in 47.399 seconds to take home third place. Magness returned to the ring to stand in the winner’s circle, earning the $20,000 HITS Open Prix victory with Intenz Van HD and placing second aboard Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z.
“I thought I went medium-fast [with Intenz] because nobody had gone clear,” explained Magness. “I thought I kind of left the door open for somebody to go to beat me. [With Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z] I thought maybe I’d try and go a little faster because I still had Hayden behind me on Finou, who is an experienced, fast horse too. I thought I was faster on my second one, but he just jumps really high. Intenz is really catty and careful and quick – Chopin is more of a scopey, big jumper. So although I thought I actually made better turns, he just takes more time.”
Magness dominated the competition earlier in the week, capturing the victory in Wednesday’s $5,000 HITS Open Welcome aboard Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z and also claiming third place with Intenz Van HD. Melissa Strawser and Darwin De Mars slid into the second-place position to close out the day.
On Friday, Magness once again placed first and third, this time winning the $10,000 HITS Open Prix aboard Intenz Van HD with a double clear effort in 47.808 seconds. She was the pathfinder over the first course with Chopin Du Chateau Hollogne Z. During the jump-off the duo lowered the height of the last fence for 4 faults in 48.383 seconds, which would hold up for third place. The only other pair to complete the tiebreaker without error was Debbie McCarthy Connor and Sashi W, who cleared the course in 50.268 seconds for second place.
Magness’ magnificent week proved extra special, with her father, John Bartko, celebrating his 87th birthday on Saturday, and he was on-site to watch his daughter compete. She attributed her successful week to giving her horses time off between HITS Ocala and HITS Culpeper.
“I only did a few jumps before I came this week, so they were really fresh,” noted Magness. “I normally don’t do three classes a week, but they’d had a month off. I did Wednesday and they were very fresh on that day. I think that’s probably the key, that they’d had a little break and so they were ready to go.”
In July, riders will return to HITS Commonwealth Park for the Showday National and the Cavalier Classic, scheduled for July 6-17, 2022. Each week will feature a $20,000 Open Prix and a $2,500 USHJA National Derby, in addition to a large variety of hunter and jumper classics for riders of all levels. For more information visit http://www.hitsshows.com.
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Show
Photos: © Rebeca Walton, Alison Hartwell