Dorothy Douglas Does It Again! MTM Caepten Wins $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala
Dorothy Douglas gave spectators a bit of deja vu on Friday, repeating her victory in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix from Week One with MTM Caepten. She and her new partner bested the nine other double-clear entries by over a second to return to the winner’s circle alongside owner Nina Koloseike and trainer Mike McCormick. Hunter Holloway was right behind Douglas, claiming both the second and third-place ribbons with La Rochelle and Dana De Kerglenn, respectively.
“MTM Caepten is the coolest horse,” expressed Douglas after her win. “He does something off the ground that feels like he has little springs in his feet. It’s nice that he’s seasoned enough that I can just work on good riding. Between Mike and Tracy pushing me and having an owner like Nina it’s very cool to just go practice riding – it’s really fun!”
Course designer Martin Otto set a welcoming track for Friday’s main event and nine of the athletes that returned for the jump-off went on to produce a second clear effort. The short course included an oxer-vertical double combination and finished with a long turn away from the gate to the final oxer.
As the pathfinders in the first round, Holloway and Dana De Kerglenn were the first to return for the jump-off and set the Great American time to beat at a quick 43.161 seconds. Midway through the jump-off, it was starting to look like Holloway’s lead would hold, and it wasn’t until Douglas and MTM Caepten entered the ring that the lead changed hands. Douglas opted for an outer track to one fence with a faster gallop, and then took the inner path to the final oxer. Her decisions paid off as the duo dashed through the timers in 41.917 seconds to take the lead. Holloway had the advantage of going last with her second mount, La Rochelle, and tried to catch Douglas to retake the lead, but the pair fell shy of the time, clocking in at 43.135 seconds to move into second place and give Douglas the victory.
“You just have to go for it,” explained Douglas. “Obviously, you want to be clear, but I think with that many [riders] the times are so tight. After watching the first couple go, we actually decided from two to three going around and keep going was a little bit faster, and then we also decided to dip inside to the last jump. I definitely made up some time from two to three and then to the last jump, but my plan was just to go for it”
Douglas is very grateful to have the opportunity to compete with the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding, noting, “This horse has a little bit changed my life right now. Having a horse like him that can go and win makes me more confident, and in turn, it makes me ride all my other horses even better. It’s funny how one horse can do that for somebody.”
Dorothy Douglas Does It Again! MTM Caepten Wins $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at HITS Ocala :: HITS (hitsshows.com)