Lisa Goldman-Smolen and Ivaro N Nab $50,000 Stal Hendrix Grand Prix at HITS Ocala
Ivaro N showcased his speed and agility with Lisa Goldman-Smolen during Sunday’s $50,000 Stal Hendrix Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, besting a seven-horse jump-off by over a second with turns that were unbeatable. David Cameron rode Oaks Come By Chance to second place, while pathfinders Scott Keach and Noble De La Chapelle took the third-place award.
“Barbara Disko bought Ivaro N for me three years ago, and she has been my longest supporter and best supporter,” noted Smolen after her win. “She owns my best horses with me, so I’m very thankful for her and especially thankful because when we got him, it was a week before I found out I was pregnant with my son. I got to do the 7-Year-Old Finals on him, and then he got to have the winter off to just grow up. It was a bit of a slower start for him, but last year he really stepped up into his own and really started to shine. It took an extra year, but no fault of his own; it was because I had a baby.”
Peter Holmes (CAN) laid the track for Sunday’s main event, testing riders with 13 questions, including a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination through the middle of the ring. Seven advanced to the short course, where tight turns proved to be key to winning as they all made their way toward the final vertical.
Keach was the first to return with Noble De La Chapelle, maintaining a quick pace throughout. They left all the rails in their cups, setting the Great American time to beat at 41.158 seconds. Smolen was next with Ivaro N, and after watching Keach’s round, she used quick rollbacks with her agile mount to make up time, dashing through the timers well ahead in 38.864 seconds. The only other pair to come close to catching Smolen was Cameron and Oaks Come By Chance, who slid into the second place position with a fault-free round in 40.294 seconds.
“I saw [Scott Keach] do eight strides from one to two and knew that that was the number,” explained Smolen. “There was no less; that was the leave out. I knew I could match him there and be fast back to three and to the double. Then again, going to the last line – I think those were the two places I was a lot faster.”
Smolen was excited to return to the Grand Prix ring at HITS Ocala, which has always been special to her. “The footing feels lovely. Honestly, I’m most excited about being back in this ring because I have been showing here for 10 years,” she concluded. “This has always been my favorite ring of the two rings – it always had my heart with the gorgeous tree in the ring, I always loved this ring. The fact that they refocused everything back here to me is what makes this place really special again, and the spectators can really feel like they are a part of it.”
Jumper action will continue for seven more weeks in the new Grand Prix ring at HITS Ocala. The Overlook Club features a perfect view of the ring and is open to all, with a special brunch every Sunday for $45 per person during the weekly grand prix. The season culminates with the Great American $300,000 Grand Prix on Sunday, March 26, with one of the biggest purses in the country. Visit the horse show office or www.hitsshows.com for more information.