Lauren Hough of the United States and her mare Ohlala won the fourth edition of the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix, second in the HITS Series. (Photo © ESI Photography)
The second $1 Million HITS event took place for the fourth time in Ocala, FL, when the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix was held and the first race win in the history of US rider Lauren Hough.
With a total of 49 pairs began the millionaire competition in a great atmosphere and full attendance of Ocala Horse Properties Stadium, where a good percentage could finish in clear round by course designed of German Werner Deeg at a height of 1.60m. Going to the tiebreak with 14 qualifiers, Lauren Hough and 13-year-old mare Ohlala (Orlando x Cardento) owned by The Ohlala Group, after tracing a good strategy, back seventh in the order to the decisive stage and with several important rounds that preceded her, the best of Laura’s equestrian as well as the best of his mare to stop the clock in 48.96 seconds, resulting in a big prize of $350,000 as a brand new winner.
The second position was for the rider of the town Aaron Vale, getting undoubtedly a good amount of applause by public, marking a time of 49.42 seconds with 11-year-old gelding Finou 4 (For Pleasure x Concetto) owned by Thinslikeahorse & Don Stewart, receiving $200,000 as the prize, the highest figure ever collected in a single competition for Vale, who holds the record for most wins in a year in United States. The party followed and one known in these kind of classes Andre Thieme from Germany was in third place, winner in 2014 the first Million class in Ocala and in 2011 at Saugerties of the HITS Series, registering a time of 50.08 seconds with 13-year-old gelding Conthendrix (Contendro I x Cor de la Bryere).
Completed the Top 5 two great riders as they were the British Ben Maher in the fourth position next to the 9-year-old gelding Don Vito (Quaprice Z x Jus de Pomme) owned by Poden Farms in 50.87 seconds and fifth US Olympic medalist and number 4 of the world McLain Ward, winner two times of the $1 Million class, completing in 51.37 seconds his course with 9-year-old HH Callas (Albatros x Quattro B) owned by Double H Farm. The best time of the jump-off was for Todd Minikus, winner of the 2014 edition in Saugerties, completing in a fast round of 46.66 seconds, but he shot down a pole with 15-year-old gelding Valinski S (Nijinsky x Julius), the same horse that he won in 2014, being escorted in the seventh place by the winner of last week Mandy Porter, in AIG $ 1 Millon Grand Prix of Thermal, California.
By the Latin delegation stood out the Venezuelan Emanuel Andrade, getting his pass to the jump-off next to the 12-year-old stallion Ricore Courcelle (Quaprice Bois margot x Alme), but they overturned the final jump, a result that lowered them from the 6th place to the 11th place in a time of 52.35 seconds. Also participating the Mexican Alberto Michán occupying the 14th position to be eliminated in the tiebreaker with GC Chopin’s Bushi (Contender II x Nairobi) and the Colombian Juan Manuel Gallego with 4 fouls in the regular round finished 25th with Coulash van de Broy Z (Cadence VT Gelut x Lys De Darmen) and Andrea Torres Guerreiro retired with Fifty Shades (Call Me Number One x Sion).