OCALA, Fla.--Callan Solem of Chester Springs, Pa., rode her trusty veteran VDL Wizard to win the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on March 4 and also placed 11th on her newer mount, Davidson.
Solem beat a starting field of 30, 11 of which, all geldings, made it to the jump-off.
"I went first on Davidson in the jump-off," said Solem. "It was nice to get a feel for the jump-off course. There weren't many strided distances, the jumps were mostly off your eye. But there was one very tight two stride combination."
"I took the speed up a notch with Davidson from what I did when he was third at WEF, so he had a rail down," said Solem. "But he jumped well. He was also third in the Welcome class here, so he had a good week."
"With Wizard, I came into the two stride very fast, but he's so clever that he was able to back off and jump it clean," Solem said.
"WIZARD IS 16, and he's the best," said Solem. "We know each other so well now. If he whinnies in the in-gate, you know you're going to get a ribbon. On Sunday, he was whinnying up a storm, so I was excited going into the class, thinking `Maybe this is going to be our day.'"
"This was a nice prep for the Million," said Solem, referring to the upcoming HITS $1 Million Grand Prix on March 18.
Solem won the Grand Prix with a jump-off time of 40.818, almost two seconds faster than second placed Emanuel Andrade on Bon Jovi, who finished in 42.035.
Andre Thieme and Cupertino were third in 42.902, and Aaron Vale on Cassevel was fourth in 44.597.
IN THE $5,000 Welcome in which Davidson was third, Aaron Vale took first place on Bonzini S with a jump-off time of 39.303, and only tenths of a second behind him was Mattias Tromp on Eyecatcher, with a jump-off time of 39.460.
Solem was actually both third and fourth, third with Davidson in 41.870 and fourth with Imogen de Regor in 42.350.
Andrade won two jumper classes during HITS week VII, the first on Gran Mamut in the $25,000 Grand Prix on March 1 and the second in the $10,000 1.35m Classic on Dipssy on March 3.
In the $25,000 Grand Prix, Andrade and Gran Mamut won with a jump-off time of 38.748, with Tracy Magness on Intenz van HD second with a jump-off time of 40.515 and Lisa Goldman on Sovereign third as the fastest of those with four faults in the jump-off.
On Saturday afternoon, Andrade dominated the $10,000 1.35m Classic, winning on Dipssy in a jump-off time of 38.238 and taking third and fourth on Cortina 186 and Quilina VD Laarseheide Z with jump-off times of 39.990 and 40.262, respectively.
Manuel Torres and Christofolini was second with a jump-off time of 39.117, and Patricia Stovel rounded out the top five on Carigor Z with a jump-off time of 42.068.
On Friday, March 2, Goldman on Hindsight won the $10,000 Open Prix with a jump-off time of 37.225 and was also fifth place with Centurion B in a jump-off time of 40.433.
Thieme on Forami was second in 38.460 and Tromp was third, again riding Eyecatcher, with a jump-off time of 38.985.