After piloting Caroline Russell Howe’s Caramo to the blue in the $5,000 Devoucoux Hunter Prix the previous day, Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, North Carolina rode to a win in the $40,000 Strongid® C 2X Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on Sunday with Paddy Ann Burns’ Calando Z.
Chopping and Calando Z led off in both rounds and topped 14 contenders over a course designed by Jerry Dougherty of Bokeelia, Florida. The 13-jump track presented 17 jumping efforts, including a double combination at fence six and a triple combination as the second-to-last obstacle.
“Winning against these guys in Virginia is never a given – they are quick,” said Chopping of the competition. “The track was fair, but consistently difficult all the way around. The approaches to the combinations were technical – there was a half stride to the double and a tricky approach to the triple. Honestly, the hardest part was going first in both rounds – I was just lucky that the rounds that were faster than mine ended up with faults.”
After posting the first clear round of the day, Chopping was joined by five others, presenting a six-horse jump-off. Chopping quickly put the Great American Time to Beat on the clock at 45.80 seconds as the first to go in the jump-off.
“He [Calando Z] is very good in the combination, so despite me making a plan and then changing once I was in the ring – he judged those approaches well,” said Chopping.
In pursuit, Dr. Fernando Cardenas of New Hill, North Carolina and his own Quincy Car were second to ride, but picked up four faults in 44.61 seconds. Kyle Timm of Apex, North Carolina and Apex Equestrian Center’s Platinum were third to go and had the speed with a final time of 44.05 seconds, but had two rails for eight faults.
Patty Stovel of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania and her own Carigor Z posted a clear round in 47.52 seconds, while Manuel Torres of Leesburg, Virginia followed close behind with the final double-clear effort of the day in 46.13 seconds. Capping the jump-off was Kama Godek of Farifax Station, Virginia and her own Air Force One. They finished in 50.35 seconds with four faults at the final jump of the course.
Behind Chopping, Torres finished second, Stovel third and Cardenas fourth. Godek capped the top five and Timm was sixth.
Chopping’s winning mount, a 13-year-old chestnut gelding, is an enjoyable ride. . “He’s a very correct jumper – it is never difficult to get a good jump out of him,” said Chopping. “I always know that he is going to walk into the ring and do his job.” Grand prix competition will continue at HITS Culpeper with the $40,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on Sunday July 14 and returns to HITS Saugerties for three weeks, July 17 – August 4. Throughout the summer circuits in New York and Virginia, jumper riders will continue to ride for qualifying leverage in the preliminary Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix Rider Rankings for a chance to compete in the historic class this fall.