INDIO, CA (February 23, 2001)--Tracy Fenney, 36, of Flower Mound, Texas, riding Grace won the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix at the Indio Desert Circuit in California today, besting a field of 47 on a course designed by Danny Foster. Three riders were clean in the Jump-Off but Fenney was almost two seconds faster than her closest competitors--Mary Tyng on Baccarat and Will Simpson on El Campeon's Cayenne, who placed second and third respectively by fractions. Fenney said that when she walked the course she almost scratched. "I thought it was very technical and very hard. I didn't want to get Grace in any jams with this Sunday coming up. I thought, 'Should we take her or not?' Nothing bothers her so I figured it would be fine. She jumped it easy. When I ride that mare, she makes me feel like I can do whatever and go to the jumps." Fenney's win earned $7,500 for Grace's owner Hidden Lake Farm. The $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix was taped by JCR Sports Productions of Foothill Ranch, California, and will be televised next month. Air dates will be available at www.tvshowjumping.com.
The eight-obstacle Jump Off course included one double combination. Time Allowed was set at 52 seconds. Mary Tyng, 43, of Los Angeles, California, riding the 10-year-old Selle Francais stallion Baccarat, was second in the order of go and had the first clear round in 42.388 seconds. Tyng held the lead for three rounds but finished in second place, taking home $5,000 for owner China Blue Farm. Tyng said, "It was Baccarat's first start of this circuit and of this year. He was just jumping incredibly. My coach, Michel Vaillancourt, wanted me to do a double clear and quickly. We accomplished that so we're very happy."
Fenney was eighth in the order riding the 15.3-hand, nine-year old Thoroughbred mare, Grace, who was fast and clean in 38.639, snatching the lead from Tyng and keeping it for the win. Fenney said the key to her winning strategy in the Jump Off was, "Know what horse you're on and ride her like you know how to ride her. She's very fast and careful. I knew there were plenty of good people behind me. Richard Spooner was still behind me with two horses. I was going to try to win."
Will Simpson, 42, of Thousand Oaks, California, on the 10-year old bay Holsteiner El Campeon's Cayenne was the 11th rider on the short course and had the only other clear round in 42.599, just 0.211 seconds behind Tyng, placing him third for $3,500. "I thought about 38 seconds is what it would take to win today. I jumped the first fence just like I wanted. I went to turn to the left, my horse slipped and I thought, 'Wow, I'm lucky I didn't go down'. I kept right on the pace and slipped on the next track. I thought 'Wow, I'm really lucky I didn't go down, I guess I better slow down'. So that was the end of my winning ride right there. That's how fast it was. If you just pulled on the reins one time, you were off the mark. I won't pull on the reins on Sunday, I guarantee you that."
Richard Spooner, who has won three of the six Grand Prix classes at Indio this year, rode in the 12th and 13th slots and chased the leaders with Southshore in 39.067 and Robinson in 38.641, but had a rail with each of them. Robinson placed fourth for owner Half Moon Bay Investment Group, and Southshore was fifth for El Dorado 29.
Fenney, who's been riding since she was 12 years old and has competed at the Grand Prix level for almost 18 years, was partnered with Grace in July. The mare had experience in the Preliminaries in North Carolina, but this is her first season at Grand Prix. "She's probably won six or seven Grand Prix classes," said Fenney, who brought the mare to Indio with hopes of qualifying for the World Cup Final to be held in Goteborg, Sweden in April, but now feels out of contention. "We just haven't gotten in gear. This is the first class she's won at Indio." Fenney said that today's course was the most difficult of all the courses she's undertaken in two circuits here, but she was confident in her rapport with Grace. "I try to give her the best that I know how to do and she gives me her best."
$25,000 ARIAT GRAND PRIX, February 23, 2001
Indio Desert Circuit IV, Indio, California
Course Designer: Danny Foster
Pl# Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1/ Rd 2/Faults/J-O Time
1 Grace/Tracy Fenney/Hidden Lake Farm/$7,500/0/0/38.639
2 Baccarat/Mary Tyng/China Blue Farm/$5,000/0/0/42.388
3 El Campeon's Cayenne/Will Simpson/El Campeon Farms/$3,500/0/0/42.599
4 Robinson/Richard Spooner/Half Moon Bay Investment Group/$2,250/0/4/38.641
5 Southshore/Richard Spooner/Eldorado 29/$1,500/0/4/39.067
6 Fleur/Ray Texel/Beverly Hills Equestrian Park, LLC/$1,125/0/4/40.667
7 King Cavalier/Dehlia Oeuvray/Charles Burrus/$675/0/4/41.046
8 Sam Malone/Dick Carvin/Debbie & Jim Burrows/$725/0/4/44.070
9 Charmed/Ragan Roberts/Alex Dillard/$650/4/44.803
10 Rio Grande/Jenni Martin/Augustin Walch/$625/0/4/46.074
11 Native Code/Lu Thoma/Signe Ostby/$625/0/7/51.206
12 Stealth Sprenger/Rich Fellers/Harry & Mollie Chapman/$625/0/8/42.057
Number of horses who competed in this class: 47
Class Prize Money: $25,000
HITS Indio Desert 2001 Show Jumping Action Continues
Circuit IV February 21-25
Circuit V February 28-March 4
Circuit VI March 7-11
$25,000 Ariat Grand Prix Every Friday 1pm
$50,000 Rio Vista Grand PrixSunday, February 25 1pm
$50,000 HITS Grand PrixSunday, March 4 1pm
$50,000 East Meets West Hunter Challenge
Presented by The Chronicle of the Horse Sunday, March 11 8am
$150,000 Ford Grand Prix of the Desert Sunday, March 112pm
Special Day Events:
Heritage Palms Seniors Day
Presented by KESQ TV3 & Palm Springs Follies Sunday, March 4 11am-1pm
Fiesta Day p
resented by KUNA TV Sunday, March 1111am-1pm