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Ian Milllar And Promise Me Win The $50,000 EMO Grand Prix At HITS Ocala Winter Circuit

OCALA, FL (February 16, 2004)—Seven-time Olympic veteran, Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario, rode Promise Me to the blue ribbon in Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Millar was the faster of two double-clears in a seven-horse jump-off, managing to shave over a second off Harold Chopping's double-clear ride on Kathleen 16, owned by Silver Oak Stables. Aaron Vale, holder of the record for the most Grand Prix wins in a single year, had the second fastest time aboard Quendo, owned by Town Creek Investment, but an unlucky rail left him in third place. Ian Millar also qualified In Style, owned by Susan Grange & Lothlorien Farm, for the jump-off, delivering a four-fault performance that gave them fourth place. Millar and In Style were the winners of the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix during the first week of the circuit.

Course designer Javier Hernandez of Guadalajara, Mexico, built a 12-obstacle first round course that included a triple at Fence No. 4, and a double at Fence No. 10. The time allowed was set at 77 seconds. Of the thirty-two starters, only seven horses advanced to Hernandez' seven-element short course. The time allowed was set at 56 seconds.

Harold Chopping and Kathleen 16 were first to attempt the jump-off course, leaving all the rails up in a time of 48.04 seconds. Ian Millar and Promise Me matched Chopping's clear round, while shaving 1.25 seconds of his time to win the competition. There were no other clear rounds amongst the remaining five horses. The crowd pinned their hopes on Derek Peterson from Archer, Florida, the last to go in the jump-off. The Floridian was cheered on in the hopes of his upsetting Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, but it was not to be. Despite his blazing fast time, the fastest in the jump-off, Peterson accumulated 8 faults.

The $50,000 EMO Grand Prix showcased the talents of an Olympic pair in the making. After the competition, Ian Millar stated, “if I am given the nod to ride for Canada in the Olympics, this is the horse I will take.” “Promise Me is a 10-year old Dutch Warmblood that I got from the Hendricks Brothers in Holland, said Millar. He was originally owned in part by [fellow Canadian] Marni Von Schalburg who frequently showed here in Ocala. The Hendricks brothers always kept a part-ownership position, but when Marni decided to sell her interest in the horse, Andre Hendricks called me and said Get on a plane.' I flew to Holland and tried the horse out and said right then give me a week.' A week later I had assembled a Baker's Dozen' of investors and we bought the horse. I have been buying horses from the Hendricks Brothers for the past 21 years and have had great luck with them, starting with Big Ben.”

Asked about his horse's name, Millar answered, “His name comes from a line in a Lee Ann Womack song: Promise me you'll give faith a chance'I bought him on faith and I gave him a chance.”

The Millars are regular competitors at the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit, and call Ocala their winter home. “My family and I arrive December 15th and we have our Christmas here rather than up north in the snow,” said Ian Millar. “Now that my son and daughter work with us we can all be together here. I am a great fan of Team Struzzieri. He knows the sport and he knows the business. Lots of show managers know one or the other, but he knows both. Ocala offers us a great opportunity to train our students.”
Other major award winners at HITS Ocala I included:
HBO Junior Medal Winner - Michelle Ahmann, Southlake, TX
Charles Owen Children's Medal Winner - Sammy Horowitz, Huntington Valley, PA
Charles Owen Adult Medal Winner - Deirdre Catani, Duxbury, MA
Bayer Legend Leading Hunter Rider - Jennifer Alfano, Buffalo, NY
Bayer Legend Leading Jumper Rider - Aaron Vale, Aiken, SC

The next Grand Prix event of the Ocala Winter Circuit will take place on Thursday, February 19th at 1:00pm. Spectators will enjoy world-class show jumping competition as riders compete for top honors in the $25,000 Peterson & Smith Grand Prix.

$50,000 EMO Grand Prix - Sunday, February 15, 2004
HITS Ocala I - Ocala, FL
Course Designer: Javier Hernandez, Guadalajara, Mexico

Place Horse Rider Owner Prize Money Rd1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1st Promise Me Ian Millar Millar Brook Farm $15,000 0 0 46.79
2nd Kathleen 16 Harold Chopping Silver Oak Stables $11,000 0 0 48.04
3rd Quendo Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $6,500 0 4 47.13
4th In Style Ian Millar Susan Grange / Lothlorien Farm $4,000 0 4 48.53
5th Promised Land Derek Petersen Derek / Anita Peterson $3,000 0 8 46.14
6th Cybella Mac Cone Southern Ways $2,500 0 8 48.22
7th Neander Andre Thieme Redfield Farm LLC $2,000 0 8 49.56
8th Kartousch Mary Lisa Leffler Rolling Acres / McLain Ward $1,500 1
9th Karat Jonathon Millar Johnathon Millar $1,500 4
10th Cortino Aaron Vale Town Creek Investment $1,000 4
11th Melinda Mac Cone Southern Ways $1,000 4
12th Pop Socks Aaron Vale Temecula Valley Eq Center $1,000 5

Ocala Winter Festival II - February 18-22
Ocala Masters III - February 25-29
Ocala Tournament IV - March 3-7
Ocala Winter Finals V - March 10-14

$25,000 Peterson & Smith Grand Prix - Thursday, February 19 at 1:00pm
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, February 22 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, February 26 at 1:00pm
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, February 29 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, March 4 at 1:00pm
$50,000 HITS Grand Prix - Sunday, March 7 at 1:00pm
$25,000 HITS Grand Prix - Thursday, March 11 at 1:00pm
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Junior / Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic - Sunday, March 14 at 10:00am
$25,000 Marshall & Sterling Child / Adult Jumper Classic Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 noon
$100,000 King Shavings Grand Prix of Ocala presented by Great American Insurance Group - Sunday, March 14 at 2:00pm

Kids Day presented by Cox Communications - Sunday, February 29
Grand Finale - Sunday, March 14
Champions of the Week Presentations are held on Sundays prior to the 1:00pm Grand Prix.



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