Tracy Fenney and MTM Apple Take Home $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix Victory
One of Equifest II’s highlight events, the $25,000 Purina Welcome Grand Prix, kicked off on Thursday afternoon in Lamplight’s Grand Prix Arena. Drawing a field of 41 talented equestrian athletes, the Welcome saw riders pull out all the stops in an effort to end the class at the top of the leaderboard. After an exciting jump-off round, it was Tracy Fenney and MTM Apple who took home the top prize.
The course, designed by Leopoldo Palacias, featured several rollbacks and challenging combinations that kept horses and riders on their toes, all while keeping up a quick pace to avoid any time penalties. Just second to go in the order, Fenney and MTM Apple, owned by MTM Farm, set a good example with a brisk, clear round. Several horse-and-rider combinations who followed found the course to be a test of their skills, and had rails or time penalties in the first round.
“The time-allowed was extremely tight in the course,” comments Fenney. ” I went super fast on Apple but on my other horses I realized I was going to be in trouble because Apple is a fast horse and the others are slower. In the jump-off I figured I just needed to do what I could. There were eight great riders behind me and everyone rides fast so I didn’t have much choice but to give it my all. I think I gained the most time to the last jump. I saw the distance so far away and every stride I was able to build where Dory (Dorothy Douglas) had to balance up once to it.”
The second pair to go clear was Ryan Michael Genn and Dieta, owned by Taylor Blackman. Emulating Fenney’s round, Genn piloted the mare around a fault-free course within the time-allowed to ensure a jump-off. Nine total combinations added their names to the jump-off list, including Stefanie Collier riding Emma-Lee, Dorothy Douglas riding MTM Through the Looking Glass and Steve Schaeffer riding Valinski S.
Also comprised of rollbacks and combinations, the jump-off course required technical skills but also allowed riders a place to open up and gallop to the last line of fences. Fenney and MTM Apple were the first to re-enter the arena for the jump-off, taking great care to leave all fences up and turn up the speed for a finish in just 31.754 seconds. Genn and Dieta were up next with their sights set on beating Fenney’s quick time. The pair successfully rode a clear course, but were not able to set a new time-to-beat, finishing in 32.216 seconds.
Fenney and Genn held the top two positions in the class until Douglas rode MTM Through the Looking Glass back into the arena. Riding an accurate and speedy course, Douglas crossed the finish line in 31.874 seconds, replacing Genn in second place but finishing just shy of Fenney’s leading time. Fenney and MTM Apple remained at the top of the leaderboard to take the win, a first-time grand prix victory for the eight-year-old gelding. Douglas and MTM Through the Looking Glass took home the class’ second place prize, while Genn and Dieta finished in third place.