Articles: Press Release
Gerona 92 and Mary Lisa Leffler Waltz Off With $50,000 HITS Grand Prix
Photo Credit: Gerona 92 and Mary Lisa Leffler, winners of $50,000 HITS
Ocala Grand Prix. Photo by Lili Weik Photography.
MEDIA CONTACT: Foncine Wood of Phelps Media Group, Inc. International at
(904) 742-4254 or at
Ocala, FL- March 7, 2006- Gerona 92, owned by Rolling Acres Farm Inc.,
and Mary Lisa Leffler, of Brookeville, Maryland, grabbed top prize in
the HITS IV Ocala Tournament $50,000 Grand Prix on an exceedingly
difficult course. Out of the thirty-eight riders to attempt the course
that Mr. Anthony A. D'Ambrosio set, Gerona 92 and Leffler were the only
pair to go double clear.
D'Ambrosio set the course with thirteen numbered obstacles including two
combinations, a triple with an oxer, vertical, vertical and a double, a
plank to an airy vertical set over a liverpool. D'Ambrosio gave the
riders a time allowed of eighty-six seconds. The scoring was under
Table A, Sec 2(a), Time First Jump-off. It was a Level 9 course and the
biggest obstacle was a brick wall that measured 5'2".
Mary Lisa Leffler spoke of the triple combination, "I was so glad I was
near the end. I walked the triple, and I was going to do five strides.
I stood on the side and watched the first three go. I thought it had to
be six with my step. The Thursday course had the same kind of thing -
oxer to vertical, vertical. I did the add step on Thursday. It worked
out for me."
The course proved quite difficult as the riders attempted to qualify for
the jump-off. Out of the thirty-eight riders attempting the course,
only two managed to go clean. Three riders finished with one time
fault, seven with four faults, and twenty-six with greater than four
Eighteen year old Lexy Reed, of Ocala, Florida, riding Ludwig, held the
lead through twenty-six riders with one time fault until Manuel Torres
on Chambacunero finally managed a clear round with no time faults.
Enterprise, owned by R A Francoeur, and ridden by Mark Jungherr of
Amesbury, Massachusetts, gave the crowd a thrill as they attempted to
get into the jump-off. They went clear but they, too, fell victim to
the clock and had one time fault.
Aaron Vale of Ocala, Florida, rode in on his third entry, Droxello,
owned by Hollow Creek Investments, to attempt to get into the jump-off.
They were looking good and managed a clear round but, once again, the
clock was the victor, as the pair ended with one time fault, bringing a
huge groan from the crowd.
It was beginning to look like Torres and his clear round might win
without a jump-off, but Mary Lisa Leffler and Gerona 92 rode the course
spectacularly, cleared all the jumps, and did it in the time allowed to
the loud cheers from the crowd. Finally, there was to be a jump-off.
Leffler commented, "The oxer number seven across the middle was so
square. If you didn't get straight to it, everyone was taking it down.
I was able to kick mine forward and support her face. So we made it
The jump-off was seven numbered obstacles with several tight turns and
the vertical -vertical of the combination. The time allowed was fifty
Torres and Chambacunero were very fast around the shortened course, but
they also had four rails down. They finished with sixteen faults and a
time of 46.897.
Leffler said, "I heard Manuel (Torres) drop the first rail, then the
second. I told my sister, 'OK, I'm going to go slow.'" She and Gerona
92 entered the jump-off riding carefully but still with pace. They
cleared all the obstacles and finished in the time allowed, bringing a
huge cheer from the crowd who had seen too many rails come down this
afternoon. Gerona 92 and Leffler had the only double clear and finished
the jump-off with a time of 49.748 to take home their first Grand Prix
win of the year.
Flushed and happy, Leffler shared, "I've been able to take third, but
this is my first win this year on this horse. I did a week in Palm
Beach to build her confidence. All of a sudden, she's gotten so broke.
This is the second time I've ridden her with a stick. She's so
sensitive. I can't wear spurs. I have to use everything I have with
her. I go to a trainer to build muscle so I can support her. She's
learning how to go fast; I always have to gallop. She has a lot of hang
time." Leffler added, "I've been working with Debbie Stephens. We've
been compacting her step."
Gerona 92 is an eleven year old that Leffler acquired just before coming
to Ocala last year. The pair plan to show two weeks of Tampa and
participate in the series in Kentucky.
Leffler has been coming to Ocala since 1994. She commented, "It's a
good start for the horses. The courses are tough. They are just as
tough as Palm Beach, but we don't get 104-15 entries. So it's a great
place to begin the year."
The HITS IV $50,000 Grand Prix is a member of the United States Grand
Prix League and the Marshall and Sterling League.
Official Results: $50,000 HITS Grand Prix Table A, Sec 2(a), Time First
1. Gerona 92, Mary Lisa Leffler, 0/0/49.748
Rolling Acres Farm
2. Chambacunero, Manuel Torres, 0/16/46.897
Ana Maria De Cadena
3. Ludwig, Lexy Reed, 1/86.076
4. Droxello, Aaron Vale, 1/86.305
Hollow Creek Investments
5. Enterprise, Mark Jungherr, 1/86.691
R A Francoeur
6. Shakira Do Jacare, Sergio Campos, 4/76.410
7. Loro Piana Gorgios, Erin McCabe,4/82.492
Gem Stables, Inc.
8. Naritas, Helen Goddard, 4/82.682
9. Polyfax, Roberto Teran, 4/83.907
10. Landintendant, Kylee Jo Johnson, 4/84.359
Derek and Anita Petersen
11. Shandor 41, Patty Stovel, 4/85.796
12. 747, Chuck Waters, 4/85.984
Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Waters