On April 8, HITS announced a third $1 million grand prix class, this one in Ocala, Fla. The Ocala $1 Million Grand Prix, to be held next March, will join the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, N.Y., and the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix in Thermal, Calif., to form the Triple Crown Challenge of Show Jumping.
The Ocala $1 Million Grand Prix will take place at the conclusion of the 10-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. HITS Post Time Farm will soon start construction on a new jumping field to host the event.
The AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix will begin the Triple Crown Challenge next year on March 16. The Ocala Million will premiere one week later. The final leg will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson in September.
“As a country, we are only as good as our horses and riders, and these classes are raising that bar,” said McLain Ward, two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time winner of the Saugerties Million.
If one horse-and-rider combination wins the Triple Crown Challenge, HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri plans to offer a rider bonus. “There is no better way to reward our customers than to continue offering big-money classes,” said Struzzieri. “I can’t imagine how electric Saugerties will be if someone has a chance for the Triple Crown going into championship weekend at HITS-on-the-Hudson.”