Ainsley Vince and Catch 22 Best Four Olympians to Win $100,000 EMO Grand Prix at HITS Catskills

May 27, 2001 – Ellenville, NY –  Ainsley Vince, 24, of Milton, Ontario, Canada, riding Catch 22 out-jumped a field of 42 horses to win the $100,000 EMO Grand Prix today at HITS Catskills in Ellenville, New York. "It was a bit of an intimidating field to walk into," said Vince, referring to the start order that included four Olympians-Margie Engle, Nona Garson, Todd Minikus, and Eric LaMaze. Vince has represented Canada twice, including at the World Cup in Las Vegas last year, and has competed against some of these show jumping superstars before. Going into the jump-off today, she said she'd hoped for a clear round and sixth place, but she finished more than two seconds faster than her closest competitor, second place Jeffery Welles on Riviera. "I never realized my horse was that fast," said Vince. Catch 22, owned by Vince and Trinity Farm earned $30,000 for today's win. Catch 22 is an 11-year-old Dutch warmblood that Vince bought seven years ago. "He's my pet. S&L Farms originally imported him and Riviera. McLain Ward had him and we purchased him from McLain," said Vince who trained Catch 22 to Grand Prix and began showing him at that level in 1998. "He's my baby. I love him."

Course Designer Paul Duffy of Claregalway, Ireland, built a 13-jump Round One that included a triple at Fence No. 6, water at Fence No. 10, and a double at Fence. No. 12. Time Allowed was set at 93 seconds. Two horses were eliminated; one rider retired on course; and 17 riders had clear rounds and moved on to the Jump-Off.

For the short course, Duffy built seven jumps including a double and set Time Allowed at 49 seconds. The first rider on course, Eric LaMaze of Schomberg, Canada, set the pace with a clear round in 45.573 on Millcreek Raphael, but ended up in fifth place, taking home $6,000 for owner Millcreek Stable. Jeffery Welles of Ridgefield, Connecticut, was third to go and took the lead with a clear round in 43.086 on Riviera. Thirteen horses followed Welles, and though three more riders put in clear rounds, no one could catch his time. LaMaze came back for a second trip riding Rosina for Stoney Hill and was clear in 44.192 which was good enough for third place and $12,000. Margie Engle of West Palm Beach, Florida, qualified three horses for the jump-off and was clear with Hidden Creek's Laurel, in 45.201 for fourth place and $8,000. Lynne Little of Frederick, Maryland, who had two horses in the jump-off, had a clean round with Ransom in 45.713, finishing in sixth place and earning $5,000 for owner Alex Carl. But it was the last rider on course, Ainsley Vince, on Catch 22, who exceeded her own expectations and galloped home in 41.824 for the win. Welles had to settle for second place and $20,000 for Riviera's owner Gotham Enterprises.

"I didn't think there was any way on earth that I'd be able to catch him," said Vince. This was the first big class she had competed Catch 22 in since last summer when he was sidelined with an injury. "For me [Round One] looked very big.” Vince watched most of the 40 rides before her. “I had to sit through the whole class and agonize about how this was really big for me today. I watched a lot of riders and made my game plan and fortunately the game plan that I made worked out.” Before going into the jump-off, Vince had 35 minutes to watch the rides before her and had settled on her second plan of the day: “Go in the ring and jump smooth, hopefully clean, maybe four faults, maybe get sixth.” But she also took some advice from trainer Darren Graziano. “Before I went in Darren kept telling me, ‘be smooth and neat, be smooth and neat-the horse is fast, he’ll help you out.’ He really did. He’s a naturally fast horse. He’s quick through the air and he’s quick to turn.” Still, Vince did not realize that she’d won when she crossed the timers. “They were going crazy but I didn’t know and I turned around and looked [at the clock] and it said '41'. I was so excited." Vince said that having so many riders in the jump-off made it "spectacular" because it went so fast. "They were fantastic horses today," she said. "There were fantastic riders and I think everybody was good."

Today's win was also significant to Vince because it is her first win as an independent rider. "My career's a little up in the air right now. I'm on my own and not really working for anybody. It's a bit scary. I worked for Eric LaMaze for eight years." She also worked for U.S. Olympian Laura Kraut before the Olympic Games in Sydney last year. "She is absolutely wonderful. I couldn't have asked for anybody better to work for. But because I have to do some of my World Cup [qualifiers] and my team trials [for Canada], and she was having absolutely her best summer, we had to go our separate ways." This was Vince's first trip to HITS Catskills. She came on Graziano's recommendation. "He operates a stable in New Jersey, and he comes to this horse show. He said that the footing was fantastic," she relayed, adding, "And the money. We thought we'd give it a shot."

Course Designer Paul Duffy commented, "I got too many [in the Jump-Off]. But it was a hard one in the end. That was fair play to the young woman that won it. There were a lot of big stars there and she took them all on and it didn't intimidate her. She won a good class. She's a good, good girl, I'll tell you that. She has a future. I'm delighted for her because it was hard. There were quite a few good pilots that couldn't get there. She came in and just sailed through it."

$100,000 EMO Grand Prix, May 27, 2001
HITS Catskills, Ellenville, New York
Course Designer: Paul Duffy
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults & Time
1/Catch 22/Ainsley Vince/Trinity Farm/A. Vince/$30,000/0-0-/41.824
2/Riviera/Jeffery Welles/Gotham Enterprises/$20,000/0-0/43.086
3/Rosina/Eric LaMaze/Stoney Hill/$12,000/0-0/$12,000/0-0/44.192
4/Hidden Creek's Laurel/Margie Engle/Hidden Creek Farm/$8,000/0-0/45.201
5/Millcreek Raphael/Eric LaMaze/Millcreek Stable/$6,000/0-0/45.573
6/Ransom/Lynne Little/Alex Carl/$5,000/0-0-45.713
7/Charmed/Ragan Roberts/Alex Dillard/$4,000/0-4/45.729
8/Diamond Gogo/Misti Cassar/M. Casar/$3,000/0-4/46.576
9/Hidden Creek's Peron/Margie Engle/Hidden Creek Farm/$3,000/0-4/48.010
10/Samoens/Kimberly Frey/Katherine Miracle & Overlook Farm/$2,000/0-5/49.626
11/Beneton/McLain Ward/McLain Ward/$2,000/0-6/50.209
12/Innocence/Beezie Madden/Allan Shore Jr/$2,000/0-8/42.852
13/Bergerac/Kimberly Frey/Katherine Miracle& Overlook Farm/0-8/44.892
14/Landman/Lynne Little/Raylyn Farm/Marilyn Little/$1,500/0-8/52.099

Number of horses who competed in this class: 42
Class Prize Money: $100,000