Historic HITS Balmoral Park Shows Versatility
Lisa Goldman and Hindsight earned their place in the winner's circle for the $35,000 HITS Grand Prix at Balmoral Park, pictured with her Red Coat Farm support team. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography.
Crete, IL – May 20, 2017 – Wrapping up the second official week of showing, the new HITS Balmoral Park is in full swing, definitely showing the versatility of the venue by hosting three horse shows on the property. Once a thriving thoroughbred racetrack converted to a harness racing track in 1991, the facility has once again been renovated and revived thanks to HITS. Showplace Productions hosted a Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association (NIHJA) local show, an Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Show (IHJA) local B show and the Showplace Spring Classic II national horse show on the spacious grounds.
“The atmosphere is great,” said show manager Patrick Boyle. “The local riders get to feel a part of the big event and get to show on the same grounds as the big grand prix riders. It’s good for the grass roots riders to see the big hunter derbies and the grand prixs that they normally don’t get to see. The vendors love the extra business and the grandstand area is full of activity. We can host corporate Preakness parties and live stream the race – it’s a really versatile venue with room for everyone.”
Jennifer Welhouse, Poynette, Wisconsin, and her customers show on both the A and B circuits and support moving riders up the ranks as they are able to. She won the ChicagoEquestrian.com Hunter Derby at the IHJA B show this weekend on Christine White's Prettiest Iron Yet. A 2’6” fence height allows riders to experience a derby at their level and then move on to the Devoucoux and USHJA National Hunter Derbies.
Jennifer Welhouse and Prettiest Iron Yet won the Chicago Equestrian Hunter Derby during the IHJA B show held at Balmoral Park. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography.
"She's a five-year-old quarter horse mare and this was her first hunter show," said Welhouse. "We didn't do her in the baby green division because it was really cold and windy on Friday but we wanted her to show so we just decided to take a swing. She went in there like, 'I got this' and was amazing. These derbies are great and we enjoy doing them. We’ve had a blast here! This place is amazing and the kids have had a great time checking it out and watching the jumper ring.”
Perfecta Farm, Elgin, Illinois, and trainers Kim Gardiner and Mara Kranz-Olseng had riders at both the A and B shows as well. Perfecta Farm caters to riders of all levels and was glad to have the chance to bring everyone to the show.
Young riders check out the track conditions at the new Balmoral Park.
“For our first week here at Balmoral it was an exciting experience for all of our riders both A and B,” commented Kranz-Olseng. “It was nice to have such a great place for our B customers to show while having our A customers also. Our B riders cheered for the A riders and A riders helped out the B riders, plus everyone got a chance to see this huge new show facility.”
The grandstand was a flurry of activity as well, packed with equestrian vendors, food vendors, a full bar and VIP seating and hospitality with a front row seat to the Grand Prix Ring.
Grand Prix Ring
The feature event in the Grand Prix ring was the $35,000 HITS Grand Prix, displaying another eye-catching track by designer Oscar Soberon. Spectators and eager young riders watched hometown favorite, Lisa Goldman, speed to victory on the mount she toured Europe with, Hindsight. Stopping the clock at 35 seconds flat, Goldman was tough to catch as she showcased her trademark jump off gallop.
Lisa Goldman and Hindsight galloped to victory in the $35,000 HITS Grand Prix.
"We're really loving it here," said Goldman. "We changed some of our plans to stay and continue to show here. The horses like it here and are happy which is good for everyone."
Steve Schaefer and Caribe have earned top placings in the Grand Prix Ring during Balmoral's opening weeks.
Chicago’s Steve Schaefer, known for his fast jump off skills, was the only rider to get close to catching Goldman and Hindsight, with his time of 36.650 on his trusty Caribe, beating out Goldman and Centurion B's 36.690, by fractions of a second for the red ribbon.
Doug Boyd, Mettawa, Illinois, and Sapphire Riding Academy’s Berkley III put in the final double clear round for fourth, tripping the timers at 38.870. Boyd, who also shows at HITS Ocala during the winter, plans to stay at Balmoral Park for the summer.
Doug Boyd and Berkley III plan to stay at HITS Balmoral for the season. Photo Chicago Equestrian.
“I had a very hard rub at last jump in the first round! Thankfully, it stayed in the cups!” remarked Boyd. “Berkley was very good! I chose a more conservative path to ensure a clean round in the jump off. Lisa [Goldman] and Steve [Schaefer] were both so quick that I would've had to leave a stride out in the last line and risk having the vertical down, to beat them. I was pleased with the outcome and Berkley jumped well!”
Pat Boyle presents to William Hickey and Show Show for the win in the $2,500 GhoDho U25 Jumper Classic. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Earning the $2,500 GhoDho U25 Jumper Classic was William Hickey on Alex Jayne’s Show Show. GhoDho creates runway worthy, city inspired and everyday wearable breeches and shirts and supports the U25 at Balmoral Park.
On This Day in History
This racing form dated May 20, 1957 was discovered in the Balmoral Park archives with the results of the Preakness with the win going to Bold Ruler, owned by the Phipps family. Bold Ruler went on to sire not only top race horses, but also top hunters and jumpers. The Phipps' were major players in the horse industry including Ogden Phipps, who lost the colt Secretariat (out of Bold Ruler) to Penny Tweedy in a coin toss, only to later buy in as a partner before his triple crown win. Bold Ruler hunters were known to be a bit unpredictable in personality and would either win big or go home empty handed after pulling a prank at the horse shows. Many local horsemen purchased race horses from the Balmoral Park stables and turned them into successful show horses.
Competition continues next week for the Showplace Spring Classic III followed by one of Chicagoland's favorite horse show series, the Showplace Spring Spectacular for three weeks including the incredible Derby Tuesday!
For more results or prize lists and schedules, visit www.hitsshows.com.
420. $35,000 HITS Grand Prix
result horse / owner rider
Lisa Goldman Lisa Goldman
Steve Schaefer Steve Schaefer
3 Centurion B
Mary Goldman Lisa Goldman
4 Berkley III
Sapphire Riding Academy Douglas Boyd
5 Show Show
Alex Jayne WIlliam Hickey
Katie Leverick Katie Leverick
7 Zanta Fee Van T Hofterrijckel
Annabella Sanchez Annabella Sanchez
Barbara Disko Lisa Goldman
9 CASSANO Z
Annabella Sanchez Annabella Sanchez
Benchmark Stables, LLC Liz Atkins
Annabella Sanchez Annabella Sanchez
12 Esquilino Bay
Bellis LTD Caelinn Leahy
About HITS Balmoral Park
HITS purchased the historic Balmoral Park Race Track in 2016 after harness racing ended in December of 2015. The property has a long history dating back to 1925, hosting famous race horses such as triple crown winner, Whirlaway, and the country's top jockeys such as Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Jr, and Julie Krone. In 1991, the track became Chicago's premiere harness racing track.
HITS has renovated the venue to add 9 show rings and adjacent warm-up rings with all weather footing and completely updated 23 barns with brand new stalls and rubber mats, while keeping the history of the park alive. The climate controlled grandstand offers space for spectators, vendors, VIP and corporate seating.
Partnering with Pat Boyle and Showplace Productions, the 13 week show series offers world class show jumping in the Midwest, featuring USHJA International and National Hunter Derbies, FEI classes and the USHJA Children's Adult Jumper Championships. HITS offers $15 million in prize money annually through all of its venues including Ocala, Saugerties, Thermal and Culpeper.
For more information visit www.hitsshows.com.