April 2019 - A Million Dollar Day


Three-time Million Dollar winner Beezie Madden tops two-timer Nayel Nassar in exciting end to HITS Coachella Circuit.

photos: Wendy Gleason/Malibu5starnaturals.com

The seventh annual AIG $1 Million Grand Prix served as an exciting finalé for the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit. Staged on a beautiful day, Sunday March 17, the big money class drew its typical field of high-performance riders from across the country and around the world. The best of those, four-time Olympic medalist and two-time World Cup champion Beezie Madden made her trip from the East Coast worthwhile by riding Darry Lou to top honors and the $350,000 prize.


Beezie and Darry Lou lead the victory gallop, with Nayel Nassar and Lordan decked out in red ribbons behind.

“He’s a really sweet horse and in a way he is kind of cocky because he is so easy going and doesn’t get ruffled by anything,” Madden stated. “I have to try to fire him up a little bit and he seems to respond to that really well. He lulls you into going around like a hunter, but when I energize him a little bit he gets more spark,” she added.

Commenting on what was the 20th HITS Million Grand Prix in total, HITS president and CEO Tom Struzzieri said, “It’s great when our horse show can attract such top riders, so we are proud of that, and I am proud of my whole HITS team. I thought today was great sport,”

Familiar faves: Nayel Nassar & Lordan jumped to second.

It was Beezie’s third Million Dollar win, and she had to beat two-time HITS Million-aire Nayel Nassar and Lordan to do it, no easy feat even for an Olympian. “Honestly, this feels like a win to me, there is no shame in losing to Beezie,” said Nassar. “Lordan feels great, he’s 15 and is still jumping fresh, so I am just really happy about that and I am looking forward to Ocala next week.”

Canada’s Ali Ramsay was third aboard Hermelien Vd Hooghoeve

Canadian up and comer Ali Ramsay finished third aboard Hermelien VD Hooghoeve. Ramsay has spent her winter at the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit. “I think it takes a lot of planning to try to peak this last week and I think we did a pretty nice job of hitting the weeks that we had to. My mare only jumped Sundays, she never jumped the Friday class, and I was able to do just the right amount that she was trying to buck me off in the warm-up ring so she was still nice and fresh,” said Ramsay.

Erynn Ballard and Fellini S, Rowan Willis and Blue Movie and Andre Thieme and Aretino finished fourth, fifth and sixth.

Erynn Ballard and Fellini S flew to a fourth-place finish.

Rowan Willis and Blue Movie were fifth.

Sixth-place finishers Andre Thieme and Aretino 13.