The HITS Million Grand Prix Series is the jewel in the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS) crown.
Three events across the USA. Three unique million dollar grand prix classes. Three chances to claim one of the biggests purses in show jumping.
As of Sunday, USA’s Beezie Madden has won all of them. And it wasn’t it even close.
Our story begins in 2015.
Aboard her iconic mount Simon, Madden was one of 41 competitors to contest the Canadian Pacific $1 Million Grand Prix CSI 5* at HITS Saugerities, NY. At the time, she said the Steve Stephens designed course was as difficult as they come:
“This is about as hard as it gets other than the Olympics or World Championships,” revealed the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
It was so difficult, in fact, Madden and the KWPN gelding were the only combination to master it. They took home the win with a clear in the first round.
“Simon went beautifully. The round went pretty much exactly as I wanted it to and he tried his heart out. I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Madden after her victory. “I’ve had him for three years and that was one of our best rounds ever.”
Fast forward to March 2018.
Riding the German-bred gelding Coach, Madden captured her second HITS Million Dollar Grand Prix title, the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Ocala, FL. And it was a decisive win at that. The pair topped a five-horse jump off by shaving almost two seconds off the time of runner ups Lillie Keenan and Supesox. (Madden crossed the timers in 44.48 seconds; Keenan, 46.23.)
“I was really happy with how the horse went. I thought the course really suited him. I have high hopes for him,” said the two-time World Cup Final champion after the class. “Everything fell into place really nicely and I had a great support team behind me.”
Last weekend in Thermal, CA, Madden completed the trifecta.
This time is was Dary Lou who answered the call. Competing against a field of 56, she and 11-year-old KWPN stallion posted the fasted clear in a six-horse jump off to take the victory in the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Thermal Desert Park in California.
“I went second in the jump-off, and I was able to watch one go,” Madden told Chronicle of the Horse.
“I knew I had really fast ones behind me with these guys, so I wanted to really lay one down. I think actually in hindsight I could have been beaten up the first line. I chickened out a little on leaving a stride out there, but I think I was quite fast everywhere else, so people had to take a risk to try to beat me.”
Four more combinations would try, but none could catch their time. (What that time was, we couldn’t tell you. That information is not included on the official HITS results page.)
We can tell you this: With a $350,000 check going to the winner, Madden hasn’t just won the HITS Million—she’s taken home over a million in HITS prize money.