Thermal, CA – Keri Potter took her first step into the race to qualify for the Pfizer Million when she captured the blue ribbon aboard Rockford I in Sunday’s $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health at the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal, California.Potter (Del Mar, California) and her horse were tops among a class of 30 challengers that took aim at the top prize in Sunday’s feature class. International Course Designer Marina Azevedo set a challenging first-round course that saw only three horse-and-rider teams advance to the jump-off round where Potter and her horse won the blue.The accomplished equestrian owns Rockford I, who is 14, and has ridden him for the past six years, during which she has qualified for the FEI World Cup twice and won numerous Grand Prix events. Sunday’s victory adds another line to her impressive resume, which will hopefully soon include qualifying for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix that will take place at HITS-on-the-Hudson on September 12 in Saugerties, New York. “What a great opportunity for our horses and riders to be able to compete for such high stakes,” said Potter. “If I qualify, I will do my best to get there. HITS has given us something to look forward to.”Canadian John Anderson and his mount Terrific were second to show in the jump-off. The duo made it all the way home clean to establish the Great American Time to Beat at 43.592. However, Anderson knew that wouldn’t be fast enough and in the end had to settle for second place. “It was a tough course and just three were clean,” said Anderson. “In the jump-off I saw the first rider had eight faults so I wanted to take my time and go clear. It’s a six-week circuit and I did not want to push it. I left the door open for Keri and she took advantage of that to win the class.”Anderson and his 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood were second in both Grand Prix classes this week, giving him a total of more than $15,000 in prize money won so far at HITS Thermal. If he keeps up this pace, he should be in good shape to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix. “Saugerties is definitely on my mind,” said Anderson. “Having a big money Grand Prix and holding qualifiers for it is a great concept. I would certainly love to go to Saugerties and will be there unless I am on the Canadian Nations Cup Team at that time.”In the jump-off, Potter and Rockford I held the enviable last-to-go spot so they stepped on the gas coming home fast and clean crossing the timers in 41.593 to capture the first-place check of $15,000. John left the door open for me with a slightly conservative ride,” said Potter. “I knew that if I put the pedal to the metal my horse would be fast enough.”In order to qualify for the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, a rider must compete in eight or more HITS Grand Prix classes. The top 40 riders, based on money won by horse/rider combination, will be eligible to ride for the Pfizer Million. For more detailed information on the Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix, please visit our website at HitsShows.com. Horse Sport Enews We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. SIGN UP Email* Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business.