September 2, 2010: First Indoor Class of the California Season
On Thursday evening of the Showpark All Seasons Summer Classic Blenheim EquiSports hosted the $30,000 Showpark Jumper Classic, presented by Royal Champion. With 42 entries, the event served as a warm-up for Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier as well as an opportunity to ride in the first indoor class of the California season. Scored as a speed class, eight pairs went clean, but fastest of the night were the new match of Jill Humphrey and Tao Tao 3 (Alicia Jonsson Foster, owner). Second place went to Richard Spooner and his partner Ace (S&B LLC, owner) with Keri Potter and Rockford I rounding out the top three.
September 4, 2010: First World Cup Qualifier of the California Season
Twenty-nine horse and rider combinations were all business as they competed under the lights in the Del Mar Horse Park covered arena on Saturday night. With riders representing eight different countries vying for the top prize as well as points on the World Cup leader board in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark CSI-W, presented by EquiFit, inc., course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio had the task of building a course that tested both the scope of the horse and eye of the rider. Four jumped clean in the first round to earn a spot in the jump-off, but it was the talented couple of Percynality Mercedes Benz and Eduardo Menezes who clinched the win by delivering the only double clear performance of the evening.
D’Ambrosio presented the competitors with sixteen efforts. With some ‘delicate’ fences, D’Ambrosio wanted to test the accuracy of the entrants without too many demanding fences in a row. “I had one wide oxer in the triple combination and one in the double, but I didn’t have another difficult fence immediately follow either,” the American designer explained. Some riders lowered the height of the triple bar on course while others found trouble at various areas in the triple and double combinations, as well as fence 11, a daunting vertical jumped on a slight angle towards the grand stands.
As the ninth pair to make their entrance in the first round, Brazilian Menezes and his own Percynality Mercedes Benz jumped clean and forced a jump-off with second in the order and first to go clean, East Coast rider Michelle Spadone and her mount Melisimo (Morgan Hill Partners, owner). Later in the order, Susan Hutchison and the bay stallion Cantano (El Dorado 29, owner) delivered a fault-free performance to earn a spot in the second round as did 18-year-old Karl Cook aboard his second mount, Uno de Laubry (Signe Ostby, owner).
As the second rider to step up to the jump off challenge, Menezes knew he had to give it his all. “I had to be fast because Susie [Hutchison] and Karl [Cook] were behind me and they are quick,” the winner said. Jumping around clean in 36.87, Menezes clearly delivered as neither Hutchison nor Cook were fault-free. After having finished second in his share of grand prix events this season, Menezes was particularly happy. “When I felt him in the warm-up ring, I knew he was feeling great,” Menezes said of his 13-year-old partner.
Finishing second was the California hotshot Cook and Uno de Laubry. The young rider completed the jump-off track with four faults, lowering the height of an early fence on the track, in a final time of 37.65. First to return to the shortened track, Spadone and Melisimo also had four faults in 38.77 for a third place finish. Picking up fourth place, Hutchison and Cantano had a great time of 36.78 but dislodged two rails for eight faults.