JUMPIN’ JULY, AWESOME AUGUST AND SUPER SEPTEMBER…
July was superb from the intimate setting of our inaugural Surf & Turf Classic at Blenheim Farms to the series of July shows at Showpark in Del Mar. We eased into August by wrapping up at Showpark and heading north to the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano for two weeks, where we welcomed the USEF Junior Hunter Finals, West Coast and more. The grass field was all dressed up for the occasion and we congratulate all who had the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event.
The much anticipated indoor and medal finals season is passing quickly. We opened it with the CPHA hosting their first equitation final for juniors and amateurs in the Blenheim Covered Arena. Kicking off a slew of medal finals throughout northern and southern California, including the CPHA Foundation Finals for three age groups down in Del Mar and the ASPCA Regional Finals back at the Blenheim Covered Arena, we offer ample opportunity for year-end goals as well as preparation for those heading east for Indoors.
Speaking of indoors, World Cup Qualifiers are in full swing. We are pleased to host three $50,000 CSI-W events in three locations, Del Mar, San Juan Capistrano and Las Vegas.
We look forward to seeing show jumpers, hunters and medal finalists in Las Vegas this November. The schedule includes the inaugural North American League Finals (NAL) for five divisions, the PCHA Adult Equitation Medal Finals and FEI classes on Thursday and Saturday as well as a $20,000 1.35M Speed Classic on Wednesday and a $10,000 Winning Round class also on Saturday.
The flavor of the season was certainly in good taste, not just with the competition but socially as well. From Mardi Gras to Casino Nights to Elegant Evenings, the mix of good sport and good fun was prevalent this year. Look for the Socially Speaking details below.
SURF & TURF TO SHOWPARK TO SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – THE $175,000 HIGHLIGHTS
Starting with a weekend of jumper classes at Blenheim Farms and ending with the $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix, we hosted some hot as well as some cool competition.
Show Jumping Fun For Everyone
Pleased with the turnout we had for our inaugural weekend show at Blenheim Farms, Course designer Robert Ridland set some great tracks – the show jumping was super. Virgo with Eduardo Sanchez Navarro aboard won the highlight $15,000 1.45M Jumper Classic but we would like to thank and congratulate all who participated in the Surf & Turf Classic.
Showpark Series Week One: Classic Classics
From low to high, hunter and jumpers, the Showpark Summer Festival classics were competitive. The highlight $20,000 1.40M Jumper Classic welcomed thirty-five entries. With fourteen in the jump-off, the second round was a race to the finish. Nine of the fourteen were split amongst three riders. Michelle Parker returned on all four of her mounts – Socrates De Midos, Reina, Soloman’s Pride and Xei Ha – Jaime Azcarraga also qualified each of his three mounts – Zalerno, Gangster and Matador, plus John Perez came back on two – Utopia and Arezzo. Five went double clean, Perez and Utopia held the lead at 31.01 until close to the end when Azcarraga on Matador slipped in at 30.74 for the win.
Showpark Series Week Two: An Azcarraga Extravaganza!
An impressive 1.50M track set by Canadian Michel Vallaincourt tested thirty-four horse and rider combinations representing six countries in the $30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by Royal Champion. Eleven pairs answered the questions asked on course and qualified for the jump-off. Of the eleven, four were in the Azcarraga family, including once again every entry Jaime Azcarraga entered – Gangster, Matador and Celsius – and son Gonzalo Azcarraga on Richard Cimble.
Vallaincourt’s course was a solid 1.50M, with scope and distance tests. Knowing he had varying levels of experience in the lineup, the designer was careful to set elements that would challenge but not overwhelm the group. He remarked, “When I set a course I try to have a good balance by not asking the same questions. I knew I had top horses, so I stayed quite stout, but everything is approachable.”
With five double clean performances, it was young Gonzalo Azcarraga and his bay mount Richard Cimble who mastered the fastest time. When asked if he had ever beaten his father before, the twenty-year-old equestrian stated, “Not in a grand prix.”
Proud of his prodigy, Jaime Azcarraga commented, “Eleven riders tried to do it but he went fastest.” Picking up second, third and ninth, plus keeping the win in the family, it was an Azcarraga extravaganza.
High Performing Hunters
On a Hunter Derby note, Davlyn Farm’s Come Monday with Christa Endicott piloting won the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Simply lovely to watch, the talented mare handled all the course challenges for a well-deserved win in a field of twenty-nine competitors. Showing her skill, junior rider Ashley Pryde on Truly took second.
Showpark Series Week Three: Can’t Catch Cantano!
Twenty-eight couples took the test set by Catalina ‘Catsy’ Cruz of Monterrey, Mexico in the $30,000 August Festival Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc. Right from the start she combined turns with forward distances, then halfway through riders had to collect to the triple combination, the cause of quite a few rails on course. Her first time designing in coastal California, Cruz commented with a smile “The field is good with good footing. I would like to return, for certain. I hope they want me back.”
With four to ride, Californian Kirsten Coe qualified three of Ilan Ferder’s horses for the jump-off, Baronez, Tristan and Vernon G. Mexican Jaime Azcarraga’s Gangster and Celsius were clean in round one. Add Californians Rusty Stewart on Bristol (owned by Grey Fox Farm), Susan Hutchison aboard Cantano (owner at time, El Dorado 29) and Michelle Parker with Tula Pinnella’s Xei Ha to the five qualified by Coe and Azcarraga for eight to return in the jump-off.
The race was on for the win. First and last to return, Coe and Baronez had four faults and eight faults on Vernon G. Choosing not to jump-off on Tristan, he automatically ended eighth. Next Azcarraga on Gangster posted the first double clear in 39.031, taking the lead for a short while. Stewart and Bristol had a miscommunication at the second to last fence and crashed through, but galloped on to complete the round with just four faults. Known for speed, Hutchison piloted Cantano to a fault free and fast 36.43, securing the number one spot. Parker put in a gallant effort on Xei Ha, stopping the clock in 39.032, just .001 seconds slower than Azcarraga with Gangster, which ultimately placed Gangster third and Parker fourth. Determined to catch Cantano, Azcarraga returned on Celsius. Double clear in 36.59, a mere .14 seconds behind Hutchison, Azcarraga settled for second place.
With post victory exuberance, Hutchison spoke proudly of her sponsors. “My most prized possession is my beautiful new Allon huntcoat, it even has my name in it. I have on my Der Dau boots. Cantano wore his Fleeceworks pad and his EquiFit boots, which he loves. I truly appreciate and send all a big thanks to all the sponsors.”
Blenheim Summer Classic I: A Lark For Clarke
The $25,000 Blenheim Summer Classic I Grand Prix welcomed a small but mighty group onto the International Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Course designer Jack Robson built a straightforward track with just enough questions to challenge the field, narrowing down the jump-off round to four couples. Of those four, 25-year-old Australian Lane Clarke piloted three. The young Aussie rode all three mounts double clear and took home the top prize by delivering the fastest double clean round of the day aboard the nine-year-old chestnut mare Semira De Saulieu, owned by Charlotte Gadbois.
The jump-off just got better and better with each ride. Clarke returned first on Mickey Hayden’s McLord’s First John, with a neat and efficient ride in 42.82. The only other rider to join Clarke in the second round was Jenni Martin McAllister aboard Glados (owned by Marnco). Galloping in next, she shaved just over a second off Clarke’s time, double clean in 41.64. Shortly after, Clarke was ready to give it a go on Granville’s Casseur De Prix. Stopping the clock at 40.80, he not only beat his own time by two seconds, he also topped Martin-McAllister. Now the winner for certain, Clarke entered on his final mount relaxed and was able to master the jump-off track once again in a nimble 39.99 for the win.
Clarke spoke to us as he signed autographs for adoring fans. “I wanted to be efficient and clean to put pressure on Jenni. Obviously not enough pressure, because she answered back with an even faster round. So I remembered the track I took and essentially left out strides wherever I could,” the winner remarked.
Always appreciative, Clarke recognized a list of people who made this victorious day possible. “Thank you to everyone at Blenheim EquiSports and my sponsors and owners, Mickey Hayden, the Spicers, Charlotte Gadbois and Antares. And a big thanks to all my clients, family, friends and girlfriend for coming out to support me.”
Blenheim Summer Sizzles – Brazilians Blaze
The Brazilians were blazing on this superb summer day, with representing riders taking the top two spots in the $35,000 Summer Classic II Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc.
Course Designer Guilherme Jorge, also Brazilian, set a straightforward course that jumped well. Ten horse and rider couples mastered the track, resulting in an exhilarating jump-off.
“Many horses came in today that hadn’t shown all week,” commented Jorge. “Since I didn’t know each horse, I didn’t want the track to be too difficult for the field. Although ten was more than I had planned, the class worked out to be a great one.”
Then the Brazilians blazed the way – winner Eduardo Menezes on his Reflection Mercedes Benz stopped the timers clean in a quick 42.07, melting more than two seconds off Parker’s time. Josephina Nor-Lantzman on her Chello Z came close, fault free in 42.95, finishing second in the class, pushing Michelle Parker on Cross Creek Farm’s Socrates De Midos Parker to the third spot, who lead in 44.52. Rusty Stewart rode Grey Fox Farm’s Bristol efficiently in 46.21, picking up fourth for their efforts
With the San Juan Summer Festival and Kids Day, the crowd was pleased with the equestrian entertainment. Per usual the weather was idyllic. Menezes, who is based in Mexico but chose to live in California this year, is pleased with his decision. “They really take care of us. Grass field, good designers, I love it here.”
When asked about his win and his plan, Menezes explained with a smile, “The wife and the groom are happy, so I’m happy.” About Reflection he noted, “I bought the mare in January of this year. She’ll go to Showpark next week and also the World Cup Qualifiers. The goal is to prep for the Olympics.”
CPHA Kicks Off Medal Finals Season
The competition didn’t end in the grass field however. Down in the Blenheim Farms Covered Arena the CPHA Medal Finals third round for the Amateurs and the Juniors were beginning as the Grand Prix was ending. After two rounds over two days, the top ten returned for a final performance.
Sitting separately each of the three judges, Leo Conroy, Anne Braswell and William Sparks, gave the winners well-deserved high scores. Topping the Amateurs was Sophie Verges riding Salerno, scoring an 86, 90, 90 in the final round, finishing 7.5 points ahead of the second place rider, Julia Nagler. Verges trains with Leslie Steele. With fifty competitors battling it out in the junior ranks, Demi Stiegler stole the show with third round scores of 93, 90, 90, almost thirty points ahead of second place finisher Hannah Von Heidegger. Stiegler rode Vigo to the win. She trains with Archie Cox as well as her mother Robyn Stiegler.
Showpark Summer: Jumpin’ Josephina
The International Grand Prix Field in Del Mar was on fire as ten horse and rider couples raced for the win in the $40,000 Showpark Summer Classic Grand Prix, presented by California Horsetrader. Of twenty-three entries, ten managed to master the track clean and ten others ended the day with just one rail down.
The top six finishers were double clean. First to return in the second round was Josephina Nor-Lantzman on Chello Z. Setting a slick pace without rubbing a rail, the pair stopped the clock clean in 36.27. New Zealand’s Guy Thomas gave it a go on Lavito (owned by Signe Ostby) also clean but a touch slower in 37.18, ultimately finishing third. Australian Harley Brown aboard Oak Park Group’s Cassiato galloped in next, also double clean in 38.59, picking up fifth for the day. Veteran Rusty Stewart on Grey Fox Farm’s brilliant Bristol picked up fourth, clean in 38.37. David Vainer of Mexico aboard Vario was careful and clear in 42.39, earning the sixth place spot. The young yet fearless Karl Cook riding Uno De Laubry (owned by Signe Ostby) came close, stopping the clock clean in 36.98, just .71 seconds behind the leader for second place.
Although the pair has earned several top placings since stepping up to the grand prix level less than a year ago, including second last week, this was Nor-Lantzman and Chello Z’s first major win. The talented Zangersheide has blossomed under Nor-Lantzman’s guidance. With her father Fabio Nor as her coach for the last decade, all is proceeding as planned. “We bought him as a five year old with the intention of doing this,” Nor-Lantzman explained. When asked about the day, the young pro proclaimed, “I thought the course was technical and big enough, yet not too much. Going first in the jump-off I tried to put the pressure on with tidy turns and taking advantage of his big stride in the long gallop. It worked out well, he was clean and uncatchable!”
Coming out of a very successful Amateur career, Nor-Lantzman turned pro just this year.
Foundation Flair: CPHA Foundation Equitation Champions Shine
The CPHA crowned three champions during the Showpark Summer Classic: Conor Perrin in the 21 & under section, Alicyn Roy in the 22 & over section and Pilar Flournoy in the 14 & under section. Perrin trains with Nick Haness and Richard Slocum of Hunterbrook, Roy with Mary Gatti and Patrick Spanton of Rainbow Canyon and Flournoy with Mark Bone and Jamie Taylor of Huntover.
In a two round and required work-off format, the equitation riders not only had halts, trot jumps and more built-in to the courses, the top scoring riders competed in a final work-off. The first section to test was the 22 & over, where five competitors returned for further testing. Roy, who came in on top and tested last, executed a slightly different variation of the questions asked. Impressing the judges, she scored an 84 and earned the win. Five riders also worked off in the 14 & under section – the top three were all tied with an average of 85. Flournoy tested third and laid down a flawless ride. Pearl Theodosakis also rode well and finished in the Reserve Champion spot. Over in the grass field the competitive 21 & under section ended up with seven in the work-off. Perrin won both the first and second rounds with averages of 87 and 90.5 respectively, so he was a solid leader going in. Combined with his work-off score of 87.5, Perrin’s overall performance put him on top.
SUMMER INTO FALL
The competition is hotter than ever as we jump into more FEI classes and Regional Medal Finals. The first of the three World Cup Qualifiers in our season, the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, was September 3rd, on the International Grass Grand Prix Field. A little less than two weeks later, we went Indoors for the $50,000 Blenheim World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix in the Blenheim Covered Arena on Friday night, September 16th.
The $31,000 Showpark Jumper Classic, a one round competition against the clock, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency had thirty entries. Anthony D’Ambrosio’s design had quite a few technical challenges as well as some scope tests.
Michelle Parker rode Tula Pinnella’s Xei Ha in slick style, finishing clean in 73.57 for the win. First in the ring, Parker not only set the pace, she illustrated that the course could be jumped without fault. Only one other competitor was able to match that clean ride, eighteen-year-old Alec Lawler aboard Glen Devon.
Brown Brings Home The Blues
Australian Harley Brown and his 18.2 hand mate Cassiato earned the blue sash, the top prize money and valuable World Cup points for a job well done in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by The Grand Del Mar. Of the twenty entries in the World Cup qualifying class, this pair was the only match to master Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course without fault.
After watching the first two horses complete the track in less than 75 seconds, D’Ambrosio shortened his time allowed from 80 to 76 seconds. Two horses later, Ilan Ferder’s Combina with Kirsten Coe, was fault free over the jumps but stopped the clock in 78.51, scoring one time fault. Thirteen entries later Uwwalon and Michelle Spadone were gorgeous around the course. But with a time of 78.47 they too scored one time fault.
When asked after the class about the time allowed decision, the veteran course designer D’Ambrosio said “I thought the decision was perfect when the first few horses had times in the low seventies. I think if you asked the riders they would agree that those with time faults rode careful and clear, not as conscious of the time.” Knowing the riders want to be challenged with these World Cup Qualifers in order to be prepared to compete at a World Cup level, D’Ambrosio set a course that did just that. He continued “It was a good result over a tough course – I believe they got what they wanted.”
Brown planned for the tight time in his ride. “Cassiato is a big and slow type, I’ve had time faults before. I always go in thinking the time is going to be tight.”
Sitting with his six-year-old daughter Zoe at the autograph table, Brown was beaming after a fantastic day. In his fifth season with Cassiato, Brown’s bringing along several more horses. Earlier that morning his five-year-old horse Cash finished first with three clean rounds in the Young Jumper Championships.
Evening Attire is Equestrian
Every evening is a busy one during the Blenheim Fall Tournament. On Wednesday we welcomed thirty-three entries into the $31,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency. Coming south directly after designing for the Masters in Spruce Meadows, Leopoldo Palacios set a super course and the riders rose to the occasion. Thirty-one horse and rider combinations competed in a one round competition against the clock tonight in the $31,000 Blenheim Jumper Classic, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency. Karl Cook and his partner Uno De Laubry (Signe Ostby owner) set a fast time early in the class, clean in 64.57, and held the lead throughout.
With option lines as well as inside turn options, rollbacks, jumps on both ends off short turns and two combinations, Palacios tested the group. “I think the class was good. They got a small taste tonight but the real deal will come on Friday.”
Ladies Night! Coe Operates for a One-Two Victory
Twenty couples toured the track designed by Leopoldo Palacios in tonight’s $50,000 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix, presented by Equ Lifestyle Magazine in the Blenheim Farms Covered Arena. Of those twenty we saw four fault free trips, all ridden by talented young women.
Palacios designed a track with a variety of tests, difficult to jump clean yet not difficult to get around. Each of the twelve numbered efforts came down with the exception of fence eight. The back rail of the final fence, a wide liverpool oxer in front of the in-gate, came out of the cups most often, catching about a third of the class.
Third in the order and first clean was nineteen-year-old Saer Coulter riding Corpernicus Stable’s Cash 51. Several tried, but none succeeded until Kirsten Coe galloped in on the high jumping Combina (Ilan Ferder, owner), who didn’t touch a single rail. Soon after another solid female show jumper, Michelle Spadone, rode Morgan Hill Partner’s Uwwalon without fault. Not another couple went clean until Coe returned on her second mount, Ilan Ferder’s Baronez, and then there were three fabulous females to return on four horses.
The jump-off was a true test of speed and accuracy, as the time allowed was tight and two of the four contenders ended up with time faults. First in, Coulter on Cash 51, had the time but lowered three jumps on course to finish fourth. Coe and Combina again did not touch a rail, but exceeded the time allowed for a score of two time faults, which ended up second. Spadone also went beyond the allotted time and hit the final jump for six total faults and third for the night. Determined to not have a time fault, Coe returned on Baronez and jumped double clean to clench the win.
The excitement didn’t end there. Throngs of fans lined up at the autograph table directly after the event. Meredith Michaels Beerbaum and her husband Markus Beerbaum joined the group of tonight’s top riders in penning their names on autograph sheets galore.
Geller Gets Top Prize IN ASPCA Regionals
Thirty-six leading West Coast junior equitation riders competed in Blenheim Farm’s covered arena on the evening of September 17th in the ASPCA Maclay West Coast Regional Finals. With thirty returning for the flat phase and four for the work-off, it was Morgan Geller aboard Fabricio who finished on top. Geller and up to twenty more riders earned an invitation to compete in the 2011 ASPCA Maclay National Championship at the National Horse Show November 2nd – 6th in Lexington, KY.
Not new to the winners’ circle, Geller and Fabricio won the 2010 CPHA Medal Finals, a 2011 $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the 2011 USEF National Junior Hunter Championships, West Coast. The talented teenager explained, “The course was straight forward, more based on smooth turns and style. I was nervous all day about going first, but in the end it was better because I didn’t sit around and watch everyone and get even more nervous!” With a busy show schedule upcoming, Geller will compete in the USEF Talent Search Finals West Coast next week and head back east for the Capital Challenge, Harrisburg and the National Horse Show where she’s qualified in both the junior hunters and the medal finals.
Although winning is glorious, placing in the top sixty percent of the class possibly up to twenty-two riders will earn an invite to the prestigious finals in Lexington this November. Once the eight final regional competitions throughout the country are complete, the exact number of qualified riders per regional will be announced.
ON THE GROUND
What a social life our exhibitors have led this season. Back in the spring we hosted the Tango Party on the San Diego Polo Club grounds. The summer kicked off with the Great Train Robbery at the Vintage Steakhouse and a lovely Evening at Arden Cottage. July began with a catered lunch for all the riders on both days at the Surf & Turf Classic. The month ended with a marvelous Mardi Gras Celebration at Tres Palomas in Rancho Santa Fe. August opened with a Casino Night at the Dana Point Harbor, the following week a Softball Tournament and BBQ and we enjoyed a magnificent Evening of Art, including diamonds, Ferraris and sumptuous snacks from Vintage at Fairbanks Valley Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe.
Room for Grooms
Gorgeous horses presented by their grooms adorned the field for the Grooms Class, presented by Hill, Piibe & Villegas Immigration Attorneys, in Showpark as well as at Blenheim in August and September. With a $500 prize to the winner, the competition is intense. We look forward to the final class of the series at the Las Vegas National this November.