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    Flying Horse photo

    The July 3 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix winners, Michelle Parker and Cross Creek Farms's Socrates de Midos, pose with members of her team and Blenheim EquiSports Marketing Director Melissa Braunstein and President Robert Ridland, alsong with representatives of the sponsoring St. Regis Monarch Beach.

    SAN JUAN CAPSITRANO – In honor of the Fourth of July holiday weekend and to wrap up four weeks of competition managed by Blenheim EquiSports, the $25,000 Red, White & Blue Grand Prix presented by the St. Regis Monarch Beach, invited 19 horse-and-rider duos on July 3 onto the Michel Vaillancourt designed course at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park.

    Beforehand, Vaillancourt said course dimensions were “very worthy of this class — it is definitely a solid 1.50m course,” but he did not predict the number of entries who would advance past the course into the second round.

    As it were, two riders maneuvered their mounts to double-clean performances, but the win was ultimately decided by .28 of a second, with top honors awarded to Michelle Parker and Socrates de Midos, owned by Cross Creek Farms in San Marcos.

    Parker was the first of the two qualifiers to step back onto the grass to negotiate the jump-off track. Seventh to enter the ring in round one, Josephina Nor-Lantzman and her gelding Chello Z also went clean in round one and advanced to the jump-off. With 50 seconds allotted for the second round, Parker and her mount went for the clean and conservative ride initially and then picked up the pace at the end in a solid time of 40.947 and clean, presenting Nor-Lantzman with a difficult task. As spectators on all sides of the international field looked on, it appeared as though Nor-Lantzman was going to answer the call. Despite a fault-free performance, the pair stopped the clock just over Parker’s time in 41.227, positioning them into a well-earned second place.

    Occupying third through seventh positions were riders who incurred four faults in round one. Camaron Hills Farm horses fared well with three horses in the class and three top twelve finishes. One pair often in the ribbons, Joie Gatlin and Camaron Hills Quick Dollar, were the fastest of the four fault rides in a time of 75.124 for third place overall. First to go in the class, Molly Talla, rode another Camaron Hills horse, Carrow Cruise, and stopped the clock at 81.425, ending up fourth.

    Flying Horse photo

    Michelle Parker and Socretes de Midos.

    Notably the fifth and sixth positions were the consistent pairs of Southern California trainers Leslie Steele and Rusty Stewart. Riding 8-year-old mounts that they’ve brought along themselves, Steele and Oh My Goodness had one down in 82.666 and Stewart, aboard Bristol (Grey Fox Farms, owner), also lowered just one jump for a sixth-place finish in 83.689. Rounding out the four-fault performances and picking up seventh-place honors was Michael Endicott on Fred Bauer’s Zico 13, who went around the Vaillancourt course in a time of 83.799.

    Riders earning eighth- through 12-place honors lowered the height of two jumps in round one for eight jumping faults overall. Fastest of the eight-fault rides in 76.785 and earning eighth place was Parker aboard her second mount in the class, Clever. Talla, also aboard her second mount, Camaron Hills Shanroe (Camaron Hills Farms, owner), clocked in at 83.109 for ninth. Tenth went to the impressive Contact Me (AMA Marketing & Management, Inc., owner) and Justin Resnik, who completed the course in a time of 81.018. Lane Clarke and Bay Rose’s Nikko (Bay Rose LLC, owner) stopped the clock at 86.456 with eight faults for 11th place. The 12th-place horse-and-rider combination, Granville Equine’s Casseur de Prix and Becky Smith, finished with eight in 87.958.

    “After four weeks of showing, the condition of the footing is still good,” said Vaillancourt. “The jump material here is great and the condition of the field is wonderful.”

    Blenheim EquiSports moves to the Del Mar Horse Park for the Showpark Summer Series with three weeks of shows beginning July 21 through August 8. The Showpark Racing Festival features a $10,000 USHJA High Performance Hunter Challenge on Saturday, July 31 and the $25,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix on Sunday, Aug. 1st.

    More results: http://www.showpark.com

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