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    THERMAL — He started the eight-week HITS Desert Circuit with his first grand prix win and he finished it Saturday with a big amateur-owner high jumper title, so Alec Lawler moved on, satisfied by a successful circuit.

    Well, all right, not completely satisfied. The confident 22-year-old Stanford senior had one more event planned Sunday, the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix on Agamemnon, and he didn’t finish in the money.

    Still, the win in the $25,000 California Horsetrader Jumper Classic was a strong finish for Lawler as well as for Caresse, the 10-year-old mare he acquired in Sweden late last summer.

    “I’ve been bringing her along, and she’s been great at the amateur level at this circuit,” says Lawler, who won the $50,000 Tuff Rider/Equine Couture Grand Prix on Jan. 26 aboard his Dauphin De Muze. “Everything’s going well. I hope she continues on the track she’s been on. It was nice to finish up the circuit with her and get this win.”

    Seven of 39 Jumper Classic entries reached the jump-off, where Lawler went third in 36.62 — good enough to supplant 16-year-old Hannah Von Heidegger on Monarch International in a class that tests riders and horses looking to progress to grand prix level.

    “It’s a great class — I’ve been doing the highs for a while now just to get experience myself,” said Lawler, an earth systems major who’ll graduate in June. “It was a big class for me a few years ago. Once you get to 1.45 meters, that’s where the little flaws really amplify. It’s a great stepping-stone class whether you’re a rider or a horse.”

    “We’re trying to get this horse to the grand prix level,” he added. “Using the highs will get her confidence up.”

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