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Like father, like son at Showpark

Gonzalo Azcarraga, 20, outduels his dad for grand prix victory

Special to the Horsetrader - August 4th, 2011 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

DEL MAR — In more than a dozen grand prixes pitting Jaime against Gonzalo Azcarraga — father against son — the padre had always finished on top. Then came the $30,000 Racing Special Grand Prix July 31 at Showpark, where Gonzalo beat his father in a grand prix for the first time.

An impressive 1.50M track set by Canadian Michel Vallaincourt tested 34 horse and rider combinations representing six countries in the $30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by Royal Champion. On this idyllic Sunday afternoon at the Del Mar Horse Park, 11 pairs answered the questions asked on course and qualified for the jump-off.

Of the 11, four were in the Azcarraga family, including every entry Jaime entered – Gangster, Matador and Celsius – and son Gonzalo on Richard Cimble. With five double clean performances, it was young Gonzalo and his bay mount who mastered the fastest time.

Gonzalo Azcarraga topped his father, Jaime, on Richard Cimble in the July 31 $30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix at Showpark in Del Mar.

Horse In Sport photo

Gonzalo Azcarraga topped his father, Jaime, on Richard Cimble in the July 31 $30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix at Showpark in Del Mar.

He had his first grand prix win over his dad, and he was beaming.


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.

“When I set a course, I try to have a good balance by not asking the same questions,” he said. “The triple combination is a scope test but the other double combination is different — it’s a careful jump coming in. I knew I had top horses, so I stayed quite stout, but everything is approachable.”

First to go in the first round, John Perez and Utopia set the pace by clearing the challenging course. In round two, the pair was fast but had a rail early on, finishing eighth. Second in, east coast rider Michelle Spadone on Redfield Farm’s Coco, executed the first double clean in 45.74, ultimately finishing fourth for the day. The next three attempts each incurred faults, Mexican rider Eduardo Sanchez Navarro on Centinaio had three rails, ending eleventh. Also hailing from Mexico, Jamie Azcarraga on his first ride, Gangster, clipped the out of the combination for four faults, good enough for ninth. Californian Michelle Parker riding Cross Creek Farm’s Socrates de Midos picked up eight faults and tenth overall. Managing a smooth double clean round but not quite catching Spadone with a time of 46.64, Californian Kirsten Coe rode Illan Ferder’s Baronez to the fifth spot.

Jaime Azcarraga then entered on his second ride, Matador. Having tested the waters before, his track was quick, efficient and clean. Stopping the clock at 42.56, he was over two seconds faster than Spadone. However the fastest rides were yet to come. Next in, the speedy couple of Susan Hutchison and El Dorado 29’s Cantano certainly had the time, 41.45, but had an unfortunate rail coming out of the combination, which would bump them to sixth. In galloped Gonzalo Azcarraga on Richard Cimble. Smooth and slick, the team completed the track in a blazing 40.67.

Gonzalo’s father still had one mount to ride. Returning on Celsius, Jaime had an excellent ride, double clean in 41.26, just over half a second slower than his son, taking second place. Last to go, Josephina Nor Lantzman and her Chello Z had a rail in the combination for four faults and seventh place for the day.

“When I walked the course, I thought is was very big. I thought it was a good preparation for the Pan American Trials,” noted the young winner. The August Pan American trials will determine the Mexican Team for the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara later this fall.

Jaime Azcarraga was proud of his son.

“Eleven riders tried to do it, but he went fastest,” he said.

Picking up second, third and ninth, plus keeping the win in the family, it was an Azcarraga extravaganza.

On a Hunter Derby note, Davlyn Farm’s Come Monday with Chirsta Endicott piloting won Saturday’s $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. Junior rider Gabbi Langston on Fastball Farm’s Azlan took second.

$30,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix
presented by Royal Champion
1. Richard Cimble – Gonzalo Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/0/40.67
2. Celcius – Jaime Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/0/41.26
3. Matador – Jaime Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/0/42.56
4. Coco – Michelle Spadone (Redfield Farm) 0/0/45.74
5. Baronez – Kirsten Coe (Ilan Ferder) 0/0/46.64
6. Cantano – Susan Hutchison (El Dorado 29) 0/4/41.45
7. Chello Z – Josephina Nor-Lantzman (Josephina Nor Stables, LLC) 0/4/41.87
8. Utopia – John Perez (John Perez) 0/4/42.87
9. Gangster –Jaime Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/4/43.77
10. Socrates de Midos – Michelle Parker (Cross Creek Farms, Inc) 0/8/44.24
11. Centinaio – Eduardo Sanchez Navarro (Eduardo Sanchez Navarro) 0/12/44.91
12. Cruise – Chris Pratt (Indigo Farms, LLC) 4/76.93

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