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Speed pays in August Festival GP

Hutchison and Cantano win Blenheim event

From Horsetrader staff reports - August 18th, 2011 - Show & Event News
Susie Hutchison and Cantano.

Horse In Sport photo

Susie Hutchison and Cantano.

DEL MAR — On yet another perfect Saturday at the Del Mar Horse Park, 28 couples took the test set by Catalina Cruz of Monterrey, Mexico, in the $30,000 August Festival Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, Inc. on Aug. 6. With four to ride, Californian Kirsten Coe qualified three of Ilan Ferder’s horses for the jump-off, Baronez, Tristan and Vernon G, and merely had time faults on the fourth, Combina. Mexican Jaime Azcarraga competed once again on his three mounts. Of those, Gangster and Celsius were clean in round one. Add Californians Rusty Stewart on Bristol (owned by Grey Fox Farm), Susan Hutchison aboard El Dorado 29’s Cantano and Michelle Parker with Xei Ha (owned by Tula Pinnella) to the five qualified by Coe and Azcarraga for eight to return in the jump-off. Just missing making it nine to return, Nicole Simpson had a beautiful ride on Monarch International’s Candle Light Van De Warande, but stopped the clock in 77.04 – the time allowed was 77 seconds.

Certain to be a speedy second round, the race was on for the win. First and last to return, Coe and Baronez had four faults in 41.22, and eight faults on Vernon G, picking up sixth and seventh. Choosing not to jump-off on Tristan, he automatically ended eighth and Combina was tenth for the day. 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 four in 40.28, finishing fifth. 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.

“She (Hutchison) has been fast with a rail the last two weeks. She said she felt slow today but was fast and clean,” Sandy Aston, who is Hutchison’s ground person, said of the win.

Catalina “Catsy” Cruz set a super course. 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.

“The questions begin with going forward, an option seven or eight in the first line. Then a narrow jump to a forward four and a wide triple bar, when they need to come back for the triple combination and the short distance to the tall plank, all the horses are forward at this point. Then the wide oxer to the liverpool backs off the horses, ” explained Cruz of her track. 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 post victory exuberance, Hutchison spoke proudly of her sponsors. “My most prized possession is my beautiful new Allon hunt coat, 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.” She also noted, “We’ve all been counting on a win for the USA. I thought I was slow but the jumps were still up and that was good.” Shaving just over 2.6 seconds off the fastest time, and not to be beaten by those who followed, Hutchison and her partner Cantano earned their win.

$30,000 Showpark August Festival Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, Inc.
1. Cantano – Susan Hutchison (El Dorado 29) 0/0/36.43
2. Celcius – Jaime Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/0/36.59
3. Gangster – Jaime Azcarraga (Jaime Azcarraga) 0/0/39.031
4. Xei Ha – Michelle Parker (Tula Pinnella) 0/0/39.032
5. Bristol – Rusty Stewart (Grey Fox Farm) 0/4/40.28
6. Baronez – Kirsten Coe (Ilan Ferder) 0/4/41.22
7. Vernon G – Kirsten Coe (Ilan Ferder) 0/8/38.22
8. Tristan – Kirsten Coe (Ilan Ferder) 0/didn’t show
9. Candle Light Van De Warande – Nicole Simpson (Monarch International) 1/77.04
10. Combina – Kirsten Coe (Ilan Ferder) 3/79.74
11. Utopia – John Perez (John Perez) 4/70.12
12. Winlaris – John Perez (Sergio Chedraui) 4/72.54

About Blenheim EquiSports
Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces over 30 events per year in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include 18 USEF “A” or “AA” rated hunter-jumper shows featuring several World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix events, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Pony Finals, Medal Finals and more.

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