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Pedal to the metal

Chris Pratt and Wakyra speed to Del Mar GP win

Special to the Horsetrader - August 16th, 2012 - Show & Event News

DEL MAR — Patience and speed. Those qualities aren’t typically paired, but Canadian rider Chris Pratt put them to work Aug. 4 to pull off a sensational win in the $30,000 August Festival Grand Prix.

As the final rider of 38 entries, Pratt patiently watched while rounds before him revealed a tough course designed by Pierre Jolicoeur. Almost half the field fell short in the vertical-oxer-oxer triple combination, while several others fell short over the liverpool vertical.

Pratt, who was showing Wakya in just the horse’s third showing this year, rode a smart-enough round to be one of seven clear jump-off entries, and then he pulled the stops.

Eight nations represented the field that fought to master Jolicoeur’s unique but technical track.

“I wanted it to be new, and I wanted it to be fun,” Jolicoeur said. “They overrode into the triple. The liverpool required scope, but again too many were overriding it trying to set up for the triple combination that was a challenge in itself.”

Seven jump-off entries endured the 16-effort qualifying round, beating the time allowed of 74 seconds.

Red-hot Brazilian rider Josephina Nor-Lantzman and Chello Z were the first to return, and they posted a challenging time to beat with a clear round in 34.203 seconds. Mexican riders Antonio Maurer and Lorenza O’Farrill followed with clear rounds, too, but lagged behind Nor-Lantzman’s time. Columbian rider John Perez and Arezzo, going fourth, beat the clock by whittling their time in the air, cutting corners, and galloping to the final fence, stopping the clock in 33.386 seconds for the lead.

Going next, Pratt knew he had the need for speed.

“I saw Josephina’s round, and she flew,” said Pratt. “I didn’t get to see John’s, but my plan was simple — I wasn’t going to pull on the reins once.”

Pratt piloted Wakyra through a flawless jump-off, making every stride count en route to victory.

“He turned like a barrel racer,” Jolicoeur said of the winner, who tripped the wire in 32.7 seconds.

Pratt, who has enjoyed success at Del Mar with multiple grand prix wins in the last two years, was well-pleased with his Wakyra, owned by Lindsay Thornton.

“He is so careful and honest,” Pratt said. “He is always reliable.”

Pratt praised Jolicoeur, too, for his test.

“Pierre is so clever,” he said. “You saw that in the triple combination. He likes to build things that make the horses look, and that creates the challenge.”

The Showpark August Festival in Del Mar wrapped up three intense weeks of back-to-back competition. The action shifts to San Juan Capistrano two weeks of the Blenheim Summer Classic Series, Aug. 8-19.

More online: See website http://bit.ly/28B_Blen

$30,000 August Festival Grand Prix
Aug. 4, 2012 * Showpark, Del Mar, Calif.
Pl Horse/Rider/Owner Faults/Time
1st Wakyra/Chris Pratt/Lindsay Thornton 0/032.700
2nd Arezzo/John Perez/David Vanier 0/0/33.386
3rd Chello Z/J. Nor Lantzman/J. Nor Stables 0/0/34.203
4th Unlimited/G. Mizrachi/G. Mirarchi 0/0/34.520
5th Callao/Antonio Maurer/Antonio Maurer 0/0/34.702
6th Dali/ Marcelo Galan/Marcelo Galan 0/0/35.840
7th Pekin St Denis/L. O’Farrill/L. Farrill 0/0/38.006
8th Wilco/Simon Nizri/Simon Nizri 1 time fault

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