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Hap’s 100th is so close

Mexico's Pasquel nips Hansen late in $40,000 Showpark jump-off drama

From Horsetrader staff reports - September 6th, 2012 - Show & Event News

Amy McCool photo

Hap Hansen and Linda Smith's Archie Bunker are just a second shy of the Hall of Fame rider's 100th grand prix win Aug. 25 at the $40,000 Showpark Summer Classic Grand Prix.

DEL MAR — Hap Hansen and Archie Bunker had another close call with career Grand Prix jumping win No. 100 on Aug. 25, leading midway through a jump-off of the $40,000 Blenheim Summer Classic before Patricio Pasquel of Mexico and Serge eclipsed them.

The duo brought excitement to the Showpark crowd at the event, presented by the California Horsetrader, just as they have all season. The anticipation of Hansen’s win No. 100 has been brewing since February when Hansen and Archie Bunker notched No. 99 at Thermal.

“I don’t think about it when I’m competing,” said Hansen, who finished second by 1.03 seconds, one week after he finished second to Rusty Stewart and Bristol at the Blenheim Summer Grand Prix. “As happy as I would be to get No. 100, I’d be happy to get it out of the way so people would stop worrying about it.”

The Hall Of Fame rider and former AGA Rider of the Year recognizes the boost of excitement his pursuit is giving the sport this season.

Amy McCool photo

Winner Patricio Pasquel of Mexico and Serge.

“Whether it was me or someone else, everybody wants to come watch so they can see that happen — it it’s going to happen!”, he said. “I’m lucky to have the nice horse to give it a try with. I enjoy the competition.”

Archie Bunker, Linda Smith’s 14-year old Oldenburg, has been strong in 2012.

“Overall, he’s been great all year — and this grand prix was probably one of his best,” Hansen said. “I couldn’t have asked him to go any faster. He was as good as he can be.”

Of the 34 grand prix entries, 11 qualified for the jump-off. German course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. designed a track that ultimately challenged the up-and-coming young horses, yet also tested the veterans.

“I’m happy with the amount of returners,” Petersen said of the jump-off field. “I didn’t want to make it too difficult, but next week is a World Cup Qualifier, so there are still riders and horses preparing for that.”

Hansen guided Archie Bunker through a risky but clean round, posting the time to beat of 44.702 seconds. Brazilian rider Josephina Nor-Lantzman tried to surpass Hansen’s time, but with the final charge to the last obstacle, Chello Z had hit the back rail to finish with a four-fault time of 42.554 seconds.

It wasn’t until Pasquel entered the ring aboard Serge that Hansen’s clear round would be challenged. Pasquel flew through the track, dodging between fences, turning on a dime, charging to the final oxer to trip the wire in 43.796 seconds, good enough to top the leaderboard and place Hansen in second.

Ashlee Bond returned with Wistful to try and better Pasquel’s time. The small but mighty Wistful was able to keep all the rails in the cups, but with a time of 45.116 seconds, would have to settle for third place. Also going clear in the jump-off was Paige Dotson and Rockford I in 45.345 seconds for fourth place.

“I am so happy,” Pasquel (MEX) shared with a smile from ear to ear. “Olaf’s course was perfect for Serge because he doesn’t have the best scope but he is very fast.”

RESULTS ONLINE: See website http://bit.ly/29A_Blen

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