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L.A. goes International

Susie Artes and Zamiro enjoy breakthrough win in $50,000 grand prix

Special to the Horsetrader - October 18th, 2012 - Show & Event News

Susie Artes and Zamiro enjoy a victory lap after claiming the $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix Sept. 22 in Burbank.

BURBANK — For Susie Artes, her victory Sept. 22 in the $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix was both a personal and professional triumph.

“This win is extremely meaningful to me,” Artes said after teaming with Alix Fargo’s Zamiro to outduel Misti Cassar on Poeme D”Armour and Ashlee Bond on Wistful and RMW Quenot in a jump-off. “Not only is it my first big win of a class of this caliber, but today is also my mom’s birthday. She passed away 26 years ago, and all week long I was hoping I would win. I can’t believe it happened.”

Competition was still in the grand prix at L.A. International Jumping Festival, which spread from Sept. 19-23 and featured a broad range of excitement — from the USEF Talent Search to the grand prix, and even an overhead fly-by of space shuttle Endeavour atop a Boeing 747 on Friday afternoon. Spectators and competitors alike stopped to look up and witness the historic final flight of the shuttle that will reside permanently at the California Science Center.

The $50,000 L.A. International Grand Prix, the first of three Thermal Million qualifying classes to be hosted by Langer Equestrian Group (LEG), featured the winner of the $30,000 L.A. International Welcome Stake, Misti Cassar on her Poeme D’Amour; fan favorite Hap Hansen aboard Archie Bunker, owned by Linda Smith; and many other talented riders and horses who were in it to win it.

Flying Horse photo

Samatha Harrison and Santika soar to victory in the Platinum Performance/USEF Talent Search Finals West competition at the L.A. Equestrian Center

Cassar navigated Linda Allen’s course and was the first to go clean, as several riders had trouble with refusals or dropped rails.

“The last line was difficult — it was a bit of a blind turn, and the horses thought they were finished and backed up a little bit,” Artes explained. “I know several people had the last jump down.”

Not Artes, who left all rails up and ignited the crowd with a consistent, clean. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Imothep, owned by Hyperion Stud LLC, had no jumping faults, but three time faults kept them from the jump-off. Bond went clean on Wistful and on RMW Quenote, both owned by Little Valley Farms.

Going first, Cassar was fast in 41.561 seconds, but had four faults. Artes and Zamiro went clean and fast in 42.02 seconds.

“I really wanted to take a slice on one of the jumps, but it would have been a little irresponsible,” she said. “I had to talk myself out of doing that. I told myself to stick to my plan and trust that my horse would be fast and do what I asked him to do — which he did.”

With two horses in the jump off, Bond went clean on Wistful but was too long in the time, then on RMW Quenote failed to go clean.

“Wistful is just starting out on the grand prix circuit, and this was only her second bigger indoor grand prix this year,” explained Bond. “She was bred by Candice and Rusty Stewart. RMW Quenote is only eight – she’s so smart. The Welcome Stake was the biggest class she has ever done and she’s doing so well.”

Course designer Linda Allen designed the course with young horses like Ashlee’s in mind.

“I was generally pleased with how it worked out,” the designer said. “I wanted a good result where the questions were scattered and the course challenged all of the riders and horses.”

Susie commented, “I thought the course design was deceiving. The first few jumps were easy and kind of suckered you in, and then at the end it got much more difficult. I thought it was a very good test and it rode much harder than it looked, which is typical of Linda Allen.”

When asked about Zamiro and his future, Susie elaborated, “Since May, we haven’t been in a grand prix that he hasn’t placed in. He’s really turned the corner and grown up a lot. We have two more big classes to do and some small ones in between for confidence to finish out the year. Next year I’m looking forward to qualifying for and competing in the Thermal Million Grand Prix and possibly applying to do a Nation’s Cup to represent the U.S. somewhere out of the country.”

In addition to the exciting Thermal Million, the West Coast can also look forward to the new West Coast Indoor Circuit, which will run in October and November. Starting at the end of October, the new four-show series will offer high caliber classes and showcase high-level competition, at: Del Mar (Oct 24-28), the National Preview (Oct 31-Nov 4), the L.A. National (Nov 7-11), and the Las Vegas National (Nov 13-18).

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