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California jumpers shine as San Juan Capo spring wraps up

Special to the Horsetrader - May 5th, 2016 - Cover Story, Show & Event News

cover1605AwpSAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Grand prix jumping action at the Rancho Mission Viejo Horse Park will take a spring break after a seven-event series that showcased California’s grand prix talent.

The 2016 Blenheim EquiSports show season has departed Orange County for the Del Mar Horse Park, host of this month’s Ranch & Coast Classic and the $60,000 Grand Prix of California. Four veteran riders from the region — Michelle Parker, Susie Hutchison, Karl Cook and Lane Clarke — will hope to continue their winning ways established the last two months in Orange County.

Hutchison, named to the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in late March (California Horsetrader April 7 issue, “Show Jumping Hall adds Susie Hutchison”), has impressed all spring long on Ziedento, owned by St. Bride’s Farm, Brisbane, owned by Barbara Phillips, and SIG Firecracker. Her win on Ziedento in the Blenheim $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix against 37 other entries was a highlight.

Parker has consistently pressed the leaders this spring, and also has emerged on top. Her victory March 26 on Vancouver 45 in the $25,000 Markel Grand Prix ignited her season.

For the second year in a row, Karl Cook and Signe Ostby’s gray mare, Banba, took the top prize in the $10,000 Scarlett’s Speed Derby, presented by Park Place Foundation. Twenty-four entries displayed speed, stamina and skill over a lengthy course consisting of 19 efforts in a time allowed of 180 seconds in the single-round speed class. Jason McArdle and Da’s Mooi Man, owned by Fairbanks Valley Farm, stopped the clock clean in 95.85 seconds. McArdle remained the leader until veteran partners Cook and Banba laid down a blazing fast, fault-free round, in a time of 88.17 seconds — almost 10 seconds faster than the next leading score. Several riders came close to the leading duo, but none could catch their lightning fast effort.

It looked like Cook was going to make it two wins in two days until the final go of the 10-horse jump-off in the $40,000 Spring Classic III Grand Prix, presented by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, when speed demon Lane Clarke riding Georgy Maskrey-Segesman’s Balu U stole the top spot by two seconds for the win.

Rising Star Vani Khosla rode her horse, Billy Mexico, to her first ever grand prix victory at the $50,000 Blenheim Spring Classic IV Grand Prix, presented by Davidson Communities. Cook, riding Tembla, earned a close second.

Admission is free to the Del Mar Horse Park , where competitors will vie on the grass course on Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m. The action wil lreturn to San Juan Capistrano in June.

More online: Http://bit.ly/605A_Blen

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