Café de Colombia Takes the Cake in the 2014 US Junior Hunter National Championship, West Coast

Café de Colombia and Ashton Alexander. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com
Café de Colombia and Ashton Alexander. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com

Del Mar, CA - July 22, 2014 - Directly after wrapping up the final jumper classes on Sunday of the Showpark Summer Festival, the striped poles were set aside to welcome a prestigious annual event.   Decorated flower boxes, walls, rolltops and such were carefully set on the gorgeous grand prix field in preparation for the 2014 US Junior Hunter National Championship, West Coast, on Monday morning.

With three phases over two days, Monday hosted a warm-up and a Classic Round followed by the Under Saddle and Handy Round on Tuesday.  The honorable judging panel included Scott Hofstetter, John Roper and Christina Schlusemeyer, all hailing from the East Coast.

Illusion and Destry Spielberg. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com
Illusion and Destry Spielberg. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com

Overall Grand Champion as well as the Top Placing Mare Perpetual Trophy went to Café de Colombia with Ashton Alexander aboard for the ride.  Illusion and Destry Spielberg were Reserve Overall Champions.

Earning top scores in Monday's Classic Rounds, Spielberg and Illusion finished with a Classic Round total of 264, topping the Small 16-17 division. Alexander and Café de Colombia were best in the Large 16-17 division, with a pair of 88s and an 87, total of 263.

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As can happen on day two, some junior hunter pairs shined in the second two phases. In the Under Saddle, Café de Colombia was a star with an average of 89, giving the bay mare an edge.

Skip Bailey designed a Handy Round full of options, giving riders an opportunity to show off their horse's jumping and turning talent. The course image below illustrates this point.

The stars of the show were the aforementioned veteran hunters, Illusion with Spielberg and Café de Colombia with Alexander.  Both earned averages of 90 from the three judges.  Neck and neck until the end, the final overall score for the Champion, Café de Colombia, was 266.6.  Illusion finished with a final score of 265.6.

Illusion and Spielberg. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com
Illusion and Spielberg. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com

Alexander flew in from New York on Sunday night for the Championship, riding Café de Colombia for the first time in the warm-up on Monday morning.  Her first time on the West Coast, she was impressed with the Handy course.  "I liked how there was a bunch of singles and how you could pick up some pace and stay going, and I liked how the last fence was a hand gallop."

Also the recipient of the Small Collection Perpetual Trophy, a memorable mare owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, Alexander was pleased to be competing on Café de Colombia.

"When you find the right mare, like she is, she's willing to work with you in any way.  She knew exactly what she was doing," remarked Alexander.  "When you find that right mare, they are always going to try."

Café de Colombia and Alexander. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com
Café de Colombia and Alexander. Photo courtesy of CapturedMomentPhoto.com

Back to New York tomorrow, Alexander has a busy show schedule in Saugerties, Kentucky, the Maclay Regionals and then Indoors.

Blenheim EquiSports congratulates all the participants. Stay tuned for the Showpark Racing Festival and Showpark August Festival.  Highlights include a $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the $40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, a $10,000 Youngsters U25 (under 25) Classic and a $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix.

RESULTS

Overall Grand Champion Junior Hunter
The Monarch International Donated by Show Circuit Magazine
CHAMPION - CAFÉ DE COLOMBIA and ASHTON ALEXANDER
Reserve Champion - ILLUSION and DESTRY SPIELBERG

Overall Top Placing Mare on the West Coast
The Small Collection Perpetual Trophy Donated by Elizabeth A Reilly
CHAMPION - CAFÉ DE COLOMBIA and ASHTON ALEXANDER

Overall Champion Small Junior Hunter 15 & Under
The Huntover Farm Perpetual Trophy Donated by Huntover Farm
CHAMPION - IRASIR  and  GRACE PROCHILO
Reserve Champion - ROMANEE CONTI and  SAMANTHA GASTELUM

Overall Champion Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under
The Escort Me In Perpetual Trophy Donated by Shalanno Farms
CHAMPION - C COAST Z  and HUNTER SIEBEL
Reserve Champion - EXQUISITE  and MIELA GROSS

Overall Champion Small Junior Hunter 16-17
The River Edge Farm Perpetual Trophy Donated by River Edge Farm
CHAMPION - ILLUSION and DESTRY SPIELBERG
Reserve Champion - KRAVE and ASHTON ALEXANDER

Overall Champion Large Junior Hunter 16-17
The Magic Word Perpetual Trophy Donated by Karen Kay
CHAMPION - CAFÉ DE COLOMBIA and ASHTON ALEXANDER
Reserve Champion - KING'S PEAK  and EMMA WALDFOGEL

3'3" Junior Hunter - 17 & under
CHAMPION - MERCURY  and SABRINA TIRADOR
Reserve Champion - PALOMA and ELIZA FOSTER




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