Del Mar, CA - As the qualifying classes wind down for the popular Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix Series, the competition is heating up. With 44 entries in the class, Michelle Parker and Cross Creek Farm's Cupilor were first clear and fastest for the win. Veteran FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios set a tough track with a tight time allowed. He pointed out an interesting aspect of the class overall: "A 1.40m course can be more difficult than a 1.50m course. The height and the spread is a big factor, but it is not all of it."
With only four clean, one two-fault score and seven four-fault scores, the course tested the field. Over twenty entries ended their round with time faults. A number of competitors had rails early on in a diagonal line that demanded precision. The four element line started with a tall vertical at fence 4, then a mandatory steady six strides to 5a-b, a black-and-white combination, directly in three strides to fence 6, an oxer.
What looked to be the first clear of the class, Hanna Mauritzson on Landlyst's Leroy (owned by Swede Equine, LLC), narrowly missed that zero fault score, acquiring two time faults. Galloping in sixteenth, Parker and Dutch Warmblood Cupilor (Lupricor x Libre) had an interesting yet successful experience in their first round.
"Right off the bat, at fence number one, I thought, 'It's going to be a long way around,'" she admitted. In regards to the aforementioned diagonal line, Parker said, "I was just kicking for the back rail; I actually dropped my reins intentionally over 5b. He puts his head really low, so I just fed him the reins. I don't think I had reins between there and the three strides. Then I just gathered them back up and on we went."
Despite the small number of contenders, it was an exciting, fault-free jump-off that had the crowd on the edge of their seats until the last horse crossed the finish line. The short course included two new jumps in a bending line, followed by tight roll back turns and a long gallop to the final oxer. Blazing the way in the jump-off, Michelle Parker and Cupilor set a time that could not be beat, at 37.75. Next in, Jamie Barge and Kylieco's Luebbo, raced around clean, just under three-tenths of a second slower in 38.14.
Try as they might, Josephina Nor Lantzman and her longtime partner Chello Z couldn't catch Michelle and ultimately finished in second place with a time of 37.97, just over two-tenths of a second slower. Last to go and once again fast, Daniel Anicet and his own Chacna took over the third spot with a time of 38.02, leaving Barge to claim the fourth place ribbon.
Cupilor is no stranger to the Showpark winner's circle. Since purchasing the gelding from Branscomb Farm as a four-year-old, Parker has piloted Cupilor to Champion in the 2013 YJC Six Year Old Finals, as well as the 2014 Seven Year Old Finals. After graduating with honors from the Young Horse program, Cupilor is proving his grand prix potential as an eight-year-old.
Stay tuned as the Showpark excitement continues this week, with a $7,500 U25 CashCall Mortgage Qualifier, the $50,000 Showpark Summer Grand Prix, presented by EquiFit, inc., and three divisions competing in the CPHA Foundation Equitation Finals.
Place - Entry - Name - Trainer - Faults/Time
1. 284 - Cupilor - Michelle Parker - Cross Creek Farms, Inc. - 0/0/37.754
2. 496 - Chello Z - Josephina Nor Lantzman - Josephina Nor Stables, LLC - 0/0/37.977
3. 577 - Chacna - Daniel Anicet - Daniel Anicet - 0/0/38.028
4. 543 - Luebbo - Jamie Barge - Kylieco - 0/0/38.140
5. 477 - Landlyst's Leroy - Hanna Mauritzson - Swede Equine, Inc. - 2/83.528
6. 802 - Eminent - Mandy Porter - David Murdoch - 4/75.248
7. 574 - Catalina - Eduardo Menezes - E2 Stables, LLC - 4/76.354
8. 495 - Unlimited - Josephina Nor Lantzman - Josephina Nor Stables, LLC - 4/79.291
9. 267 - Legis Venice - Jenni McAllister - Legisequine.com - 4/79.353
10. 474 - Con Spirit - Nathalie Manning - Nathalie Manning - 4/80.286
11. 355 - Allstar 5 - Misti Cassar - Gavin Brodin - 4/81.192
12. 173 - Amiracle - Michael Endicott - DP Racing - 5/82.046