San Juan Capistrano, CA - Thirty-five horse and rider combinations competed in the $25,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park on August 14th. The last to go clean in round one proved best, Mexico's Otavio Penedo and his partner Don Arturo Equisearch managed a fast and clean ride for the win in a competitive twelve-horse jump-off.
Patrick Rhodes designed a flowing course with several technical elements for a total of 16 efforts in a generous time allowed of 92 seconds. "It was a good field. Maybe a few too many clean, but overall I was happy," commented Rhodes. "I thought the plank at 8 would come down more as well as a few more rails at 9A and 9B."
John Perez aboard Daniel Rihan's Abel was the first to go clean in round one. The next two competitors were also fault free, Joie Gatlin on Camaron Hills Quick Dollar (Camaron Hills Farm, owner), one of only two women in the jump-off, and Eduardo Sanchez Navarro on his own Virgo.
The clean rounds kept coming from the Mexican riders. Tenth in the ring, Francisco Pasquel riding his own Calavda Z, advanced to the second round. With a total of four rides for the afternoon, Perez also qualified his own Utopia as well as Daniel Rihan's Twister for the jump-off. Galloping onto the grass sixteenth, Juan Jose Bancalari and Villeneve (7) made it seven. Sanchez Navarro and Centinaio 2, Rodrigo Lambre riding Carpaccio and Eduardo Menezes aboard Percynality Mercedes Benz all posted clean rides. The other female representative in the jump-off was 17-year-old Californian Jocelyn Neff, competing in her first grand prix, on Gaga 20 (Donna Neff, owner).
With the advantage of watching eleven of his fellow competitors precede him in the second round, Penedo knew what he and his 10-year-old mount had to do for the win. "I had to take all of the risks and it paid off." The winning duo navigated the jump-off track in a time of 36.41, almost two seconds faster than the previous leading time, to clinch the top prize.
"I thought the course was technical enough. Time [in the first round] was more generous than the last few events I've been in, which made the jump-off more difficult because there were more riders," said the victorious Penedo.
Rhodes, who was designing on the Blenheim International Field for the first time, was pleased with the winning performance. "I was happy with Otavio's ride in the jump-off. He rode fast and careful, which is everything he should have done."
Only four out of the twelve riders who returned for the jump-off managed double clear rounds. Perez and Abel were one of the double clean duos in a time of 40.77 for fourth. Already having ridden the jump-off track on another mount, Sanchez Navarro returned in the tack of Centinaio 2 and were the second double clear ride of the afternoon in a time of 39.56 for third place honors. Also maneuvering the shortened course without fault was the pair of Menezes and Percynality Mercedes Benz. As the third-to-last to go in the final round, the pair stopped the clock in 38.13, earning the second place prize. Fastest of the four faulters, Gatlin piloted Camaron Hills Quick Dollar to a fifth place in 38.30.
Neff, who rode Gaga 20 around the shortened track in a time of 42.36 and four faults, occupied the tenth position. The up and coming equestrian star rides with Karen Healey and has certainly been successful in the Big Eq with several top placings in Medal Finals. Riding her 10-year-old mount since January, Neff was pleased with their trip. "I wanted to put my horse in the position where he didn't have to save me and it worked," she noted. "I thought this was a great first [grand prix] course for me."
Blenheim EquiSports hosts the West Coast Junior Hunter Finals August 17th - 18th and kicks off competition for the Blenheim Summer Classic II on August 18th. The $35,000 Summer Classic II Grand Prix, presented by Equ Lifestyle Magazine, is scheduled for Saturday, August 21st at 3:30pm.*
*Start times may change, please visit www.showpark.com before each event
$25,000 Summer Classic Grand Prix
1. Don Arturo EquiSearch - Otavio Penedo (Otavio Penedo) 0/0/36.417
2. Percynality Mercedes Benz - Eduardo Menezes (Eduardo Menezes) 0/0/38.133
3. Centinaio 2 - Eduardo Sanches Navarro (Eduardo Sanches Navarro) 0/0/39.568
4. Abel - John Perez (Daniel Rihan) 0/0/40.774
5. Camaron Hills Quick Dollar - Joie Gatlin (Camaron Hills Farm) 0/4/38.304
6. Virgo - Eduardo Sanches Navarro (Eduardo Sanches Navarro) 0/4/38.418
7. Carpaccio - Rodrigo Lambre (Rodrigo Lambre) 0/4/39.108
8. Utopia - John Perez (John Perez) 0/4/39.787
9. Calavda Z - Francisco Pasquel (Francisco Pasquel) 0/4/41.874
10. Gaga 20 - Jocelyn Neff (Donna Neff) 0/4/42.362
11. Twister - John Perez (Daniel Rihan) 0/20/38.202
12. Villeneve (7) - Juan Jose Bancalari (Juan Jose Bancalari) 0/Elim.
About Blenheim EquiSports
Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces over 30 events per year in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include 18 USEF "A" or "AA" rated hunter-jumper shows featuring several World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix events, USHJA International Hunter Derbies, Pony Finals, Medal Finals and more. Visit www.showpark.com for more details.
Photos:Otavio Penedo and Don Arturo EquiSearch with Blenheim EquiSports Marketing Director Melissa Braunstein and Awards Coordinator Bobby Drennan
Otavio Penedo and Don Arturo EquiSearch
Photos © CapturedMomentPhoto.com.