Wayne, IL - June 6, 2015 - Jumping a national standard $50,000 grand prix is a feat of its own. For Dorothy Douglas and S&L Elite, jumping to the only double clear effort of the $50,000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix at the Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Show marked a moment Douglas will always remember.
"This is definitely a highpoint," eventual winner Douglas said. "Doing all of these classes, competing in them, is a highlight for me. I just started competing in the grand prix last year, and every single class I get to jump, and jump clear, is a highlight. Today really stands out for me-It was a special win."
Twenty-six riders attempted to master Danny Foster's (CAN) technical track Saturday afternoon, with only five riders moving into the speed round: Martien Van Der Hoeven, Giavanna Rinaldi, Dorothy Douglas, Wilhelm Genn and Hunter Holloway. "It was tricky, you had to be very careful," Douglas said. "My horse jumped so great though that it seemed as though he could have handled anything."
Foster used 16 efforts to test horse and rider alike with a meticulous track that offered no leniency to contenders. Riders were faced with turns, a tight triple combination, large square oxers and a daunting 6-foot wide triple bar. Faults fell throughout the course, and as only five riders attempted the shortened track, the design would give no leeway as Foster continued to challenge the athletes
Douglas was the only one to produce a clear over the short course, posting a conservative but competitive time of 47.557 seconds. Trainers Mike McCormick and Tracy Fenney stood ringside urging her to pick up the pace as the notoriously careful rider cleared each fence. "My plan was to first go clean; I am notorious for going too slow in the jump-off," Douglas laughed. "I wanted to jump clean, stick to the plan and go as fast as I can so I could hold my spot no matter what."
Douglas only began showing in the grand prix in 2014, working with S&L Elite to move from the Level 3 Jumpers to the higher ranks of competition. The 10-year-old gelding has been right with Douglas every step of the way, consistently posting clear rounds for the native-Bostonian.
Wilhelm Genn and Welcome COR rode to the second place honors as the fastest four faulters of the competition. His time of 44.912 seconds would have knocked Douglas from the lead; however, an unfortunate rail would keep him from the winner's circle.
Rising talent and junior rider Giavanna Rinaldi finished in third place with four faults in 45.509 seconds aboard GPS Brilliant Disguise, while fellow junior rider Hunter Holloway and I Love Lucy followed closely behind in the fourth place. Martien Van Der Hoeven and Wilkina Lithya secured the fifth spot with four faults in 49.666 seconds. Kelsey Thatcher finished in sixth place with one time fault aboard Dulf Van Den Bisschop.
"I am very happy with the result of the class today," course designer Danny Foster remarked. "It is a national standard, there are good people here, and I wanted to set up the circumstances for the top riders to showcase their skills. I am from the old school of thought; I think that if you jump a clear round in a grand prix, it is an accomplishment."
Barrington Saddlery sponsored the highlight event of the week, and owner Cynthia Baer said, "It is an absolute joy to be involved with a sponsorship for Showplace Productions. They are so committed to putting on a great production for all the riders, the venue is gorgeous, and I could not think of a better partnership. It is amazing to see how the equestrian community comes together. This show provides us with the opportunity to reach out to the equestrian community on a multigenerational level."
While the action in the $50,000 Barrington Saddlery Grand Prix was unfolding, VIP table holders and their guests helped raise money for Assistance in Healthcare, a non-profit solely for the purpose of raising funds to support cancer patients and their families.
Many of the exhibitors and spectators stayed after the grand prix concluded to watch a 37-year drought end as American Pharaoh and Victor Espinoza captured the victory during the Belmont Stakes, making history as the 12th Triple Crown winner. Golf carts, cars and horses filled the Grand Prix Ring as the action unfolded, with cheers echoing throughout the Lamplight Equestrian Center.
Douglas concluded, "This place is absolutely beautiful. We went back to Texas and told everyone about it. The management, the facility, everything is over the top. We came back this year and brought all of our Texas friends. I can see us coming back here for years to come, this is the kind of show where everyone comes together."