San Juan Capistrano, CA - It was a Sunday showcase of talent in Southern California. The Blenheim EquiSports June Classic I show culminated with the $30,000 Blenheim Grand Prix, presented by FarmVet, the $10,000 1.45m CardFlex Jumper Classic and the final Zone 10 North American Young Rider Trials.
With a talented field of riders, including Thursday's Markel Insurance Grand Prix winner Nayel Nassar with two horses, veteran Susan Hutchison also with two mounts, Josephina Nor Lantzman, Michael Endicott, Harley Brown and more, the Grand Prix had eighteen quality horse and rider combinations performing for a sizable group of spectators enjoying the beautiful Southern California afternoon. Course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany ensured a display of scope and skill from riders with a twisting track of 16 elements in a time allowed of 90 seconds.
"I didn't set the course the same as I would if there were 50 in it, but everything is still 1.45m and some at 1.50m. There's a triple bar and then a vertical coming into a triple combination and that's what I would say is the most difficult part of it. I hope to get six or seven clear so we can have an exciting jump-off," he explained.
As one of the world's top course designers, Petersen, Jr. counts the Blenheim footing and facilities among his favorites. Regarding the Grand Prix Field's footing, he commented, "It's really excellent; they left the grass a little longer than normal and it's very soft but not too soft. I've not seen many better grass footings than this.
"Normally when people ask me all over the world what shows I like the most, I say Blenheim and Showpark, because it's not such a sense of pressure all the time like it can be in Europe. It's about the whole feeling, not only work."
True to Petersen, Jr.'s prediction, six entries jumped clear to return for the jump-off round, which featured eight efforts in a time allowed of 61 seconds. First and last to go, Nayel Nassar on his own Acita and Susan Hutchison on St. Bride's Farm's Ziedento, both had eight-fault scores, while the other four entries thrilled the crowd with fast, fault-free rounds.
After Nassar, Jill Humphrey on her own Zidane was clean in 53.43 seconds, only to be outrun by Eduardo Sanchez Navarro on his own Pacifico when they stopped the timers in 48.18.
The pressure mounted as Keri Potter on Paloma (Melanie Brooks, owner) stopped the clock with a clear round in 46.49, once again taking over the lead. The crowd watched in anticipation as local SoCal favorites Josephina Nor Lantzman and Chello Z entered the ring.
The veteran team, in their tenth year competing together, did not disappoint, flying around the course clean in 44.02. Once Hutchison and Ziedento had their first rail, Nor Lantzman earned her second victory of the day.
"My plan started from fence one to two - I did nine strides while I think everyone else did ten. I really sliced in and kept going. I could hear my dad saying, 'Whoa' as I came to the last fence, but I saw it so I just went for it," Nor Lantzman said with a smile. She and Chello are a solid team, and trust each other implicitly. "My inspiration today was American Pharoah and the Triple Crown, and the love of horses and the sport."
The California girl looks forward to a summer of showing at Blenheim. "I'm grateful to be here. The grass is definitely thicker and softer than usual, which is great this time of year. I know it'll hold up for four weeks and we'll be here to show as long as the horses feel good," she continued. "We've got the best course designers and I'm happy to stay home, enjoy the beach and good weather."
Josephina Nor Lantzman and Unlimited Top the $10,000 CardFlex 1.45m Jumper Classic
In her first victory of the day, Josephina Nor Lantzman was aboard new partner Unlimited (owned by Josephina Nor Stables, LLC) to win the $10,000 CardFlex 1.45m Jumper Classic. As part of the Young Rider Trials, this class, in a winning round format, was open to all.
Nor Lantzman was the only rider to post two clean rounds to take home the win, with Young Rider Uma O'Neill and her own Clockwise of Greenhill Z earning second and amateur Lauren Kay on her own Ohara Saint Clair in third to round out the top three.
2015 Zone 10 NAYR and NAJR Teams Named
The June Classic I show serves as the selection trials that determine both the Junior and Young rider teams to represent Zone 10 at the 2015 North American Junior Young Rider Championships, July 14-19, in Lexington, Kentucky.
All participants competed over three days, accumulating points in a speed round, a jump-off round and a winning round (two-round format) at the appropriate fence heights.
The Young Rider Team for Zone 10 will be represented by Uma O'Neill (Trainer, Lori De Rosa), Sydney Callaway (Trainer, Lori De Rosa), Mackenzie Drazan (Trainer, Karen Healey), and Sarah Baz (Trainer, Harley Brown), with Morgan Dickerson (Trainer, Karen Healey) as alternate. Karen Healey will serve as Zone Ten Chef d'Equipe.
The Junior Rider Team for Zone 10 will be represented by Rebecca Reyes (Trainer, Bert Mutch), Peyton Warren (Trainer, Jill Humphrey), Eve Jobs (Trainer, Ben Hey), and Summer Hill (Trainer, Sue Lightner), with Sophia Mossman (Trainers, Cam and Becky Smith) named as the alternate.
The Blenheim EquiSports summer season continues at Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. Stay tuned for coverage on the June Classic II featuring the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, the final $7,500 CashCall Mortgage Futurity Qualifier, and the $30,000 June Classic Grand Prix, presented by Michael & Kenzie 1911.
Results - $30,000 Blenheim Grand Prix
Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 526 - Chello Z - Josephina Nor Lantzman - Josephina Nor Stables, LLC - 0/0/44.023
2. 317 - Paloma - Keri Potter - Melanie Brooks - 0/0/46.490
3. 603 - Pacifico - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - 0/0/48.187
4. 272 - Zidane - Jill Humphrey - Jill Humphrey - 0/0/53.438
5. 265 - Ziedento - Susan Hutchison - St. Bride's Farm - 0/8/43.424
6. 524 - Acita - Nayel Nassar - Nayel Nassar - 0/8/46.757
7. 523 - Nakich Double Dutch - Nayel Nassar - Madeleine Wilson - 4/84.929
8. 229 - Caspa 7 - Tasha Visokay - Georgy Maskrey-Segesman - 4/86.835
9. 122 - Apex - Harley Brown - Emma Reichow - 4/88.484
10. 540 - Pleasure de Riverland - Chris Pratt - Taylor Sutton - 4/89.705
11. 102 - Lasse - Jamie Barge - KylieCo - 8/5.434
12. 512 - Con Spirit - Nathalie Manning - Nathalie Manning - 8/89.142