MINDEN, NEVADA (July 15 2001)-Javier Fernandez of Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico, riding Loreto, won the $50,000 Coldwell Banker ITILDO Grand Prix at HITS Tahoe in Minden, Nevada, today, taking home $15,000 for owner Charles R. Parks. In a field of 19 horses, none went double-clear, but Fernandez's lightning fast four-fault jump-off round edged out the only other four-faulter in the tiebreaker-John French of Woodside, California, on Millenium-by more than eight seconds. Pierre Burch of Vercheres, Quebec, Canada, designed the course.
Burch's 14-jump Round One started with an oxer going towards the in-gate and included a vertical-oxer double at Fence No. 3 and an oxer-vertical-oxer triple combination at Fence No. 7. Two hairpin turns-from Fence 5 to 6, and from Fence 13 to 14-pressed the riders to stay within the 94-second Time Allowed. The "S" line down the middle of the ring from 3-4-5 was challenging, as was the triple combination, which caused faults for eight horses in the field. One rider retired on course. Four riders had clean rounds and qualified for the jump-off.
On the short course, Burch asked the riders to re-jump the oxer at Fence No. 1, turn away from the in-gate and head back to the vertical at Fence 2, take a long gallop to the double at 3, shorten up to the vertical at 4, turn sharply and run for the oxer at Fence 13-a key part of the track that allowed some riders to shave seconds off their time, then make a hairpin turn to the final vertical at 14. Time Allowed was set at 47 seconds.
First on course was owner/rider Ron Keller of San Gregorio, California, riding Frank who incurred three jumping faults for a refusal at Fence No. 1 plus 10 time faults when he clocked in at 56.415, relegating him to fourth place and a $4,000 paycheck. Next to go was Fernandez on Loreto, who galloped the course in 36.376 seconds and lowered the last fence for four faults, but their time held for the win. Third in the order was New Zealand Olympic Team Member Peter Breakwell of Redwood City, California, in the irons on Oberon, who chased the leader but had the last two fences down for eight faults in 37.129, which placed him third. Breakwell earned $6,500 for owner Damien Eastwood. Last to go was John French on Millenium who jumped a careful round in 45.961, but the last fence came down for four faults, putting him in second place. French took home $11,000 for owners Cathy and Alex Mendez.
Pierre Burch has been a course designer for 15 years. He set the jumps in the HITS Tahoe Grand Prix field for classes Wednesday through Saturday before the Grand Prix and had the opportunity to size up the ring, riders, and horses before designing today's course. "I try to have my maps to scale and I try to be very precise, but I also have an artistic side to me when I'm setting jumps out there. I go with the feel, the layout of the ring. I usually come with one design done and then after I do my first set-up I start working on the rest. It's hard to work in advance because you need to have the feel of the horses, you have to know who's there, how big to build for them and how technical. My idea is to try to get the horses to jump better every day until the highlight of the Sunday class. The first tracks are a little bit more basic to give the horses confidence and to get a feel for them. If the horses are jumping better at the end of the week than at the beginning of the week then I've done a good job."
$50,000 Coldwell Banker ITILDO Grand Prix July 15, 2001
HITS Tahoe III, Minden, Nevada
Course Designer: Pierre Burch
Pl#/Horse/Rider/Owner/Prize Money/Rd 1 Faults/J-O Faults -Time
1/Loreto/Javier Fernandez/Charles R Parks/$15,000/0/4-36.376
2/Millenium/John French/Cathy & Alex Mendez/$11,000/0/4-45.961
3/Oberon/Peter Breakwell/Damien Eastwood/$6,500/0/8-37.129
4/Frank/Ron Keller/Ron Keller/$4,000/0/13-56.415
5/Alcatraz 34/Jenni Martin/Augustin Walch/$3,000/2/NA
6/Figaro/Leslie Steele/Leslie Steele/$2,500/4/NA
7/Dekoracija/Peter Breakwell/Aries Equine/$2,000/4/NA
8/Fabius/Steve Bond/Steve Bond/$1,500/8/NA
9/Pablo/Ashlee Bond/Ashlee Bond/$1,500/8/NA
10/Surrey/Janet Hischer/Tim & Jodi Johnson/$1,000/8/NA
11/Chico/Ron Keller/Ron Keller/$1,000/8/NA
12/Careless/Jenni Martin/Augustin Walch/$1,000/8/NA
Number of horses that competed in this class: 19
Class Prize Money: $50,000