Jill Prieto and Capone 21 Win New $25,000 CVPHA Grand Prix

Moreland Hills, OH – July 25, 2011 – It was a day of firsts at the final day of the Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic at the Cleveland Metroparks Polo Field in Moreland Hills, Ohio. The Classic, which was the location of the very first show jumping grand prix in North America in 1965, debuted a new grand prix event on Saturday, July 23. Jill Prieto, of Upperville, VA, who was competing at the Classic for the first time, won the new $25,000 CVPHA Grand Prix aboard Capone 21, owned by Barbara Roux, of Upperville, VA. This victory had extra meaning for Prieto because it was her first grand prix win.

Prieto was competing against top local riders and veteran equestrians from around the country, including Candice King, of Wellington, FL, winner of last weekend’s $30,000 Cleveland Grand Prix. Following the grand prix, Prieto said that she really enjoyed competing at the Classic, noting that the footing was excellent, and said she planned to return next year. The second and third place finishers, 20-year-old Samantha Senft and 16-year-old Liza Finsness, both of Wellington, FL, were also first-time competitors at the Classic and both said that they really enjoyed themselves and planned to return next year.

The $25,000 CVPHA Grand Prix hosted a field of 20 competitors. Jose “Pepe” Gamarra, of Ellenton, FL, designed the technically demanding course of 5-foot jumps. Gamarra, originally from La Paz, Bolivia, has a celebrated career as a course designer and has traveled the world building courses for some of the most prestigious events in the sport. He was an Assistant Course Designer at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong, and at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic and Argentina.

The challenging course saw six riders go clear in the first round, but only three went clear in the jump-off round. Prieto flew around the jump-off course in a time of 32.643, Senft and Early Morning came in second with a time of 34.499, and Finsness and Ormsby Hill came in third with a time of 36.404. Prieto took home $7,500 in prize money, Senft took $5,500, and Finsness took $3,250. Rounding out the jump-off competitors was Shane Sweetnam, of Wellington, FL and Jennifer Waxman, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Sweetnam took fourth aboard Tangelo Z and sixth aboard Triviant, and Waxman took fifth aboard Shakira.

Weather Causes Slight Alterations to the Schedule

The final week of the Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic was highlighted by temperatures in the 90s, with heat indexes over 100 degrees. Competition began an hour earlier than scheduled, at 7 a.m., on Thursday and Friday in an attempt to finish the day’s classes before the worst of the afternoon heat set in. The $5,000 Welcome Stake was scheduled to be the final class of the day on Thursday, but due to the heat, it was held as the first class of the day. The heat didn’t bother Prieto and Capone 21 as they took first prize in the Welcome Stake.

Following the conclusion of the day’s classes on Friday, a two-hour torrential downpour descended on the show grounds. By the time the rain ended, the jumper ring resembled a swimming pool. The high-tech footing in the jumper ring includes a complex drainage system that was used to pull all of the excess water from the ring. The footing was all set and ready to go Saturday morning for the debut of the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic. Stars Go Blue, with Kelly Arani, of Dover, Mass., in the irons, took top honors in the National Hunter Classic.

About the Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic
The Chagrin Valley Hunter Jumper Classic is presented by the Chagrin Valley PHA (Professional Horsemen’s Association) Horse Show, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization headed by a voluntary Board of Trustees, comprised of local residents, business leaders and equestrians, who run the show with the help of a large volunteer team.

The show will return in 2012, running Friday, July 6, through Saturday, July 21. For more information please visit www.clevelandhorseshow.com or call 330-903-9915.

Photos: Winners of the $25,000 CVPHA Grand Prix, Jill Prieto and Capone 21 - Credit Anne Gittins Photography.jpg; Jill Prieto and Capone 21, winners of the $25,000 CVPHA Grand Prix - Credit Anne Gittins Photography.jpg and Stars Go Blue and Kelly Arani, winners of the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Classic - Credit Anne Gittins Photography.jpg