Mill Spring, NC -The Tryon May Series ushered in the second week of competition to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), featuring hunter, jumper, and equitation competition beginning on Wednesday, May 10, and continuing through Sunday, May 14. The Tryon May Series will continue through Sunday, May 28, before the start of the highly anticipated Tryon Summer Series.
Fernando Cardenas Jr. of Raleigh, NC, piloted Valentine Car to victory in the $25,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix, finishing nearly three seconds faster than second place finishers Harold Chopping of Southern Pines, NC, and Basje. Cardenas, Jr. and Valentine Car made easy work of the short course, stopping the timers in 41.53 seconds, while Chopping and Basje cleared the track in 44.351 seconds. Jorge Andres Barrera, who competes for the nation of Colombia, piloted Cartouche to third place with a time of 45.119 seconds after dropping a rail for four faults in the jump-off.
Cardenas Jr. and his own Valentine Car excelled around the difficult track set by Manuel Esparza (MEX), which saw rails drop throughout the course from numerous trying combinations. In only Valentine Car's second grand prix event, Cardenas Jr. was ecstatic with the performance of the 2009 Warmblood gelding, who was bred by Cardenas Jr.'s father. The duo also finished second in the $5,000 Suncast Commercial® Welcome Stake earlier in the week.
"All of the lines we're really long tonight and I was a little bit concerned about Valentine at the beginning. My first horse in the class struggled a bit in two of the lines and I thought that there may be a problem, but he was outstanding," said Cardenas Jr. "He was just incredible today. It's a great win for us both."
The duo sped through the jump-off, tackling the technical turns with ease and giving the crowd an enthusiastic lap around the George H. Morris Arena after crossing through the timers to secure the win.
"I've always looked up to Harold and think that he's a class rider. I thought he was pretty fast and wasn't sure if I could catch him, but my dad always says that this horse is very fast and he is," he explained. "He's quick across the ground and where I took a gamble was to the Ariat jump. It was somewhat of a blind turn the way that I came into it and he jumped it easily."
"He's a very clean horse. It's his number one quality. He has the will to not touch the rails," he added.
Valentine Car is one of the younger horses in Cardenas, Jr.'s string and he has high hopes for the gelding as he hopes the pair will be considered as a potential combination for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center in September of next year.
"He's a smart and quirky horse. He has an incredible class to him. He's related to my stallion Quincy Car and I'm hopeful that he will follow in his shoes. We're only planning on showing here in Tryon this season. This is home for us. Even though we're in Raleigh, this feels like it's in our backyard and we love it here," he elaborated. "We want to set lofty goals with him and we would love to represent Colombia here at the FEI World Equestrian Games next year."
To learn more about Tryon International Equestrian Center and to view a full list of weekly results, please visit www.tryon.com.