The Insurance Company with Horse Sense

Mary Phelps
A Markel Equine Insurance Specialist

Markel Monday - Top Prize for Chris Pratt in the $30,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix at the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic

Chris Pratt and Vanotrouska (Photo:
Chris Pratt and Vanotrouska (Photo:

San Juan Capistrano, CA - On a beautiful day for a grand prix in Southern California, it was Chris Pratt and Vanotrouska (Luce del Sole, owner) for the win in the $30,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix. Second to last to go in the jump-off, Pratt slipped in a slick and smooth ride, narrowly beating the leading time. With twenty-six entries, nine were clean and five double clean. Second in the jump-off, Nathalie Manning and Con Spirit had a great time but an unfortunate rail in the combination for four in 40.40. Gabriella Salick and Centuria 2 were the first double clean, stopping the clock in a solid 41.34. The last few to go also posted clean rides, but neither Melissa Doddridge with Mucho Gusto in 42.46, or Tiffany Sullivan on Tristan in 44.18 could catch Salick.

Then came Pratt. Aboard the coppery chestnut Vanotrouska, he stole the top spot when he shaved one-tenth of a second off Salick's time for the win in 41.24.

Gabriella Salick and Centuria 2 (Photo:
Gabriella Salick and Centuria 2 (Photo:

"I thought it was a nice, well-built course for the horses that were here," the experienced Canadian rider explained. "My plan for the jump-off was to go medium speed. Last week I went fast and had eight faults."

Turns out that Vanotrouska is part of the family. "She's a 12-year-old mare that belongs to my wife's sister. So hopefully this will keep me in the family a little while longer."

Pratt said that he plans on competing at Blenheim shows for the rest of the summer season into fall.

After wrapping up the June Series, the shows move down to the Del Mar Horse Park in July.  Highlights over the three weeks include four grand prix classes, an International Hunter Derby and a new $10,000 1.40m Youngster-U25 Classic. 

Click here for Markel Insurance Grand Prix Series standings through Blenheim June Classic III.

Chris Pratt and Vanotrouska with Julian Bowen-Rees, Brandon Seger, Lauren Davis, Melissa Brandes, Robert Ridland and Chris Norden (Photo:
Chris Pratt and Vanotrouska with Julian Bowen-Rees, Brandon Seger, Lauren Davis, Melissa Brandes, Robert Ridland and Chris Norden (Photo:

RESULTS: $30,000 Markel Insurance 1.40m Grand Prix  
Place - Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time 
1  - 413 - Vanotrouska - Chris Pratt - Luce del Sole, LLC - 0/0/41.241
2  - 509 - Centuria 2 - Gabriella Salick - Gabriella Salick - 0/0/41.344
3  - 234 - Mucho Gusto - Melissa Doddridge - Melissa Doddridge - 0/0/42.462
4  - 640 - Tristan - Tiffany Sullivan - Haley Farms, LLC - 0/0/44.185
5  - 337 - Gabriela Z - Erin Nelson - Lazy Creek Ranch - 0/0/44.396
6  - 378 - Con Spirit - Nathalie Manning - Nathalie Manning - 0/4/40.404
7  - 623 - Uno Momento - Everardo Hegewisch - Everardo Hegewisch - 0/4/46.355
8  - 505 - Walters Finale - Kilian McGrath - Georgy Maskrey-Segesman - 0/8/44.136
9  - 674 - Sir Teddy - Nicole Haunert - Lynne Bollinger - 0/8/47.368
10 - 659 - Bert - Kristin Hardin - Emily Cahodes - 4/73.316
11 - 523 - Salerno - Kilian McGrath - Rolling Oaks Ranch - 4/74.112
12 - 408 - Poker de Virton - Taylor Marie Harris - Harris Equestrian, LLC - 4/75.726