Tampa, FL - The shinning star during today's $30,000 Grand Prix of Tampa was Venezuelan Pablo Barrios aboard his top mount G & C Quick Star. The pair raced to the top of the leader board after completing a double clear effort in a time of 35.95 seconds. Today's competition marked the second day of the Tournament of Champions at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Philip J De Vita designed today's first round course and jump-off round that were held in the Covered Arena. The first round featured three double combinations, a triple bar, a liverpool, and two additional, smaller liverpool. Nine riders completed the first round without fault and qualified for the jump-off. They began by making two consecutive, sharp, left turns over two single verticals, before making a bending line to a single oxer that included one of the small liverpools. Riders then had to make a right turn to another single vertical before making a very sharp left turn to the vertical-to-oxer double combination. Each pair finished by making a right turn over a single vertical and then galloping to the bottom of the ring to jump the second part of the oxer-to-oxer double combination.
Leslie Howard and Raimond W were the first ones on course during the opening round. The pair successfully left all the rails in their cups to advance to the jump-off. Howard and Raimond W easily cleared all the obstacles and stopped the clock at 39.08 seconds, which would hold up for the fourth place award. Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo, owned by Coral Reef Ranch, were next on course and they also left all the fences standing. The pair's time of 38.04 seconds would beat Howards and eventually earn them the second place ribbon.
Margie Engle was next to attempt the shortened course with the winner of last week's Welcome Stake, Hidden Creek's Pamina L, owned by Hidden Creek Farm. They were able to beat Madden's time, but as they made their way to the finish line they took the top rail off one of the verticals. The duo had a four-fault total in a time of 36.39 seconds to garner the sixth place prize.
The time was shortened again when Pablo Barrios showed his first mount, G & C Sinatra, owned by Pablo Barrios and Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, over the jump-off course. They also had an unfortunate rail at one of the tall verticals for four faults, breaking the beam at 35.47 seconds to take home the fifth place honors. Engle tried to master the jump-off round again with her second mount, Indigo, owned by Gladewinds Farm. The pair accrued four faults when they lowered the height of the oxer with the small liverpool. They stopped the clock in 41.68 seconds and earned the seventh place ribbon.
Barrios was next on course with his second mount G & C Quick Star, owned by G & C Farm and Gustavo and Carolina. The pair picked up a fast pace to the first fence and soared over the obstacle. They chose a quick track and were able to leave all the fences standing as they blazed across the finish line in 35.95 seconds to win today's blue ribbon.
Canadian Hugh Graham rode King Ridge Stable's Fifth Estate 3E to the eighth place prize when they brought down rails at the first fence and the "B" portion of the double combination.
The final rider on course was also the youngest. Michael Murphy who was determined to be in the top of the field with Katina 12. The young rider was proficient as he piloted his mount to each obstacle, leaving all the rails in their cup. They tripped the timer at 38.60 seconds, just 6/10ths of a second behind Madden, and received the third place honors, sealing Barrios' victory.
"I tried to bring my two fast horses, I thought it would be a fast jump-off and that is why I picked these two," noted Barrios about G & C Sinatra and G & C Quick Star. "Sinatra is really good indoors and he had the faster time, but unfortunately I had a rail down."
Barrios continued, "Then I tried to go in the class with Quick Star who has been very quick this year. I knew she could win going at the end of the class as long as I had a nice track."
The nine-year-old KWPN mare has been paired with Barrios since December and they have already had a very successful winter season. "Quick Star has been amazing," he said. "She's very hot, but she likes leg in the take-off. It is weird because she runs to the fence, but in the end backs up a little bit and you need leg. It took me a little while to understand that, but now I know even if she gets fast to the fence I need to have leg so she jumps better. She also has a weird jump, but she is very careful and she is a winner. "
This year, Barrios plans to show at the Kentucky Horse Shows and Spruce Meadows. His goal is to show well in a number of FEI classes and finish in the top 30 of the rankings. Barrios will also be showing in the 2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational at the end of this week with Blanchee Z.
"She's young but she's been resting for two weeks and I think I will have a good shot because she is fresh," explained Barrios. "I want to see how she reacts in a stadium and how green she is to big stuff because I am considering her for the World Equestrian Games."
The 2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational will be hosting the best riders in the world as they compete for the "Crown Jewel" of show jumping. The event marks the conclusion of the two-week Tampa Equestrian Festival, and will be held on Saturday, April 10, under the lights at Raymond James Stadium.
For more information about the Tampa Bay Equestrian Festival please visit www.StadiumJumping.com.
RESULTS: Class 100, $30,000 GRAND PRIX OF FLORIDA CSI
Order - Entry # - Horse Name - Rider Name - Owner - JF1 - TF1 - AF1 - Time 1 - JF2 - TF2 - AF2 - Time 2
1 - 5 - G & C QUICK STAR 11 - PABLO BARRIOS - G & C FARM/GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL - 0 - 0 - 0 - 7.000 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 35.950
2 - 356 - CORAL REEF VIA VO - BEEZIE MADDEN - CORAL REEF RANCH - 0 - 0 - 0 - 2.000 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 38.040
3 - 262 - KATINA 12 - MICHAEL MURPHY - MICHAEL MURPHY - 0 - 0 - 0 - 9.000 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 38.600
4 - 60 - RAIMOND W - LESLIE HOWARD - LESLIE & PETER HOWARD - 0 - 0 - 0 - 1.000 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 39.080
5 - 2 - G & C SINATRA - PABLO BARRIOS - PABLO BARRIOS/GUSTAVO & CAROLINA MIRABAL - 0 - 0 - 0 - 4.000 - 4 - 0 - 4 - 35.470
6 - 12 - HIDDEN CREEK'S PAMINA L - MARGIE ENGLE - HIDDEN CREEK FARM - 0 - 0 - 0 - 3.000 - 4 - 0 - 4 - 36.390
7 - 103 - INDIGO - MARGIE ENGLE - GLADEWINDS FARM INC - 0 - 0 - 0 - 6.000 - 4 - 0 - 4 - 41.680
8 - 219 - FIFTH ESTATE 3E - HUGH GRAHAM - KING RIDGE STABLES - 0 - 0 - 0 - 8.000 - 8 - 0 - 8 - 40.290
9 - 26 - LITTLE JOHN - ELIZA SHUFORD - ELIZA SHUFORD - 0 - 0 - 0 - 42.800 - 16 - 0 - 16 - 42.800
10 - 107 - JUST AN ILLUSION - TAYLOR MCMURTRY - TAYLOR MCMURTRY - 4 - 0 - 4 - 75.110
11 - 61 - JEANS GLOVE VARNEL - LESLIE HOWARD - LESLIE & PETER HOWARD - 4 - 0 - 4 - 75.500
12 - 108 - GERONA 92 - MARY LISA LEFFLER - ROLLING ACRES FARM - 4 - 0 - 4 - 77.020
Photo Credit: Pablo Barrios blazed across the finish line after completing a double clear effort with G & C Quick Star to win the $30,000 Grand Prix of Florida. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.