Rich Fellers and Steelbi
Del Mar, CA – Of the 48 horse and rider combinations that took to the Grand Prix Field at the Del Mar Horse Park in the combined $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Classic and $2,500 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Jumper Classic, only five completed the course without fault to return for the jump-off. First clean and first to ride the shortened track, Rich Fellers and Steelbi, owned by Kathleen Waldorf, couldn’t be beat in the Markel Jumper Classic, while Mary Frances Looke and Sea Coast Ferley topped the U25 class.
The course was engineered by internationally-renowned designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, and included three one-stride combinations and quite a few tricky rollback turns. Time allowed proved to be a challenge for many of the riders, as the handful who made it to the jump-off rode a very tidy track. Of the twenty competitors who finished with time faults, four didn’t lower the height of any obstacles on course, including both of Keri Potter’s mounts – Jo Cho’s Diabolical C and Julia Koetting’s Bitalica – who crossed the timers just tenths of a second over the time allowed for a score of one fault each, ultimately finishing sixth and seventh.
Veterans Rich Fellers and Richard Spooner each had two horses in the jump-off, accompanied by Jason McArdle aboard Fairbank Valley Farm’s Elicole. Fellers and Steelbi were first to go, clean in a speedy 44.35 seconds, taking tight inside turns and using the galloping space to their advantage. Last to go was McArdle, who pulled off the only other double-clear round in 45.62 for second place. Fellers finished third on Judy Hinson’s HTH Crazy for Crown, scoring four faults in 45.98.
Rich Fellers and Steelbi with Josh Mullins, Kathy Hobstetter, Melissa Brandes and Brandon Seger
This was Steelbi’s first class at this level, so Fellers was happy with the youngster. “It was a fun jump-off!” exclaimed Fellers. He added, “Steelbi is very fast across the ground; she’s a 10-year-old and a real hot-blooded woman.”
Mary Frances Looke and Sea Coast Ferley Top the U25
Following in Potter’s tracks, Mary Frances Looke and Sea Coast Ferley rode a beautiful round, and no rails fell, but she stopped the clock just a touch over the time allowed, scoring two time faults. This almost clean effort was tops in the $2,500 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Jumper Classic, and also earned the pair 8th place in the Markel Insurance Jumper Classic.
New to this level, Looke rose above her nerves. She was thrilled. “It was my first U25 and I was very nervous, but I’m super excited to start this division with my new mare and move forward.”
There’s more high performance action coming to Showpark’s Ranch & Coast Classic. The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby kicks off the competition in the Grand Prix Field on Friday morning. Saturday afternoon welcomes both the $5,000 Interactive Mortgage Horses 10 & Under Futurity and culminates with the $60,000 Grand Prix of California, presented by Equ Lifestyle Boutique.
1. 326 – Steelbi – Rich Fellers – Kathleen Waldorf – 0/0/44.352
1. 534 – Sea Coast Ferley – Mary Frances Looke – Mary Frances Looke – 2/83.104
3. 599 – Cicomein VDL – Shawn Casady – HKC Collection, LLC – 4/81.551
4. 602 – Durango VDL – Shawn Casady – High Point Farm South, LLC – 8/81.521
5. 699 – Ce Ce Senior – Simon McCarthy – HKC Collection, LLC – 8/85.611
6. 203 – Quadrigus – Gabriela Pattinson – Susanne Coleman – 9/90.012
7. 201 – Dexceminka – Danielle Lean – Danielle Lean – 10/83.130
8. 364 – Concord 65 – Hannah Heidegger – Monarch International – 11/84.600
10. 533 – Caspar – Mary Frances Looke – Mary Frances Looke – 37/90.697
Photos by Captured Moment Photo