Del Mar, CA
- Rain loomed over the grounds of the Del Mar Horse Park as the $30,000 Summer Festival Grand Prix, presented by SmartPak, got underway. It drizzled throughout the class, but the weather didn't stop Jamie Barge on Kylieco's Luebbo from earning her first Grand Prix win.
Jamie Barge and Luebbo
Due to the rain, the jumps for the Grand Prix were moved to ground that had not been used for previous classes. Although only 20 of the original 32 entries ventured out onto the wet course, the footing held up well.
FEI course designer Ivan Tagle presented a few tight rollbacks with options to go wider, kept the height to standard, and focused on the technical aspects. The eighth element on the course, a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination, and the final jump, a big airy oxer with lots of flowers, were the trouble spots. Only five pairs made it to the jump-off, and just two of those went double clean.
After the first three jump-off attempts scored one rail each, Nick Hein Ruus rode Big Red (Gerardo Pasquel, owner) double clear in 51.06. Last to go, Barge had the advantage of knowing what she had to do for the win. Shaving corners just a touch and taking advantage of her horse's big step, she crossed the timers clean in 44.41.
Nick Hein Ruus and Big Red
Young yet determined, Barge has made a name for herself on the California grand prix circuit. Earning a spot in several jump-offs and consistently bringing home ribbons, the big win had eluded her for a couple of seasons. Most recently, she finished 3rd in the Markel Insurance Grand Prix at the Blenheim Red, White, and Blue Classic on Kylieco's Lasse and was second in Friday's Markel Insurance Grand Prix with Luebbo.
She has been riding Luebbo, a 10-year-old Oldenberg, for two years now and she loves his 'I'll do my best' attitude. "I still can't believe it," she said of her win. "My horse has been good this week, jumping really well. I'm really proud of him today."
When asked if she considered scratching the class, she replied, "Honestly, yes! I almost scratched before I went in. And I thought, you know what, I'll jump the first jump, see how I feel," she explained. "I went in and he took me right to the first jump. So then I thought, okay I guess we're going."
On this date last year, Barge's coach Gabby Salick won this same grand prix, making the victory today that much sweeter.
Barge and Luebbo celebrate their first grand prix win
Starting tomorrow, Blenheim EquiSports welcomes the US Junior Hunter National Championship, West Coast. Classes commence for the Showpark Racing Festival on Wednesday, with a $7,500 CashCall Mortage U25 Qualifier on Friday, a $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday and the $40,000 Racing Festival Grand Prix, presented by the EQ Almanac, on Sunday.
$30,000 Summer Festival Grand Prix, presented by SmartPak
Place - Entry Number - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time
1. 109 - Luebbo - Jamie Barge - Kylieco - 0/0/44.419
2. 766 - Big Red - Nick Hein Ruus - Gerardo Pasquel - 0/0/51.060
3. 693 - Eminent - Mandy Porter - David Murdoch - 0/4/44.289
4. 911 - Taxo de La Nutria - Arturo Parada Vallejo - Arturo Parada Vallejo - 0/4/44.772
5. 938 - Pacifico - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - Eduardo Sanchez Navarro - 0/4/44.879
6. 388 - Semira de Saulieu - Lane Clarke - Brookelane Farms - 4/80.291
7. 132 - Domino - Saree Solanki - Tomboy Farms - 4/82.378
8. 815 - Coupe du Roet - Alejandro Mills - Armando Acevedo - 6/85.573
9. 876 - Trebon de La Nutria - Carlos Perez - Carlos Perez - 6/85.804
10. 108 - Lasse - Jamie Barge - Kylieco - 8/79.223
11. 757 - Cartoon - Jefferson Martins Maqueira - Jefferson Martins Maqueira - 8/81.862
12. 913 - Fantast - Arturo Parada Vallejo - Arturo Parada Vallejo - 8/83.624