The highlight event of Sacramento International World Cup™ Week took place Saturday night amidst a completely sold out house at the indoor arena of Murieta Equestrian Center. The $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento presented by Lasher's Elk Grove Dodge Ram had 29 entries with 10 nations represented: United States, Canada, Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, and France.
The start of the first round saw solid efforts from many of the world's greatest horses and riders, but no entry was able to clear the Olaf Petersen Jr designed 1.60m course until 14th in the order. Kenneth Vinther of Denmark and Colicchio cleared the 16 jumping efforts including one double and one triple combination, but had 1 time fault.
A few rounds later, Jamie Barge and Luebbo completed the first fault-free round and the arena erupted in applause. In quick succession, eight more pairs completed clear rounds, guaranteeing a competitive jump off. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a bit nervous at the beginning of the class," said course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. "I was very happy for the first clear round."
The exciting jump off had much of the crowd on their feet, as each horse and rider raced the clock around the short course. In the end, six riders turned in clear jump off rounds, the fastest of which was Wilhelm Genn of Germany aboard Bugatti, a 12-year-old chestnut KWPN gelding owned by Eduardo Leon.
"I was hoping I got a chance to run for it today and it worked out," said Genn. "[Bugatti] loves the crowd and he gets excited, which makes him better because he's a very lazy horse and so it all kind of played in my favor."
Genn has had Bugatti since he was five years old and has taken his time to develop the gelding. "Between last year and this year he really turned professional," said Genn of Bugatti. "Last year we could not have done what we did tonight. So it just shows how important it is to let these horses grow up, especially if they are careful and sensitive. He's just a fantastic horse."
Coming in half a second behind Genn was hometown hero Karrie Rufer aboard her 12-year-old bay Belgian warmblood gelding Georgie d'Auvray EC. [Georgie is] so game, and he loves the crowd, that's what was fantastic about tonight," said Rufer. "You could hear the last line of the jump off people getting excited for the last jump, and that's really a beautiful thing because you don't experience it very often." This result was particularly meaningful to Rufer as her family and close friends were able to attend.
Rounding out the podium in third place was another California native, Karl Cook aboard Caillou, an 11-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding owned by Signe Ostby. "It was my horse's first World Cup™ qualifier class and I couldn't be prouder of how he did," said Cook of Caillou. "I was happy with how I executed the plan that we walked and how it all came together."
The $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento presented by Lasher's Elk Grove Dodge Ram was the highlight event of two weeks of great competition at the Sacramento International Horse Show.
"The show went really well," said Dale Harvey, CEO of West Palms Events. "This class was amazing, and we were excited to have such great riders here, and a great course designer, and amazing results. To have a sold-out class with beyond full stands and to have to turn people away is a nice problem to have."