When Gonzalo Azcárraga (MEX) crossed the finish of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara, he didn’t know whether he had won or lost. To his surprise, he had done neither. He tied.
In a history-making result, Azcárraga, riding Fabio, and Alberto Sanchez-Cozar (MEX) aboard Union de la Nutria completed Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) jump-off in identical times of 48.95 seconds. Lorenza O’Farrill (MEX) and Queens Darling finished third with 4 faults in 48.95 seconds.
"I actually didn't know what time Alberto had done," Azcárraga said. "I was just waiting for the result, and I couldn't see the [scoreboard] whether I was first or second. I just heard a scream from the audience, 'You're tied! You're tied!'"
The top three were the only combinations to advance to the jump-off after a challenging first round course saw rails fall throughout. In the jump-off, O’Farrill had the disadvantage of going first. While putting the pressure on with a quick time, she and her longtime mount pulled a rail toward the end of the shortened course.
After Sanchez-Cozar laid down a clear round, Azcárraga had to equal the feat. Not only did he replicate the clear, but he also finished on an identical time, down to the hundredth of a second. The tie for victory marks the first in the history of the North American League.
“I liked everything about what my horse [did today],” Sanchez-Cozar said. “He was clean and covered the obstacles like I wanted. I didn’t ride that fast because Lorenza had a rail. I was just waiting to see the outcome from Gonzalo. I am very happy. It was a good competition, and it’s a good position [to be in].”
The top two Mexican riders from the North American League advance to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas (USA) in April. Azcárraga and Sanchez-Cozar, tied on 19 points, are also tied as the second-best among Mexican riders.
“I’m absolutely blown away by [Fabio],” Azcárraga said. “This week has probably been the best week of my life. I’ve had a rough couple of years with Grand Prix horses. To come at this level now is just a dream come true.”
Karl Cook (USA) maintains his lead in the West Coast sub league standings of the North American League with 49 points, followed by Ashlee Bond (ISR) with 39 points and Will Simpson (USA) with 34 points.
On the East Coast, Brian Moggre (USA) is the leader with 56 points, ahead of Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden (USA) with 49 points and Adrienne Sternlicht (USA), who has 46 points.
The North American League continues in Wellington (USA) on 2 February 2020.
Full results here.