October 16, 2015—An exciting day of hunter and jumper events concluded tonight at the Del Mar International Horse Show with the $35,000 Del Mar Charity 1.50M, presented by Davlyn Farms. Today also saw the completion of the Grand Prix Hunter Derby Final, presented by Mark & Julie Hancock of Camelot Homes.
Friday's Grand Prix was a speed class, and Heiko Wahlers created a sweeping course that encouraged riders to set a good pace and gallop on. The course consisted of 12 obstacles and 14 jumping efforts. Across the diagonal, Wahlers set two combinations: 5a-b, an oxer to a vertical, and then in either a forward five or steadier six, 6a-b, a vertical to an oxer. Twenty-eight entries including Beezie Madden, Karl Cook, Eduardo Menezes, Georgina Bloomberg, Nayel Nassar, Kent Farrington, Jack Towell, Richard Spooner, Kirsten Coe and Lauren Hough accepted the challenge, but it was Richard Spooner and Chivas Z who left the rails intact in a time of 73.20. Second place went to Kent Farrington and Belle Fleur, who completed the course in 73.97 seconds, Enrique Gonzales and Chacna were clean in a time of 80.77 to claim third and Ashlee Bond on Ace of Hearts, fastest of the 4-faulters at 73.72, took home fourth place. Only two riders, Eduardo Menezes and Guillermo Obligado, did the diagonal combination to combination in five strides, and although both worked it out, they had trouble elsewhere on course.
In the hunter ring, style, grace and brilliance prevailed, as 39 of the nation's top hunters battled it out in the Grand Prix Hunter Derby Final, presented by Mark & Julie Hancock of Camelot Homes. Many riders rode multiple mounts, with Jenny Karazissis returning to the ring on six separate rides, and Buddy Brown, Michael Leon, Rose Carver and Meghan Harris campaigning three horses each. With so many brilliant rounds from horses and riders at the top of their game judges had some tough decisions to make, but in the end Jenny Karazissis aboard Emily Sukert's Legacy took home first, and second place also went to Jenny, this time on Hope Town Farms' Undeniable. Celano, owned by Robert Peters II, and ridden by Michael Leon earned third, and last year's champions, Buddy Brown and Finally Ours came in fourth place.
The evening contained an incredible fundraiser as well for Shelter to Soldier, a non-profit that rescuers a shelter dog, trains it to be a service dog and matches the dog with a Veteran at no cost to the veteran. Shelter to Soldier's motto "Saving Lives Two At A Time" is more than fitting, saving both a shelter dog and a veteran. With each donation, the money goes directly to funding for the dog's training, supplies, vet care and food. The charity had multiple live and silent auction items, including a painting from Donna Bernstein that she completed during the fundraiser, and the Charity Woof Cup Challenge teams. It was an incredible night supported by wonderful riders and sponsors, including the riders in tomorrow's Charity Woof Cup Challenge, Will Simpson, Mandy Porter, Enrique Gonzalez, Eduardo Menezes, Richard Spooner and many more who came to support the charity's efforts in providing our Veterans with the best service dogs.
Stay tuned Saturday for the $25,000 PCHA/Equine Insurance Children's/Adult Jumper Championship Final, Round 1 of the Onondarka Medal Finals, the $35,000 1.45M Sponsored by Robin Parsky, the Charity Woof Cup Challenge, and finally, the $150,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Del Mar.
You won't want to miss the live stream of the very special Onondarka Medal Finals and Charity Woof Cup Challenge on EQSportsNet and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Del Mar, exclusively on FEITV.