With all the leaders of the sport charging to the wire in the opening five-star class at the Longines Masters in Los Angeles, Italian Emanuele Gaudiano was poised for greatness today. The crafty rider aboard Guess 6, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, bested former world champion Steve Guerdat of Switzerland by a full second to win the speed class on a clear round and a final time of 66.26 seconds.
“It was a really fast class, easy to ride, even if we had to be careful as the poles are quite light,” Emanuele said after the class. “My mare is a little bit young, but she has a lot of qualities, and she is really quick on the field. She is the perfect partner for speed classes like this one.”
Steve and his Oldenburg gelding Concetto Son took the lead early on and led the 1.45 m class for several rounds on a time of 67.42 before Emanuele found the finish flags, and the Swiss pair would ultimately settle for second. Patrice Delaveau (FRA) and Leontine Ledimar HDC nabbed third on 67.61.
West Coast native Richard Spooner was the highest placed American in fourth, capturing a time of 67.95 seconds aboard his own stunning veteran, 17-year-old Chivas Z.
After the five-star kickoff class, the opening Gala of the Longines Masters was held, where celeb equestrians such as Iggy Azalea and Kaley Cuoco mingled with the equestrian pros and heiresses on the red carpet for a fully black tie affair. There was also a full concert at the end of the night by Santi Serra and JAIN.
Classes kick off Friday at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time starting with the 1.10 m Just One Eye Trophy. There will be two CSI2* classes in the early afternoon, followed by a CSI5* class with a jump-off (1.50 m) and the finale class, the CSI5* Longines Speed Challenge set to 1.45 m at 8:30 p.m.