Friends and fans gathered at the Del Mar Horse Park on Saturday afternoon for the $50,000 Grand Prix of Showpark, presented by EquiJet. Nick Gegen dominated the day going clear on both of his entries, Coral Reef Ranch, LLC’s Baloufino and Arc de Triomphe (Neaulani Farms, owner). Ultimately, Gegen and Baloufino produced the only double clean effort for the win.
Designed by Mexico’s Catsy Cruz, the thirteen-obstacle track involved numerous bending lines and rollback turns. The course also demanded time management from the riders, with an 84 second time allowed that caused quite a few time faults.
The specifications called for the top six riders to return for the jump-off, with their faults carrying over from the first round. Gegen and Baloufino returned first, delivering a clean round in a smooth 42.13 seconds.
“I tried to carry enough pace at the beginning to make sure I would be fast enough, and then in the last part I was a bit conservative,” remarked Gegen, reflecting on his winning strategy. “I wouldn’t have changed anything, even if I could.”
The remaining clear jump-off rounds, Enrique Gonzalez and E2 Stable’s Tapatia and Nicole Shahinian-Simpson aboard Silver Raven Farms, LLC’s Akuna Mattata, were carrying four faults from the first round. Not able to turn in a double clear, they finished second and third for the day.
Gegen praised Baloufino as a worthy partner. “He fights for you. He wants to help you and he wants to win, which is the best kind of horse to ride.”
During the awards ceremony, the EquiJet 1.50m Grand Prix Leading Rider Circuit Award was announced. After winning the $60,000 Grand Prix of California, the $30,000 Blenheim June 2 Grand Prix and second place in the $50,000 Blenheim Spring IV Grand Prix, with Neil Jones Equestrian’s Chacco, Carly Anthony could not be beat for the victory. Natasha Traurig accepted the award on behalf of Anthony and Neil Jones Equestrian.
Anthony, who is currently competing in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, will receive a Leading Rider Sash and a Gift Certificate for a one-way domestic flight for one horse. Congratulations from all of us at Blenheim EquiSports and many thanks to EquiJet for their support and sponsorship this season.
Tomorrow the three sections of the competitive CPHA Foundation Medal Finals will wrap up the Showpark Summer Classic. Next week at the Del Mar Horse Park is the Showpark All Seasons Summer Tournament, featuring the $25,000 1.45m All Seasons Grand Prix.