Hosting its third grand prix of the four-week series, the Temecula Valley National Horse Show resumed Saturday at Galway Downs with competitors coming out in large numbers to test their skills in the titular event of the week, the $40,000 MediVet Equine National Grand Prix. Held in the Audi Grand Prix Arena, presented by Evergate Stables, the class featured 33 partnerships eager for victory, with John Pearce adding yet another victory to his trophy case in Temecula, as he and Firestone S overcame the field as the swiftest double-clean pair to secure the greatest stake of the prize money.
John Pearce and Firestone S. Photo by Phelps Sports.
The first round course, designed by Anderson Lima (BRA), consisted of 15 efforts at heights of 1.40m and 1.45m to test the pack of contenders from five countries, with the 75-second time-allowed proving tough to attain for a number of entries. Third to ride in the initial order, Susan Artes and Laurence Z served as the first successful pathfinders, with Olympic champion Will Simpson and Whoop De Doo immediately forcing a jump-off as the second team with a fault-free effort. Also advancing to the second round of riding, Lindsay Archer with the reins on Jarpur, Chenoa Mcelvain riding Wallstreet RC, Volpi and Foster 39 and Pearce aboard Firestone S each added their names to the list of returners to keep themselves in contention for the top prize.
The abridged 8-fence jump-off track saw six eligible horse-and-rider combinations return to the ring in reverse order of the sequence in which they qualified. First to tackle the jump-off pattern, Artes directed Laurence Z to a quick and clean round in 39.175 seconds to set the pace, but were quickly overtaken by the always-speedy Simpson and Whoop De Doo, who tripped the timers in 37.592 seconds with all the rails still up.
Nearly matching the leading pair, Archer and Jarpur put in an almost identical time of 37.594 seconds, but downed one rail to incur 4 faults against them. The only junior rider earning a spot in the jump-off, Volpi jockeyed her own Foster 39 to an impressive performance as the duo sliced across the ring, surpassing all the earlier competition with their clear time of 37.424 seconds to propel to the top spot with only one challenger left to go.
John Pearce and Firestone S. Photo by Phelps Sports
Closing out the night as the final exhibitor, Pearce left nothing to chance, galloping Nicole Teague’s Firestone S at full tilt in an attempt to go for the gold, crossing the finish line with all the obstacles intact in 36.865 seconds to put them at the top of the leaderboard and secure first place in the $40,000 MediVet Equine National Grand Prix.
“It was a very exciting jump-off,” commented an exuberant Pearce. “I’m just thrilled with my horse every day. I haven’t had him that long and every day I’m getting more and more connected with him. He is really loving my ride and getting more and more careful and faster in the jump-off, so I couldn’t be happier with the way my horse jumped today. It’s just not possible – we were so together today and it was great, a really good feeling. Thank you very much to MediVet for their sponsorship and to Anderson Lima for his terrific course design once again. It made the whole event just about perfect.”
Pearce’s win with Firestone S is a welcome addition to his growing collection, having also earned the lead spot in classes such as the $10,000 Cypress Point Stables 1.40m Jumpers and the $7,500 Interactive Mortgage 10 & Under Futurity Classic aboard multiple horses over the course of the past two weeks. Closing out Saturday’s highlight class just behind Pearce and Firestone S, Volpi and Foster 39 claimed the runner-up position, while Simpson and Coxe Horses, LLC’s Whoop De Doo rounded out the top three in the rankings.
Photo by Phelps Sports
$40,000 MediVet Equine National Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / R2 Time
1. Firestone S / John Pearce / 0 / 73.057 / 0 / 36.865
2. Foster 39 / Alex Volpi / 0 / 73.842 / 0 / 37.424
3. Whoop De Doo / Will Simpson / 0 / 74.515 / 0 / 37.592
4. Laurence Z / Susan Artes / 0 / 75.211 / 0 / 39.175
5. Jarpur / Lindsay Archer / 0 / 72.587 / 4 / 37.594
6. Wallstreet RC / Chenoa Mcelvain / 0 / 75.049 / 4 / 38.683
7. The Gladiator / Tiffany Sullivan / 4 / 71.918
8. Mylord Cornet / Harley Brown / 4 / 72.679
9. Wt Ca Pow! / Mandy Porter / 4 / 72.996
10. Chicharito / Will Simpson / 4 / 74.259
11. Apex / Emma Reichow / 4 / 74.320
12. Dereusa S / Femke Courchaine / 4 / 74.452