The second installment of the Temecula Valley National Horse Show series commenced Wednesday morning, with a record number of horses stabled at Galway Downs to compete in Nilforushan Equisport Events’ inaugural circuit. With an even larger field in each class than Week 1 due to heightened entries, competition was in no short supply in any ring. The Audi Grand Prix Arena hosted day one’s big winner John Pearce, who rode Firestone S and Chantico to the greatest pay out of the day as the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake champion and runner-up.
Facing a large field of contenders, entries in the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake couldn’t afford a mistake during the first go around course designer Frédéric Cottier’s (FRA) 13-effort track if they hoped to earn a spot in the victory gallop. With 17 pairs mastering the course and staying in the ring for an immediate jump-off after a clean first trip, riding the abridged track conservatively was not an option.
Second in the ring, Mandy Porter and WT Ca Pow! were the early pathfinders, crossing the timers in a quick jump-off time of 29.119 seconds to set the standard for the rest of the class. Porter and Wild Turkey Farm, LLC’s gelding enjoyed a 10-trip lead, but were eventually overtaken by John Pearce and Nicole Teague’s Firestone S with a fiery time of 27.805 seconds. Nine more horse-and-rider combinations qualified for the second phase of riding, with only Pearce himself even coming close to breaking the beam quick enough.
Riding his own Chantico, Pearce was one of the last of the field still in the hunt for the lead. Slicing around turns in the jump-off, he and 13-year-old Chantico ultimately crossed the finish line in a quick and clear 28.596 seconds, earning the pair second position with only a few left to ride. With the remaining contenders dropping rails, Pearce was solidified as the one-two winner of the $5,000 Moon Valley Nursery 1.35m Welcome Stake during Week II. Ariel Black and Eminent, owned by David Murdoch, clinched the third position with a double clean ride in 28.902 seconds.
“I am one of those people that go in and does the best I can do and hope that I get the best result,” Pearce shared. “I didn’t feel like I had to win today, it just happened to be. I’m a competitor by nature and every time I go in the ring, no matter what class, I try to win. I didn’t really have a plan to win, I just always plan to win.”
Place / Rider / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. John Pearce / Firestone S / Nicole Teague / 0 / 0 / 27.805
2. John Pearce / Chantico / John Pearce / 0 / 0 / 28.596
3. Ariel Black / Eminent / David Murdoch / 0 / 0 / 28.902
4. Lindsay Archer / Jarpur / Rhys Farms / 0 / 0 / 29.055
5. Mandy Porter / WT Ca Pow! / Wild Turkey Farm, LLC / 0 / 0 / 29.119
6. Carolyn Salas / Acapulco / Dusty Blackwood / 0 / 0 / 29.828
7. Michelle Parker / Bella Sofia / Antonio Ramos / 0 / 0 / 29.833
8. Francie Nilforushan / Clarinius / Ali Nilforushan / 0 / 0 / 29.854