Conyers, GA—July 27, 2008—The finale week of the 2008 Atlanta Summer Classics did not disappoint competitors or spectators. With everything from the naming of Junior Poobah to Hunter Champions to Grand Prix arena thrills.
Hardin Towell kicked off the final week of action with a victory in Thursday evening’s Lucky Sevens Welcome Stake presented by Flashpoint Media Services. A strong field of competitors took on course designer Allen Rheinheimer. “It was pretty straight forward. Not overly technical.” Towell who won last weekend’s Grand Prix aboard Cotopaxi II commented. All a part of Rheinheimer’s famous motto, “Make’em feel welcomed tonight so I can size’em up for the Prix.” A point proven by the 11 clear first rounds. With a generous 80 second allowance the 11 jump –13 effort layout of sweeping turns, two double combinations, and big tracks gave Rheinheimer just what he needed…insight.
Towell had one mount for the evening, his 7-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare Boo Vanhect Kastanjehof. “I got her in Florida from Kevin Babbington. When I first got her I just did some Welcome Stakes around here and a few mini prix. Since she’s young I just haven’t moved her up yet, right now I’m just letting her take her time. Maybe a prix at the end of the year.” Towell said of the scopey girl. They had a clear fast first round time of 70.562. Hardin appeared quite unfazed by the reality that his very young mare had not only held her own but had beaten out such veteran pairs as Deborah Stephens and All Star or Kyle King and Tibor. “I think she’s going to be a really nice horse.” he said simply. The deciding round was comprised of 8 obstacles to be cleared in less than 47 seconds. Kitt Ritter piloted Jumbo Jet through another flawless round as well as the lead in 35.780. “Boo” and Hardin followed with a quicker time clean time of 34.275. Nine others tried but failed to dethrone the dynamic duo.
Once the dust settled all official results declared Hardin and Boo the victors. Second place went to Centennial Farm, Inc entry All Star with Deborah Stephens in the irons with a clear time of 34.985. Third to the Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc owned Ultimo and rider Jorge Zamudio going clear in 35.059. Fourth place went to the youngest rider Kitt Ritter aboard Jumbo Jet with a final clear of 35.780 and completing the top five was rider Kyle King partnered with the Bonnie Smith owned Tibor and a clear time of 35.797.
Shifting to the hunter rings, Friday saw Canton, GA resident Terry Brown scored a pair of Summer Series Championships. “We so appreciate Classic Company, they always produce a top notch horse show.” said an over joyed Brown. She took the Green Working and Green Conformation Circuit titles riding Tasty. “He’s developing into all I hoped for. Really starting to come to the party.” Brown smiled as she discussed her partner, “Becoming a real contender. He’s going to make a nice working hunter.” Indeed, Tasty is currently ranked 3rd in the country for his division. The pair will compete in Kentucky before taking the month of August off, then on to Capital Challenge and Harrisburg for the Indoor season. Professional rider Hunt Tosh of Cumming, GA took the Regular Working Championship for the series riding the Brooke Sule owned Cinco. Camden, SC based Elizabeth Boyd ended the summer series on a high note as Pre Green Hunter Champion riding Coco Channel for owner Catherine Gore. A complete listing of the summer series champions can be found online at http://www.horseshowsonline.com
Last week spotlighted the wee warriors aka the pony riders with the naming of the Grand Kahuna Champions, so how do you possibly match that dubious distinction? “Easy,” began Classic Company president Bob Bell, “with the Junior Poobah! [Bell borrowed the name from a Broadway show] It’s similar in concept to the Pony Kahuna format, junior riders acquire points throughout two days of showing both in the over fence and under saddle sections.” Aside from giving the young riders a chuckle and good time the Junior Poobah events aid in preparing them for the upcoming Indoor season where many of the national junior titles are decided. The 2008 Most Supreme Junior Poobah is Molly Gardner of Charlotte, NC riding Orient. Along with bragging rights Molly received a custom cooler, an Essex Classics shirt and gift certificates.
Show jumpers took center stage of the finale with Saturday’s $25,000 Louise Salter Memorial Grand Prix. Derek Petersen partnered with Lazaro the entry of Jordan Coyne had the evening’s last curtain call with another big win.
“I enjoyed the course.” Petersen commented of the Allen Rheinheimer 13 jump [16 effort] design. The 8-year-old Dutch bred gelding had no issue navigating the turns that snaked the length of the former Olympic arena. “The triple [5ABC] got some people with it’s not being quite 4 strides.” Derek referenced one of the technical spots on the course, coming off the #4 triple bar riders had to calculate quickly the number of strides needed to get to and through the combination set of vertical to vertical to oxer out. Petersen succeeded in getting both his mounts across the vast ring with no faults in the first round, Lazaro in 77.964 and Heaven Bound in 78.014.
Only 8 others would join them in the dash for the cash. Taking no chances, Petersen double checked his lucky Antares saddle, said a small prayer, and waited his turn on the 47-second 8-obstacle track. “I liked the jump off. It was interesting with the bank.” The evening’s victor said. Rheinheimer’s rolling course offered up the option- to the wise-the ability to “short cut” from oxer #8 across the island, but caution was needed in “how much” momentum horse’s had as they made a hard left turn off the bank to clear fence #10, a vertical. “I didn’t know what a couple of them were going to do there. Some tried to jump on the bank then off the bank, but it blows up trying to see coming around that corner to #10. So you had to think carefully about what to do.”
Winning 3 out of 6 grand prix by age 8 is not too shabby for a horse who’s owner bought him sight unseen. “Jordan bought him as a 6 year-old on the recommendation of Sergio Campos, but didn’t see him until the truck arrived.” Despite a little nervousness prior to Lazaro’s arrival Petersen was immediately impressed with the youngster and compares him to the famed Promised Land now. “I really believe he’s going to be truly special.” (As if to prove Petersen’s faith in him on Sunday morning Lazaro and Jordan won the Junior-Amateur Jumper Classic with one of only three double clear rounds.)
Team Lazaro’s winning time for the Grand Prix was 37.106. Second place went to last week’s champ Hardin Towell riding the entry of Mr. And Mrs. Ernest Oare, Copado with a clean time of 38.140. Third place was Stransky’s Mission Farms Inc. rider Jorge Zamudio and Ultimo with a fault free time of 38.848. USET veteran rider Deborah Stephens and Callaway 4 took fourth place for owner Centennial Farm Inc. with a clear time of 39.757. And finishing the top five was owner-rider Elizabeth Boyd and First Lady with a clean time of 43.443.
The Atlanta Classics will return in November for the three-week fall series with showing taking place Wednesday through Sunday each week. Classes begin daily at 8AM until approximately 4:30PM and the public is invited. For more information on upcoming events or complete results on the Summer Classics visit http://www.classiccompany.com
or call the office at 843-768-5503.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/atlanta-summer-classic-finale-07-08.html">It’s An Action Packed Week for the Atlanta Summer Classics Finale</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com