June 2019 - Del Mar National – Hunter Jumper Week
Written by photos: Osteen
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 03:52
PDF Print E-mail


Mexican Olympian Enrique Gonzales wins big on Cinco De Mayo eve.

photos: Osteen

The 74th Annual Del Mar National Horse Show Hunter/Jumper week’s main event, the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar Presented by EQ International Real Estate, kept the nearly sold-out audience on the edge of thier seats Saturday, May 4. From the very beginning in the Land Rover Ride & Drive, to the final round in the jump-off, the crowd was entertained with heart-stopping competition.


Nicolas Hein Ruus and Evita won the Land Rover Ride & Drive.

The Ride and Drive kicked off the evening. Teams were comprised of a rider and horse who completed a short course of fences, and a rider who then jumped over their own mini fences and drove a Land Rover through a course of cones. As always, it was a crowd pleaser, this time with Nicolas Hein Ruus and Evita finishing the fastest.

Thirty-four pairs, representing 12 countries, took on the Grand Prix of Del Mar course, designed by Marina Azevedo of Brazil. The course was comprised of 13 obstacles with 16 total efforts with a time allowed of 82 seconds. It started with a seemingly simple vertical that ended up knocked down by the majority of the horses. It continued in a highly technical manner and with a tight time allowed.

Enrique Gonzales & Chacna.

“We had a great class tonight,” said show manager Dale Harvey. “The course was well-designed and all the fans enjoyed the competition. It’s always such a fun night in the Del Mar Arena when it’s full and the crowd is really into the class.”

Angel Karolyi of Venezuela and the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, April Moon, were first up in the class and set the bar high, with a fault free round within the time allowed. It took the next 25 rides to see another clear go. Uma O’Neill, who represents New Zealand, and Caville, a 13 year-old mare entered 26th in the order. They had a speedy round, leaving a stride out from fence 5 to 6 and crossing the finish timers with a clear round, challenging Karolyi to a jump-off.

Two rounds later, John Pearce, of Canada, and Firestone S, a 14 year-old gelding, made it three in the jump-off. The crowd cheered as world-renowned rider Enrique Gonzalez, of Mexico, and Chacna, a 12 year-old Hannoverian mare, entered the ring. The pair has won at Del Mar before and snagged a spot in the next round.

Jenny Karazissis and Big Shot earned Champion in the Green Hunter 3’6/3’9 Division.

The shortened jump-off course still allowed pairs to gallop around the large indoor arena, in between bending lines and roll-backs.

Karolyi got the jump-off started, with a beautiful, fast round, but unfortunately had the final fence down. Second in was O’Neill, and she had an eventful round. Leaving out a stride at the final fence, she was jumped out of her tack and fell off just past the timers, and still in the ribbons! Pearce had a fast pace throughout the jump-off, but had down jump 6 to give him four faults. Going last, Gonzales and Chacna left the jumps up and met the time allowed to take top honors.

The Del Mar National concluded Sunday with competition in other divisions.

Paige Walkenbach and D’Artagnan win the Pony Hunter Classic.

In the $25,000 Classic 1.40 Karl Cook and E’Special took home top honors, with Trudi Fletcher and Gee Whiz earning second and Wendy Lee Thompson and Simpatica 33 rounding out the top three placings.

The outside arenas had equally tough competition in the Hunter Classics. The Adult Hunter Classic was taken by Cynthia Hyde and Hey Sugar!, Peyten Seltzer and Que Creme won the Children’s Hunter Classic and Paige Walkenbach and D’Artagnan took home first in the Pony Hunter Classic. Sybil Rose and HLF Wanderlust earned first in the 3’3 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic and in the 3’3 Junior Hunter Classic, Ariana Marnell and Imagination took first. The 3’6 Amateur Owner Hunter Classic was taken by Michelle Filanc and Bayou and Payton Potter earned both first and second on The Silver Screen and Ernesto, respectively, in the 3’6 Junior Hunter Classic.

Excerpted from a Del Mar National press release.