Atlanta Summer Classics Underway with International Flair
RELEASE: June 28, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Flashpoint Media Services
You hear it every year among those who exhibit at the summer series here, “We’re showing in Hotlanta,” which is generally a reference to the high temperatures, but for two months now it’s been Sergio Campos of the Florida-based Longwood Equestrian Center creating the real heat with his 10-year-old homebred mare Shakira do Jacare. Campos captured the top placing over a field of 30 international riders in the opening Welcome Show Jumping Stake presented by Classic Equine Equipment.
The starting field showcased riders from six countries outside the U.S., including a team from Ecuador as well as professionals from Puerto Rico, Columbia, Venezuela, Canada, and the winner’s home country of Brazil. Campos and Shakira do Jacare, whom he owns and trains, bested six jump-off contenders with a clear go in the seven-obstacle final round of the course designed by Michel Vaillancourt that challenged riders with a hairpin turn or two and a swift pace. The “Queen of Speed” as she [Shakira] is known around the circuits earned the title with a blazing final time of 33.068, far below the allotted 44-second limit.
Campos piloted three rides in the class, held in the Olympic Grand Prix arena of the Georgia International Horse Park. Of the three, two made the jump-off. “I actually thought all my horses jumped well,” said Campos following his victory. “I thought Michel put together a really challenging course for the start of the series,” he added. “It was really tough. Only six clean out of 30!"
Campos, who has captured a total of 27 career grand prix, attributed his success with Shakira to their experience in the show ring and her natural speed. The most troublesome spot on the course seemed to be the 6AB combination, where 80% of the field accumulated downed rails. Campos admitted it was a “scopey line.” To make that particularly difficult line work, Campos noted: “Shakira is not too scopey, but I know her so well now that I can make adjustments to make it easier for her,” he continued.
In a close second-place finish was rider-owner Carlos Ramierz aboard Amazonas with a time of 33.359; following in third was Geoff Case aboard the ADBF, Inc., owned Mashaallah in a time of 37.007, fourth went to Pablo Barrios riding Tibor for owner Anna Lisa Smith in 32.541 seconds with four faults, and rounding out the top five was Pablo Barrios with Harlow de Presle for owner Giancarlo Gelleni finishing with four faults in a time of 35.523.
Sergio and the Mill Creek Stables owned seven-year-old gelding Sancho had a great start to the youngster’s summer series placing fifth earlier in the seven- and eight-year-old young jumper qualifying class and a well-earned sixth in the afternoon’s Welcome Stake. Mill Creek Sandhya and Campos took the top honors in the same seven- and eight-year-old young jumper qualifier class while in the six-year-old Young Jumper division he placed third and sixth with Mill Creek Stables’ Early Morning and Downtown, respectively. Horses Helping Horses Kicks Off With $25,000 Hunter Classic
For the second year, AME Financial and Jim Pefanis presented the $25,000 Horses Helping Horses Open Hunter Classic with proceeds to benefit Old Friends Equine Retirement facility based in Georgetown, KY. And for the second year Elizabeth Towell Boyd of the Camden, SC-based Finally Farm claimed the victory, this time with Onassis, the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Sarah Ward.
Thirty-one horses came to show their support of Old Friends as well as vy for the top prize on a course designed by Vaillancourt. Set in the former Olympic arena at the Georgia International Horse Park, just entering the ring could have been enough to rattle some nerves, but even the youngest competitor, Hasbrouck Donovan at age 12 appeared right at home conversing the vast layout, even when the stadium lights took effect. Vaillancourt’s course of 12 obstacles, to be set at