Luke Tokaruk Captures First Career Grand Prix in Colorado
RELEASE: July 17, 2008
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Cindy Grisolia
Talk about a Rocky Mountain High. Luke Tokaruk of the Aiken, SC-based Tokaruk Show Stables, earned his first grand prix victory this Saturday, winning the $25,000 High Prairie Grand Prix aboard his own Lucius 35 at the Colorado Circuit Opener.
Both Luke and his brother Michael, aboard Lord Byron, were entered in the grand prix, the highlight of Week One. Both the Tokaruks described the huge course, done by Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios, as “big and tough.” Indeed, only four horse-and-rider teams out of 32 entries went clean in the long first round.
“When we walked the course, we thought it best to just aim for double clean,” said Luke. “The whole week, with Leopoldo’s courses, there were maybe two or three clean in each class. So we thought that would be the average for the prix,” he added.
In the lengthy jump off—with a time allowed of 60 seconds, Luke was the last of the four contenders. “Everyone else had rails, so I just had to go double clean. I just decided to just go around smooth and careful,” he noted, something Lucius, who’s better known around the barn as The Professor, is quite good at.
The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding was imported from Germany just last winter, and has been partnered with Luke for only a few months. “He’s been just great,” said Luke of the big gray. “Unlike the riders this week, he was unaffected by the high altitude here.”
Indeed. Michael and Lord Byron captured fourth place in the prix and earlier in the week the elder Tokaruk earned champion honors in the Baby Green Hunters riding the barn’s Surreal. He was also reserve champion in the regular working hunters with Lindsay Strafuss’s Polaris and piloted Roger Rabbit to a third place ribbon in the 1.30 jumpers.
Strafuss and Polaris, meanwhile, won the USEF Hunt Seat Medal, while client Jaclyn Ruocco was fourth in the Adult Jumper Classic with her horse Lemon Drop.
“It’s been great out here,” added Luke of the stable’s first show at the Colorado Horse Park. “It’s a great facility and everyone has been really accommodating and welcoming. Obviously, we’re going to be coming back!”
The Tokaruk Show Stable will continue on in Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Classic through next week. For more information visit www.tokarukshowstables.com