Celebrating 15th Year at Georgia International Horse Park with the Atlanta Fall Classic Opener
RELEASE: November 12, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Robbi Meisel
Classic Company President Bob Bell is feeling pretty special thanks to the kind folks of the Georgia International Horse Park, City Manager Tony Lucas, and Randal Mills, the Mayor of Conyers, who proclaimed Friday, November 7 as “Bob Bell Day” in the city of Conyers.
The proclamation was an expression of appreciation to The Classic Company for 15 years of quality hunter/jumper events held at the former Olympic venue. Mayor Mills shared how Classic Company was the first major equestrian event to make it’s home in Conyers and remains the longest-running series of shows to-date. “I remember when we started here, there was no grand prix stadium and only a handful of rings, but the support of the community ensured big changes were in the future,” Bell recalled a prediction. Atlanta was chosen as the site for the 1996 Olympics, giving nearby Conyers the biggest honor in the equestrian community when the Georgia International Horse Park played host to the games. “Massive construction and reconstruction transformed this facility into a world class venue not only for the Olympics, but for all the horse shows to follow,” Bell commented. As for having an actual day in his honor, “That was a first! I didn’t know what to say,” a red-face Bell confessed.
The opening week of the Fall Classics was a cornucopia of excitement, beginning with the Welcome Jumper Classic and a star-studded field of 34 competitors taking on course designer Allen Rheinheimer’s sprawling 12-obstacle, 15-effort first-round layout. Given the tight time limit of 76 seconds to navigate twisty turns, a triple, and double combination it’s not too surprising that a mere 11 made it to the jump-off round. Among them Olympic veteran Norman Dello Joio with two mounts, the Wembley Farms, Inc., entry Notre Star in a clear first-round time of 72.671 and wife Jeanie’s KLM Jimmy finishing quick and clear in 72.393.
Based on speed, the abbreviated 7 fence [8 efforts] was a serpentine design stretching from one corner of the vast arena to the other. Only two riders came away with double-clear rounds—the afternoon’s victor, Norman Dello Joio, with Notre Star in 42.266 and Wembley barn mate Clementine Goutal riding the Senarmont Management SA-owned Wintina Deux in a time of 42.279. Remaining results for the class were: third-place Tommy Feigel with Bling It On for owners Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Waters with two faults in 49.336, fourth place was Norman Dello Joio with KLM Jimmy for owner Jeanie Dello Joio with four faults in 41.726, and the fifth position to Kyle King and RMW San Friese for owner Rocky Mountain Warmbloods with four faults in 42.051.
Saturday saw the lion’s share of Zone 4 Championships with more than 125 riders competing and the newly added Silver Cup Equitation classes’ results were revealed. For 2009 the winners were; Adult Silver Cup—Tracy Slaughter, Pony Silver Cup—Chloe Medford, Child Silver Cup—Alexa Boggio, and Junior Silver Cup—Chase Boggio. Complete Zone 4 results can be viewed online at the Classic Company web site. The Zone 4 Champions will be listed in a special congratulatory ad placed in The Chronicle of the Horse
Qualifying for the $25,000 Barry Lane Memorial Jumper Classic was held on Saturday, too, with more than 70 riders vying for a spot. Forty-eight returned for Sunday morning’s big event. And after six years of hard-fought attempts show veterinarian Dr. Juan Gamboa and his 18-year-old Belgian partner. Partizan. lead the victory gallop for 2009. “After the passing of my longtime friend, 3 Bones, my brother gave him [Partizan] to me, thinking we would make a good match. He was right,” Gamboa said.
Rheinheimer spared no punches with the children and adult competitors, “It was a good, but hard course. Very technical, you had to ride smart—and everyone knows how I like those,” Gamboa laughed. Despite the 95-second allowance for round one, Gamboa and Partizan made fast tracks with a time of 83.565. Seventeen riders advanced to the final 47-second round, “Allen kept it safe by giving us really only one spot to run and run we did!” Gamboa said of their clear finish in 34.029.
Afterwards the exuberant doctor couldn’t thank his family at DFG—Daniel and Cathy Geitner and JF Gagne—nearly enough, “I wouldn’t be here if not for their support all these years,” Gamboa concluded.
Last year’s winner Alissa Kinsey with Grisset placed second, and third place went to Jenna Friedman and Kabaret De Cer. The fourth spot also went to Friedman with the Fox Meadow Farm-owned Jordy, and completing the top five was Hayley Waters with Rocky. The icing on Dr. Juan’s cake was learning his son Nicolas was also a champion of the day—winning the Short Stirrup Classic and Zone 4 Reserve Championship aboard new pony, Just Another Kid (owned by Rebecca Cooley). “I’m so proud of Nico,” papa Gamboa said. The good doctor will not be competing next week as he’s been selected to serve as a veterinarian delegate for the FEI in Bolivia. “It’s exciting and a real honor, but I will miss being here,” Gamboa concluded. Nicholas Dello Joio and Malcolm Triumphant in EMO Grand Prix
Nicholas Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, provided the crescendo for an action-packed first week of the Atlanta Fall Classics by besting some of the nations most revered riders in the $25,000 Atlanta Fall Grand Prix, presented by EMO Insurance.
Thirty-three took their turn at surviving Rheinheimer’s lengthy 13-fence [16-effort] challenge. Archer, FL-resident Jenny Childs with Contharo were the first pair to beat the 92-second limit with a clean 86.210 ride. Following right after, Nicholas Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, ensured a jump-off round by taking Judy Richter’s entry Malcolm clear in 87.010. “Allen’s been building great courses all week. I wasn’t too worried about the first round thanks to the time allowed. I was planning to go inside to the liverpool at fence 3 and with that time I was able to ride the way I wanted to,” Nicholas Dello Joio began. “Everything was difficult—oxer to oxer [9AB]—he [Allen] got a good number clean so that made it an exciting jump-off.”
By the end of the first round a total of 10 horses had secured a place in the dash for cash finale. Rheinheimer’s deciding test included an option of a two stride up and down the bank into a hard left turn over a double combination-vertical to oxer or take the scenic route around the bank and possibly lose precious seconds. Nicholas and the flashy 12-year-old Concord gelding would be the first to tackle the 8 effort 49-second limited short course, a position most riders dread. “I think I had the advantage in going first and being able to do that [the bank]. It put a little pressure on those to come who might not have chanced the bank,” he said.
Dello Joio’s strategy paid off with a clear ride in 38.859, while several horses who tried the bank dropped the rail of the vertical as back hooves skimmed across. Chuck Waters of Sparr, FL, was the only other rider to pilot a clear round as he landed 747 in a time of 40.161. Former World Equestrian Games champion Norman Dello Joio was the only competitor with multiple mounts in the final round, yet the day would belong to his son Nicholas. “Thanks go to my dad. We talked about whether to change the plan for the bank in the jump-off and he told me to just stick to my plan. He felt if all went well I should be in the top two. And Malcolm has so much experience—I just trusted him,” Nicholas said after his victory gallop.
Malcolm was father Norman’s illustrious mount of many previous events. “Dad got Malcolm when he was seven and brought him along to become the great horse he is. I’m lucky, dad and the owner (Judy Ritcher) decided to give him to me right before Spruce Meadows this year. We did well at Spruce and had our first win this summer at the Old Salem show. He’s a great ride,” Nicholas said of his new partner.
Nicholas’ mom and dad will get to enjoy a little fun in between show weeks. “They’re going to the aquarium and doing a little scuba diving while I head back to school!” But there are no hard feelings since Nicholas and Malcolm will be back in the arena this weekend for a shot at two more $25,000 payouts.
Official top five results of the Atlanta Fall Grand Prix were:
1st Place — Nicholas Dello Joio and Malcolm, owned by Judy Ritcher
2nd Place — Chuck Waters and 747, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Waters
3rd Place — Clementine Goutal and Kelline Fonroy, owned by Cloverleaf Farm
4th Place — Daniel Geitner and Trading Places, owned by Kyle Register
5th Place — David Jennings and Marcus Aurelius, owned by Jennings
Week Two of the Atlanta Fall series will boast even more action with the NCE Finals, two big $25,000 Jumper Classics, $10,000 Child-Adult Jumper Classic, and $10,000 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. For complete results of the Atlanta Fall Classics Week 1, please visit www.horseshowsonline.com
or call the office at (843) 768-5503.