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A Lark for Clarke in the $40,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix

RELEASE: April 8, 2013

Lane Clarke and Semira de Saulieu, with representatives from Summit General Insurance Agency and Blenheim EquiSports
Lane Clarke and Semira de Saulieu, with representatives from Summit General Insurance Agency and Blenheim EquiSports
San Juan Capistrano, CA
- On a gorgeous Southern California afternoon, forty-five pairs attempted to answer the questions asked by German course designer Olaf Peterson, Jr. in the $40,000 Spring Classic II Grand Prix, presented by Summit General Insurance Agency. Seemingly impossible to master, half the class entered the field without a single duo going clean. Some of our nation's top riders made a bid to no avail, including veteran Hap Hansen, Olympian Will Simpson and young phenom Lucy Davis. It wasn't until the twenty-fifth galloped in, Canadian Ben Asselin riding Rush, did spectators see all the rails remain in their cups.

With twenty more giving it a go, six managed to finish fault free and three more left the jumps up but stopped the clock just a touch too late. Directly after Asselin, Australian Lane Clarke was clean on Semira de Saulieu (Charlotte Gadbois, owner), a few horses later, Colombian John Perez mastered the course on his first ride Utopia, a feat he repeated later in the class on his second mount, Ranville (Tani Zeidler, owner). Former World Champion Eric Navet aboard Signe Ostby's Quanto Fino 2 made it a four man battle for the win. Soon after, two young female talents joined the jump-off group, American Paris Sellon on her own Heracross and Brazilian Josephina Nor-Lantzman aboard Chello Z (Josephina Nor Stables, owner).

Peterson was pleased. "We had a strong field, with a lot of quality. And so I wanted it to be a little bit harder with not many clear rounds. We had seven, some with time faults and a lot of four faulters so I was happy with that. It was full of excitement, drama, happiness, which makes great sport."

With six countries represented, the tension mounted as the riders returned to ride for the win. First to go Asselin collected eight faults and finished seventh overall. Next in was Clarke aboard Semira de Saulieu. The pair finished double clean in a time of 50.66, which ultimately could not be beat. Also double clear was Nor-Lantzman in 51.68, just a second too slow to take home second place. Last to go in the jump-off was Perez on Ranville, the only other double clean in 52.35, earning the pair third place. Perez on Utopia, Sellon on Heracross and Navet on Quanto Fino 2 each lowered the height of one jump, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Just time faults kept Rusty Stewart, Leslie Steele and Paris Sellon on her second mount from returning for round two. Ten horse and rider combinations finished with a four fault score in round one, resulting in just under half the class completing the challenge with one jump down or better.

When asked about trying to catch Clarke's time, Nor-Lantzman commented, "I wasted a second around one turn on a roll back, I think that's probably where I lost the class but all in all was happy with two clean rounds, what more can you ask for?"

After a trying course and a competitive field, the day belonged to Clarke. "I really believe a lot in Semira. She's fantastic. I've only done one other grand prix on this horse about a year and a half ago and she was amazing. She won that, too."

Place - Horse - Rider - Owner - Faults/Time

1st - Semira De Saulieu - Lane Clarke - Charlotte Gadbois - 0/0/50.662
2nd - Chello Z - Josephina Nor-Lantzman - Josephina Nor Stables, LLC - 0/0/51.687
3rd - Ranville - John Perez - Tani Zeidler - 0/0/52.351
4th - Utopia - John Perez - John Perez - 0/4/51.614
5th - Heracross - Paris Sellon - Paris Sellon - 0/4/53.346
6th - Quanto Fino 2 - Eric Navet - Signe Ostby - 0/4/54.310
7th - Rush - Ben Asselin - Attache Stables - 0/8/50.108
8th - Bristol - Rusty Stewart - Grey Fox Farm - 1/81.944
9th - Oh My Goodness - Leslie Steele - Leslie Steele - 2/82.458
10th - Axl Rose - Paris Sellon - Paris Sellon - 2/82.718
11th - Little Miss Sunshine - Allison Kroff - Allison Kroff - 4/78.154
12th - Eleonora - Jennifer Serek - Shin Shin Group - 4/78.406