Gonzalo Azcarraga and Zalerno Gallop to the Win in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix

Gonzalo Azcarraga and Zalerno

August 4, 2018 – Del Mar, CA – Of the 30 horse and rider combinations that competed on the grass field at the Del Mar Horse Park in the combined $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix and $2,500 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Jumper Classic, twelve completed the course without a fault to return for the jump-off. Twenty-eight-year-old Gonzalo Azcarraga of Mexico and his Zalerno, made their mark by stopping the clock in a blazing 41.71 seconds to take the win. Two U25 riders competed in the jump-off, and it was Pablo Vizcaino riding ZZ Top who was victorious.

Scott Starnes designed the track, which included two combinations, a triple bar, a liverpool, and several related lines. Of the twelve riders to return, six finished double clean, making for an exciting class until the final ride. First to return, Juan Carlos Martin del Campo and Paddington 92, set the time to beat, with a clean and speedy performance in 43.41 seconds. He held the lead until the eighth pair galloped in, Jaime Azcarraga aboard Verdinale. Fault-free and fast in 42.01 seconds, they took over the top spot.

Eleventh to go, Gonzalo Azcarraga, Jaime’s son, made daring inside turns and used the open spaces to his advantage, to cross the timers in a sizzling 41.71 seconds. Thrilling until the end, last to go Bjorn Ikast and Classini gave it a gallant effort, ultimately finishing in second place by a nose in a time of 42.00.

Gonzalo credited his Dutch stallion with the win. “Zalerno has been with me for quite some time now. He’s a very dependable and fun horse for me. Today was a great day for us, so we are really happy.”

Gonzalo Azcarraga and Zalerno with Brandon Seger, Melissa Brandes,
Josh Mullins, and Robert Ridland

Gonzalo is looking forward to the rest of this season’s competition with Zalerno and his other mounts. “We’ll go back to Mexico and do a few international shows there and see how the rest of the season goes from then on.”

To wrap-up the great day, the Azcarragas also tied for the Romfh Leading Open Jumper Rider Award, both earning a total of 25 points throughout the Showpark Series. Jaime came in to the class with 19 points and Gonzalo with 10. The only chance Gonzalo had to earn the award was with a win, which that he did. His father’s third place raised his points just enough to tie Gonzalo’s score.

Father and son keep it in the family! Jaime (left) and Gonzalo Azcarraga
tie to share the Romfh Leading Rider Open Jumper Award

Pablo Vizcaino and ZZ Top are Best in the Blenheim U25 Jumper Classic

Of the two riders who competed in the jump-off, Kelsey Maloney rode La Coco to a four-fault score in 43.64. Pablo Vizcaino and ZZ Top also had a four-fault score, but stopped the clock in 42.81 seconds. The pair’s effort was tops in the $2,500 Blenheim EquiSports U25 Jumper Classic, and also earned them a 7th place finish in the Markel Insurance Grand Prix. Vizcaino had a successful two weeks of competition in Del Mar, as the up-and-coming pair also finished 11th in last week’s FEI CSI2* $35,500 Gold Tour Grand Prix.

Pablo Vizcaino and ZZ Top

Sunday is not only the final day of the Showpark August Festival but also wraps-up a superb three-week Festival Series that included a highlight in every division of hunter-jumper sport. From an FEI CSI2*, to the West Coast’s USHJA Hunterdon Cup Equitation Classic and the USEF Junior Hunter National Championship and much more. The competition moves to San Juan Capistrano for the Blenheim Summer Classic, then returns to Del Mar for the Showpark Summer Classic and Showpark All Seasons Summer Classic, featuring grand prix events, medal finals and a host of special awards.

$25,000 1.45m Markel Insurance Grand Prix
Place – Entry Number – Horse – Rider – Owner – Faults/Time
1. 330 – Zalerno – Gonzalo Azcarraga – Gonzalo Azcarraga – 0/0/41.715
2. 384 – Classini – Bjorn Ikast – BBB Show Jumpers, LLC – 0/0/42.006
3. 327 – Verdinale – Jaime Azcarraga – Jaime Azcarraga – 0/0/42.017
4. 286 – Paddington 92 – Juan Carlos Martin del Campo – Juan Carlos Martin del Campo – 0/0/43.411
5. 227 – Firestone S – John Pearce – Nicole Teague – 0/0/43.576
6. 324 – Cawi II F Damgaard – Jaime Azcarraga – Jaime Azcarraga – 0/0/49.598
7. 275 – ZZ Top – Pablo Vizcaino – Pablo Vizcaino – 0/4/42.815
8. 178 – La Coco – Kelsey Maloney – Maloney Pony – 0/4/43.640
9. 282 – Nelson 212 – Ana Maria Martinez – Jose Alberto Martinez Barone – 0/4/44.779
10. 365 – Cyrano VD – Karl Cook – Signe Ostby – 0/4/46.307
11. 248 – Tornado – Guillermo Obligado – Samia Staehle – 0/9/50.441
12. 305 – Eckhart 2 – Amy Hess – Blue Tree Farms, LLC – 11/52.739

$2,500 Blenheim U25 Jumper Classic
Place – Entry Number – Horse – Rider – Owner – Faults/Time
1. 275 – ZZ Top – Pablo Vizcaino – Pablo Vizcaino – 0/4/42.815
2. 178 – La Coco – Kelsey Maloney – Maloney Pony – 0/4/43.640
3. 377 – Durango VDL – Shawn Casady – Highpoint Farm, LLC – 4/81.265
4. 376 – Juanita – Shawn Casady – Highpoint Farm, LLC – 4/82.007

Photos by Captured Moment Photography