SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA. – April 5, 2021 – The Blenheim EquiSports West Coast Jumping Tour debuted during Blenheim Spring Classic II, offering riders three tours categorized by height and prize money. Showcased in the Derby Field at the beautiful Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, the Silver Tour, held at 1.40m – 1.45m featured three unique competitions offering a total of $35,000. Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed technical courses all week long for riders to master. Kyle King and Etalon won the $2,500 1.40m Silver Tour Two-Phase on Tuesday; Jason McArdle and Elicole took home the win in the $7,500 1.40m Silver Tour Speed Stake on Wednesday and finishing off the week as the winner of the $25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Classic, sponsored by Markel Insurance, was Vani Khosla and Billy Mexico.
$25,000 1.45M SILVER TOUR CLASSIC
As the highlight class of the Silver Tour, the $25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Classic, sponsored by Markel Insurance, saw twenty-two horse and rider combinations battle it out for the top prize. The classic was also the second installment of the Markel Insurance Jumper Series. Palacios built a challenging track, truly testing the riders and horses. Galloping through the timers at 76.73 seconds, as the only pair to go clear in the first round, was Khosla and longtime mount Billy Mexico.
“I think there were questions all around the course,” recounted Khosla. “There was a big wide oxer bending to the wall and there were a lot of lines that walked differently than it looked. A very big triple bar to a very careful skinny on a very easy line, so there were a lot of questions out there today and a lot of square oxers. I think that is why people had rails all over the place.”
After purchasing the stallion from the Billy stud in 2014 as a nine-year-old, Khosla has had immense success thus far. Moving up from the 1.20m divisions to the 1.40m divisions, Khosla and Billy Mexico have won countless amounts of high-level jumper classes.
“He is my everything. He is my horse of a lifetime. He has brought my riding up to a level I have always dreamed, and he brings me up on a lot of my other horses. I have three other Billy stud horses that I have also been super successful with. He brought all of that into my life. There really are no words to express how meaningful that horse is to me and how much I love him.”
Coming in second place in the Silver Tour Classic was King aboard Coffee To Go. The fastest of the four faulters stopped the clock at 77.693 seconds. Finishing out the top three with a time of 78.493 seconds was Matt Archer and Luigi VD Bisschop.
All of the riders earned valuable points towards the Markel Insurance Jumper Series finale held at the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November. With upwards of $385,000 in prize money being awarded, the program is an amazing opportunity for all high-level jumpers. During the Blenheim EquiSports show season, there are fifteen qualifiers. A Leading Lady Rider and Leady Gentleman Rider bonus will be given at the finals as well.
$7,500 1.40M SILVER TOUR SPEED STAKE
Wednesday afternoon welcomed eighteen entries to the Derby Field to contest the $7,500 1.40m Silver Tour Speed Stake. Riders raced against the clock and emerging victorious was Jason McArdle and Elicole with clear round in a time of 68.968 seconds.
Elicole is a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Fairbanks Valley Farm LLC. McArdle has brought her along since the start of her show career which was the Blenheim Spring Classic Series in 2013.
Second place honors were given to Hillary Ridland and Guapa for their time of 70.473 seconds. Chandler Meadows and Christy JNR claimed the third place position for their time of 73.081 seconds.
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$2,500 1.40M SILVER TOUR
Out of nineteen entrees in the $2,500 1.40m Silver Tour Two-Phase on Tuesday afternoon, King and Etalon triumphed as the fastest pair in both phases. Second place honors went to McArdle and Elicole while third was captured by Kendall Bourgeois and Collin 4.
All Photos by McCool Photography