San Juan Capistrano, CA – August 8, 2021 – Angel Karolyi rode S & L Sage to victory in the $25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Saturday, August 7, during the Blenheim August Festival in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Karolyi and the 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding were one of only two entries to navigate the first-round course without fault to advance to the jump-off in the Olympic Sand Arena, where the Olympic flag flew high in honor of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
As the crowd looked on, clear pathfinders Jamie Sailor and Fire Flash Toltien returned first for the short course and crossed the finish line with one rail down in a time of 43.351 seconds. With a tight time allowed set by course designer Mauricio Garcia, Sailor and Fire Flash Toltien would also pick up one time fault for a total score of five faults.
That left the door open for Karolyi and S & L Sage to sail to the win. While the pair finished clear over the fences, a finish time of 45.652 seconds would cost them three time faults but not the victory.
“I thought it was odd that Jamie had a time fault; she was plenty fast” said Karolyi of Sailor’s ride. “I went in and still made my same plan – jump-off like [she didn’t have a time fault], go fast enough but also be a little bit careful. You never know when you’ll have a rail, and then if you’re slow in the beginning, you’ve lost already. So, I still went pretty fast. I was a bit slower than her, but all the jumps stayed up, so I was happy!”
S & L Sage is generally competed in the junior/amateur jumper divisions by owner, and Karolyi’s student, Imani Mackani, but Mackani shared her mount to give Karolyi a go at Saturday’s featured class.
“We figured, ‘Why not give it a try?’” said Karolyi. “For me with him, it felt like plenty of course, but Sage responded beautifully. He knows me; I know him. I used to jump him in the grand prix classes. We made a couple adjustments throughout the week, and it came together today.”
As Karolyi entered the ring to accept his winning accolades, the theme song of the Olympic Games played over the loudspeakers, marking the culmination of three weeks of celebrating the U.S. Olympic teams. Throughout the Blenheim August Festival, the staff, spectators and exhibitors alike embraced the red, white and blue team USA theme, particularly on Saturday in celebration of the U.S. Jumping Team’s silver medal win.
Those on Karolyi’s team had even more to celebrate as Mackani was awarded a Blenheim photo frame and a $50 Topline Design Ribbon Wreath gift certificate and Karolyi was presented with a Shady Lady neck scarf, a $50 gift certificate to SmartPak as the winning trainer and the lion’s share of Saturday’s points toward the Markel Insurance 1.40m – 1.45m Jumper Series standings.
Saturday’s class marked the 11th of 15 classes in the series, which culminates in a $30,000+ finale at the Las Vegas National Horse Show in November.
Thus far, more than 66 riders have accumulated points toward the series standings, with the top 25 ultimately earning their spot in the final event. Leading the way in the standings heading into Saturday’s class was Jason McArdle with 58 points. (The full series standings are available to view here.)
$25,000 1.45m Silver Tour Markel Insurance Grand Prix ResultsPlace – Entry # – Horse – Rider – Faults/Time1. 869 – S & L Sage – Angel Karolyi – 0/3/45.652
2. 898 – Fire Flash Toltien – Jamie Sailor – 0/5/43.351
3. 159 – Centurion – Sloan Elmassian – 4/80.768
4. 854 – Dirobanta – Humberto Quirarte – 5/83.467
5. 832 – Icebreaker – Dakoda Mower – 8/78.895
6. 482 – Simpatica 33 – Wendy Lee Thompson – 12/82.399
For additional Silver Tour results, visit showgroundslive.com.
Photos: McCool Photography