Canadian Rider John Pearce Wins the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix
Indio, CA - March 8, 2003 - John Pearce of Stouffville, Ontario, riding Air Jordan captured the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix during the final week of the HITS Indio Desert Circuit. Pearce bested a field of fifty-four horse/rider combinations, and was the fastest of three double-clears in an eight-horse jump-off. Cathleen Calvert and Quietude finished in second place. Third place went to Molly Talla and Mr. Pacific.
Grand Prix course designer, Conrad Homfeld, set a challenging 13-obstacle course that included one double combination-fence 9, and one triple combination-fence 12. The triple cost a number of riders their clear round and helped to narrow the field to eight horses. There were a few heartbreaks along the way-Eva Gonda and El Campeons So Long left all the rails up but went fractions over the time allowed. Helen McNaught and Lexicon, winners of the circuit's opening $50,000 Grand Prix, also incurred a time-fault in their first round.
The final eight horses advanced to a shortened 6-fence jump-off course. Molly Talla and Camaron Hills Shan Roe were first in the order. Talla incurred four faults in a time of 35.54 seconds. Talla then followed up on her second mount Mr. Pacific, doing better this time with a clear round in 31.07 seconds-good enough for third place.
John Pearce was third in the order on Jamco's Champagne. Pearce delivered a four-fault performance in 33.32 seconds. Richard Spooner and Robinson encountered some problems in their round. The pair had four knockdowns and a time fault, finishing with a total of 41 faults.
Cathleen Calvert and Quietude gave the crowd the second clear round. Their time of 30.99 seconds edged out Molly Talla and put them on top. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and El Campeons Petri incurred four faults at the double and finished with a time of 30.04 seconds. Their performance put them in fourth place.
Seventh in the order was John Pearce on his second mount, Air Jordan. The pair sailed through the course leaving all the rails up in the winning time of 29.86 seconds. Guy Thomas and Cease Fire finished out the field with a four-fault performance that put them in fifth place.
Friday's $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix was a qualifying class for the New Marshall & Sterling League National Indoor Finals and the King Shavings U.S. Grand Prix League Invitational Finals. The indoor finals will be held at Worcester's Centrum Centre in Worcester, Massachusetts, September 17-21. The King Shavings U.S. Grand Prix League Finals will be held in Culpeper, Virginia, September 24-28. With the addition of the Marshall & Sterling League indoor finals, qualifiers will have the opportunity to ride in two $100,000 Grand Prix classes over two consecutive weeks.
Ariat Grand Prix - Friday, March 7, 2003
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