McIntosh Posts First Sonoma Grand Prix Win with Lexito

[SONOMA, CA] The Sonoma Horse Park’s HMI June Classic kicked off the summer season on a high note by highlighting every discipline with the $20,000 CWD 1.35m Grand Prix, the $10,000 Equestrian’s Concierge Open Equitation Challenge and the $5,000 Crown Affair-Yellow Dog Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby.  Toni McIntosh on Lexito (P2 Capital LLC, owner) were the fastest pair for the win, while Kristen Hardin and Bert (Emily Cohodes, owner) galloped to second and Lindsay Ramar-Costigan on her own Rindo rounding out the top three placings.

Toni McIntosh and Lexito.  Photo Credit: Deb Dawson

Of the twenty-seven pairs, eight went fault-free, and another nine had 4 fault scores.

The 1.35m track presented a nice opportunity to prepare for national level classes and included both a double and triple combination, plus a brand new high-tech obstacle, the Circle Oak Equine Jump. The impressive fence incorporated innovative wave-imagery motion through the use of a solar-powered box mounted on the standard.

Several riders had multiple rides in the jump-off: Peter Breakwell came back with Lucas (No Drama, owner) and Rachel Dow’s Mountain King, while Hardin had Pamela Levin’s Aran and Leonidas in the second round as well as Bert.

The jump-off track was tight and efficient and gave riders multiple chances for daring inside turns. The class got progressively more exciting as riders posted faster and faster times.

“I was able to get four strides from the triple to the skinny easily and that allowed me to shave off the extra time,” said McIntosh of her winning round in 43.65. “My horse is super forward and fast and I can trust him.” The win was especially sweet being her first Grand Prix blue at the Sonoma Horse Park.

Photo Credit: Deb Dawson

          Equitation Victory for Daniel Ighani and Ransome Rombauer

The $10,000 Equestrian’s Concierge Equitation Classic offered on opportunity for 14 teams to bring their best to the stage. Taking place over two days, Friday and Saturday, in a two-round open format, the class separated the two-person teams - one member rode a 3’ course and the other competed on a 3’6” course. The highest combined first-day scores of both riders received awards and the points transferred over to combine to the second day.

The course design for both members was the same other than the height discrepancy and asked the competitors several challenging questions. Right off the bat, many riders chose to make an inside turn to fence 1, which mirrored the difficulty and efficiency of the rest of course, featuring multiple insides turns, a triple combination, and creative fences such as a canoe for fence 9 before finishing to an oxer at fence 10. The winning combined score of the night went to Hugh Mutch and Rebecca Reyes, with Ighani and Rombauer finishing second.

Photo Credit: Deb Dawson

The course for Round 2 asked several technical questions, with the top-finishing riders opting to take a direct four-stride approach from fence 1 to 2 before rolling back to a one-stride to a five-stride from 3 a-b to 4. Fence 5 was followed by a option at 6 a-b, with the top riders opting to do the bending two-stride, after which was a forward nine-stride from fences 7 to 8, tight rollback to 9, and finishing in six strides to fence 10.

Mutch and Reyes competed in an exciting work-off with Ighani and Rombauer after tying for first place, ultimately ending up taking home the red ribbon while Ighani and Rombauer were crowned champions of the 2014 Equestrian’s Concierge Equitation Challenge.

          Finally Ours and Buddy Brown Bring Home the Derby Blue

It was a blue-ribbon round for Buddy Brown on Finally Ours (Derby Hill, owner) on Friday afternoon in the Crown Affair-Yellow Dog Farm USHJA National Hunter Derby.  A competitive group of forty-three hunters jumped in the Classic Round.

The top 12 to return for the Handy Round all boasted scores of 83 and upwards, with Brown and Finally Ours earning an impressive 94 in the Handy, combined with his 92 from the earlier round, sweeping both rounds to win the Derby with a combined score of 186.00.

Second place went to Instagram (Madeline Fithian, owner) and Benson Carroll with a final score of 179, and Sabrina Hellman’s Woodstock, ridden by Olivia Hellman, rounded out the top three placings with a final score of 173.

Sonoma Horse Park proudly presents incredible events for spectators and exhibitors alike. Five years young, the Headlands Management has taken a facility and made it a show place. Next on the calendar are two ‘AA’ weeks in late July, the HMI Equestrian Classic and the Giant Steps Charity Classic & Gala, presented by Gucci.