May 2018 - Bitalica Is Brilliant
Written by CRM
Sunday, 29 April 2018 17:15
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Keri potter claims top honors in inaugural $80,000 csi 3* grand prix.

photos: Kim F. Miller

It was a spectacular Saturday afternoon at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, as 23 competitors representing eight countries rode for the win in the $80,000 CSI3* Gold Tour Grand Prix. Seven riders posted clear rounds and returned for a remarkable race against the clock. Third to go in the jump off, Keri Potter (USA) aboard the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Bitalica (Julia Koetting, owner), beat the leading time held by USA’s Zazou Hoffman to take her second win of the week.

Earning Bitalica’s trust has been key to success, says $80,000 3* winner Keri Potter. (see story, this issue)

Keri Potter & Bitalica fly to the win.

World Cup Champions, Olympic Medalists, and CSI5* athletes, mixed with up-and-coming horses and riders, all faced the track challenges set by FEI Course Designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. that included a combination, a large California Grizzly Bear wall, an open water obstacle, related bending lines, scopey oxers and tall verticals.

The afternoon opened with a welcome speech from Blenheim EquiSports President Robert Ridland as well as recognition of the newly formed Founders Club, a group of passionate equestrians who want to raise the level of the sport on the West Coast. With $80,000 in prize money and all-important FEI status, the show marks a “rebirth” for the venue that first hosted international competition in 2000, Ridland said.

Along with being thrilled about her horses’ victories, Potter echoed many in praising the competition. “The FEI classes have been a big step up for California. It raises the horses and riders to a certain level that we should be at in order to compete with the rest of the world.”

Everardo Hegewisch & Ircos IV press through the jump-off timers to finish sixth.

Zazou Hoffman & Sampson II were second.

Guillermo Obligado & Tornado scale one of the Oaks International Grand Prix Field’s beautiful new jumps. They were seventh.

Canadian Jim Ifko & Un Diamant des Forets were third.

Harley Brown & Mylord Cornet race through a rollback turn as Founders Club members enjoy a center-ring view of the action. The Australian rider was fourth.

Guy Thomas & Jonkheer Z were fifth.

HITS Million & World Cup class winner Nayel Nassar gave someone else a chance to win this time around.

Cece thinks her mom’s win is dog-gone exciting!