Thermal, California, USA – March 20, 2021 – Forty-four horse and rider combinations battled it out in the grand prix arena for the $25,000 1.40m Open Classic, sponsored by Great American Insurance at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). Jumper riders at the DIHP have a wide choice of classes to compete in this week from FEI to national rated with generous prize money including the $250,000 FEI Grand Prix CSI 4* 1.55m, which will be held on Sunday.
The 1.40m Open course was designed by Marina Azevedo (BRA) and included three oxers off a short turn and a triple combination where the A portion vertical caught many of the 4 faulters. Halfway through the class only two riders were clean, Molly Tala and Hirado Blue and Uma O’Niel with Edelweiss. After the drag, eight more riders added their name to the jump off list.
Faster and faster they went with a long run gallop to the last jump making for an exciting jump off to the very end when last to go, Billy Mexico, with Vani Khosla, (USA) in the irons, sliced one more second off the leading time for the win, stopping the clock at 43.321.
“Billy Mexico is 16, I’ve had him since he was a nine-year-old and I’ve had a long and amazing career with him and we’re just out there having fun these days,” explained Khosla. “He is so competitive and he has so much joy just being out there doing it. It’s really just a special feeling. We’ve had such an amazing career I’m at the point where he tells me what he wants to do and we’re going to do that together and just make sure we’re having fun.”
Khosla has two of his sons, one is a nine-year-old that just moved up into the grand prixs and the other one is a seven-year-old who did really well in the seven-year-old classes. Khosla also just got a new mount, Incitatus, that she will be showing in the $250,000 FEI CSI 4* class on Sunday.
Billy Mexico had a big breeding season last year due to Covid and not showing. He did a 1.35m class earlier in the circuit that he won and he’s just working his way back into the swing of things.
“I think it’s really great,” said Khosla regarding the $250,000 class. “I really think they’ve tried to create that caliber giving us classes like that week after week and to give us a great final to work up to and end the circuit on.”
Finishing just behind Vani Khosla (USA) and Billy Mexico were Molly Talla (USA) and Hirado Blue with a time of 44.165 while Uma O’Neill (NZL) and Edelweiss fell into third with 45.59. Talla and O’Neill were the only two to clean in the first half of the class.
The Desert International Horse Park offered a large selection of jumper classes all circuit from Young Jumpers to the FEI CSI4*. Riders who frequent the circuit agree it is a great place to develop young jumpers because of the range of options offered for jumpers. The generous prize money also makes it affordable to stay and play.
Final Results – $25,000 Great American Open Classic 1.40m
1) Vani Khosla (USA) & Billy Mexico – 0 / 0 – 43.321
2) Molly Talla (USA) & Hirado Blue – 0 / 0 – 44.165
3) Uma O’Neill (NZL) & Edelweiss – 0 / 0 – 45.59
Source: Press release by Sydney Lowe for Desert International Horse Park – DIHP
Photos: © ESI Photography