San Juan Capistrano, Canada – September 26, 2021 – Laura Hite (USA) and Calypso VD Zuuthoeve put the final exclamation point on an exciting season at Blenheim EquiSports with victory in the $100,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” Grand Prix on September 25.
Held as the grand finale of the three-part Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” High Performance Jumper Series, Saturday’s class welcomed 27 entries, all competing for both prize money and final points toward the $20,000 Interactive Mortgage Leading Rider Bonus.
Renowned course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio set a challenging track for the highlight event, and as rails fell throughout the first-round course, it was only Hite (USA) on Calypso VD Zuuthoeve and Derek Chang (USA) aboard Chappie who qualified to advance to the jump-off.
With the order of go for the class based on the Rolex U.S. Show Jumping Rider Ranking List, Derek Chang (USA) and his own Chappie were the first to produce a clear round and therefore also the first to return for the jump-off. As a rail fell from a vertical late in their second-round course, the pair finished with four faults in a time of 46.087 seconds.
For Hite (USA), she knew that meant that she solely needed a clear round to clinch the win, and Calypso VD Zuuthoeve delivered.
“That was a lot of fun!” said Hite who crossed the finish in 48.535 seconds for the victory. “Anthony’s course was a very challenging, technical course, which actually I prefer because my horse is so rideable and adjustable. I can go long; I can go short. Everything seemed to be on a half-stride or an option, so a lot of times I just had to ride off of my instinct and trust my horse.”
“I’ve been a partner with Calypso for many, many years,” continued Hite of the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding. “He’s just unbelievable, and we’re just really in sync. He takes good care of me. I was just trying to be clear. We had one plan if Derek was clear and a different plan if he had a rail, so I was just trying to be a little careful. My horse will do anything that I ask him, so kudos to him.”
Prior to the start of Saturday’s jump-off, Blenheim EquiSports president Robert Ridland and Hillary Ridland recognized long-time sponsors of the sport Gregg and Evette DeLong of Interactive Mortgage.
Ridland emphasized that the DeLong’s support of high-performance jumping on the West Coast is critical and allows riders and trainers to gain entry into the sport without having to pay the added fee for a larger purse.
Thanks to the DeLong’s backing, the 2021 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” High Performance Jumper Series showcased three grand prix classes held at the national standard, including two $75,000 1.50m grand prix events in the spring and Saturday’s $100,000 grand prix, all at a discounted entry fee.
“I wanted to thank Blenheim EquiSports for putting on this wonderful show and Interactive Mortgage for sponsoring it. Without sponsors, this wouldn’t be possible,” concluded Hite.
Final Results – $100,000 Interactive Mortgage “Ticket to Ride” Grand Prix
1) Laura Hite (USA) & Calypso VD Zuuthoeve – 0 / 0 – 48.535
2) Derek Chang (USA) & Chappie – 0 / 4 – 46.087
3) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Icarus – 4 / 72.934
4) Misti Cassar (USA) & Mylord Cornet – 4 / 75.901
5) Keri Potter (USA) & Ariell La Sirene – 4 / 77.026
6) Charlie Jones (GBR) & Charismo Z – 4 / 78.349
7) Jason McArdle (USA) & Mr. Incredible – 5 / 79.453
8) Savannah Jenkins (USA) & Comrado – 8 / 76.133
9) Charlie Jones (GBR) & Gerko III Van De Zeilhoek – 8 / 77.123
10) Stephanie Gershon (USA) & C’est Roberto – 8 / 77.820
Source: Press Release from Blenheim EquiSports
Photo: © McCool Photography