Bracket Battle of Event Horses: ROUND 1

Guess what?  Round 1 is almost over!  Tomorrow we will move on to the Sweet Sixteen, but first we have to close out the final pairings with (4) POGGIO vs (5) JJ BABU, and (4) BOUNCE vs (5) PEPPERMINT GROVE.  We give you horses, you give us votes and comments, we all enjoy the discussion. 

The comments were a little thin yesterday; perhaps everyone was busy filling out a REAL bracket on espn.com, yahoo.com, cnnsi.com, rivals.com, cbssports.com, nbcsports.com, ncaasux.com, and iluvbrackets.com in preparation for the beginning of some other tournament or something.  Isn’t there like a basketball thingy starting soon?  Today?  Really?  I hadn’t heard.

Comment of the day: our Duke fan reveals her(him?)self.  A Maryland fan, I should have known…one of the most creative fanbases on the planet, at least when it comes to hating Duke.  Terps, I salute you (though I think Michigan St will be tough to beat in the second round).

From OneMoreForTheRoad:

It was me who said Duke sucks. But I mainly hate their basketball team and their funny looking coach AND their funny looking mascot (who my sister is still convinced is an elf and not a devil).
As a University of Maryland legacy and student I find it extremely hard to be nice to anyone who has a Duke shirt on.
[Also my mom would like to agree with John in that mainly ugly people go there]

Rat-face coach and ugly people.  Indeed.  [ed note: EN would like to apologize to our Duke readers.  Visionaire still carries a grudge from 1992.  For the record, EN recognizes Duke people as intelligent and well-educated members of society.]

YESTERDAY’S RESULTS  

(4) Prince Panache rolls on to face his longtime stablemate (1) Biko in the Sweet Sixteen.  (4)Ringwood Cockatoo ran circles (even through the start flags) around (5) Get Smart, but will face more of a challenge in (1) Toytown.  Are you ready for the Sweet 16?  I am!  But first…

DAVIDSON REGION

4.  POGGIO (II)

Like something out of a Disney movie, Pogi worked in the mines as a trail horse in the Cascade Mountains before he was rescued discovered by a friend of Amy Tryon.  The bay Throroughbred was notoriously difficult to ride, but he and Amy managed to form a partnership that took them to two Olympics (2004 and 2008) and two WEG teams (2002, 2006).  There, they earned a Team Gold, Individual Bronze (WEG), plus Team Bronze from the Olympics (where I believe he was one of the very few horses to showjump double clear in *both* rounds).  Poggio was 3rd at Rolex in 2002, in awful wet conditions, where he was also named “Best Conditioned Horse.”  Pogi was always a fan favorite to watch, even if his “RUN RUN RUN-chip-JUMP!!!!” style made you gasp a few times.   

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5.  JJ BABU

JJ Babu was one of the many reasons Bruce Davidson dominated US eventing throughout the 1980s.  Bruce bought him as a yearling, and developed him into a superstar.  In 1982, JJ was 3rd at Badminton; he followed this by winning Rolex CCI***, and finishing 11th at Burghley the next year.  He earned a spot on the 1984 Olympic team (Gold), finishing 13th individually.  He completed Badminton two more times, finishing 11th and 6th in ’85 and ’86.  He would also be second again at Burghley and Rolex, after winning a CCI*** in Stockholm in 1987.  Sadly, JJ Babu was destroyed at age 15 when he fractured a pastern bone at Fair Hill Horse Trials.  Nine seasons of advanced, and 12 CCIs was still a good, long, successful career.

AUSSIE/KIWI REGION

4.  BOUNCE

Partnered with Vaughn Jefferis in 1994, Bounce would become a top competitor for New Zealand.  He won the Individual Gold medal at the 1994 WEG at the Hague, Team Bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and Team Gold at the 1998 WEG in Rome.  Bounce was third at Badminton in ’94 (behind fellow NZ competitors Mark Todd and Blyth Tait). 

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5. PEPPERMINT GROVE

With Gillian Rolton, Peppermint Grove (“Fred”) was a member of two Australian gold medal Olympic teams (1992 and 1996), as well as the 1994 WEG.  He earned a very solid international record, including 4th at a CCI*** in New Zealand, and twice 7th at Saumur CCI*** (France) in 1993 and 1994.  Fred also finished first and second in ’95 and ’96 at the Australian Lochinvar CCI***.

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