It’s a beautiful spring day here in southern California, the kind we wish we had in the summer! There’s a wonderful breeze this afternoon, bringing the break in the heat all the riders were hoping for. It’s still 88 degrees, but it’s not as scorching as it could be. Honoring the riders’ concerns about hard ground, the water trucks are still in motion, getting all the tracks in between the 2* and 3*.
As predicted, Ian Stark’s course rode well, rewarding forward horses who were able to come back after long gallop stretches. Every rider chose to take the bounce into the water option at 8. Considering most are going on to bigger courses at Kentucky and Jersey, it wasn’t a surprise. A huge shout out to the water truck crew who have been working non-stop to keep the footing perfect.
Our winners are James Alliston and Tivoli, who ended on their dressage score of 49.5. Yesterday James said that if the ground was alright, he was going for time. Tivoli found the footing agreeable as well, with the pair definitely riding at speed. For such an early event in the season, it was invigorating to see the pair gallop with perfect control throughout the course. Tivoli didn’t look twice at the water, clearly aware of what his job was. If he was tired, he sure didn’t look it!
Another Rolex pair, John Michael Durr, also went for time and finished his best weekend with Ruth Bley’s mare, Espirt de la Danse, to date. This pair also finished their weekend on their dressage score, a 52.4. These Rolex Rookies are now heading to Kentucky brimming with confidence from a successful weekend. What a wonderful time to have your partnership really cement together!
If you looked closely at the overnight standings, it was clear time was going to be a factor. Yet another Kentucky bound pair, Jolie Wentworth and Tracey Bowman’s Goodknight, took advantage of the great footing and also rode for time, making it easily. This moved them into third place, a fantastic final prep before the rolling hills of bluegrass.
Jolie and GoodKnight finished with one rail added to their dressage score for a final of 53.6. They edged out Matt Brown and Happenstance, who recorded two time in their first CIC 3* outing to finish on a 54.8 — a showing Matt will certainly be thrilled with.
For those of us lucky enough to watch the competition today, we saw quite a show. It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a tight and important competition this early in the season, and Galway Downs was definitely the place to be. With more divisions to come, this is definitely a destination event — not just a stop on your way to East.
We wish all our West Coast teams the best of luck and the safest of travel as they head East for the rest of their spring plans.