Atlanta Fall Classics
Conyers, GA - Nov. 23, 2008
As the 3 o’clock hour rolled around a crowd lined the end field of the Olympic arena to cheer their favorites in the featured event, another $25,000 Grand Prix presented by EMO Insurance. Vaillancourt’s 13 obstacle [16 efforts] proved what a design virtuoso he truly is. From the 24 who endeavored to beat the layout only two emerged unscathed.
Even with an 86 second allowance the “scope test”, as today’s victor Archer, FL resident Derek Petersen deemed it, retired three horses retired and three were eliminated. Petersen gave his observation of the hot spot on the course, “In that triple combination [vertical-oxer-oxer] those two oxers were wide and a little short in there so you had to kick a bit more.”
Petersen and Lazaro, the 8 year-old Belgium gelding owned by Jordan Coyne, were 10th in the order and the first clear round, stopping the clock in a very fast 75.12. Eight more would attempt and fail until 21st in the order Bjorn Ikast and Braveheart made it clear in 80.49 seconds.
“The last combination [11AB], the oxer jumping in was really wide so you had to ride that well and then it was short for the vertical out so you had to set up and bump’em a little there to ensure leaving that rail up.” Petersen pointed out the other trouble area for so many horses. “It was definitely a good test for this horse, a new level and he’s ready for the next challenge now.” he added about the spunky young gelding.
Scene two could have been billed as dual of champions, with Lazaro versus Braveheart battling a 50 second time limit to safely negotiate a curvy 8 fence gauntlet.
“I just wanted to leave the jumps up mainly!” joked Petersen before adding, “I just tried to keep a good pace. Normally I have to go a lot faster here because 4 to 6 guys running behind or me trying to catch them, but it was kind of nice to go one on one.”
The pair finished clear in a comfortable 41.046. Braveheart was giving Lazaro a run for it, but after an unfortunate rail down dashed his chance Ikast elected to retire from the field.
“I have no problem losing to a good rider and horse. You [Derek] were the better man today.” Ikast said to Petersen. In very good humor Petersen suggested perhaps Lazaro had been drinking a Red Bull because “he just seem to have wings today and kicked it up a whole new notch!” then offered another idea, “probably was his magic Antares saddle and new bridle along with our red, white, blue Patriotic ensemble.”
All joking aside team Petersen is very pleased with Lazaro’s performance and now looks forward to some family holiday time before the new season begins. No doubt Lazaro will find some extra treats in his stocking this year!
For more information or results on the Fall Classics visit www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 770-602-2510