Alexandra Maracic and Lucky Times. Photo by SportFot.
Tryon, NC – Oct. 20, 2016 – Messenger Hill Farm, the Chicago-area hunter/jumper operation led by Jodi and Freddie Vazquez, had a winning week at Tryon International Equestrian Center Fall Week IV earning championships and top prizes. Freddie Vazquez rode Alexandra Maracic’s Lucky Times to the championship of the Bruno Del Grange 3’3” Performance Hunter division with two firsts, a second and a fourth over fences. The Vazquezes and Maracic agreed that the gray Oldenburg gelding was going so well they made the decision to compete in the $10,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Challenge Cup.
“I wasn’t even planning on doing the class this week but he went so well Wednesday and Thursday that we thought we might as well give it a shot,” Maracic said.
It was a good week for Maracic, who hails from Syosset, New York and was top equitation competitor during her junior years. She piloted Lucky Times to her first significant prize-money win in the $10,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Challenge Cup. They also earned top prizes in the Amateur-Owner 3’6” division, with a second, third and fourth and a second place in the handy round against formidable competition. Sunday the pair took third place in the $1,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic.
The two-round $10,000 Amateur-Owner Hunter Challenge Cup combined both the 3’3” and 3’6” heights and was held in the George H. Morris stadium. Maracic and Lucky Times earned 83 points in the first round and 86 in the second to seal the win.
“I thought I was a bit conservative in the first round,” she said. I ended up in second place going into the final round, so I had room to improve. The second round was not considered a handy round but it had some roll-backs and long gallops.”
Maracic describes Lucky Times as straightforward with a long stride and a great jump. She was very pleased with his performance and said he did everything she asked.
“It was so exciting,” she said about win. “It was even more special because my mom, dad and younger sister traveled all the way from New York to visit me. It was awesome.”
Maracic competes in both the hunters and jumpers and describes the hunters as challenging. “I really enjoy the handy rounds because it allows me to draw upon my equitation background,” she said. Maracic also turned in a top 10 performance on her jumper, Bente P, in the Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers.
Maracic sent out her congratulations to T. J. O’Mara, who just won back-to-back equitation finals at the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals East and Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal Final at the at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show. “The wins are so well-deserved,” she said. “He’s such an incredible rider.”
She knew both T. J. O’Mara from competing and his older sister Meg O’Mara from the University of Georgia where they rode on the NCEA team together. Maracic recently transferred to Penn State World Campus, a highly-regarded online program of Penn State University. The change allows her to focus on both studies and equestrian pursuits.
In the Messenger Hill Farm pony ranks, the Watrous sisters had a very strong outing. Chloe Watrous dominated the Medium Pony Hunter division earning the championship with Beaverwood’s Foxberry and the reserve championship with Crystal Acres Chocolatier. She also piloted her own Page 6 to the reserve championship of the Small Pony Hunter division.
Elodie Watrous and her Crystal Acres Chocolatier were champions of the Children’s Hunter Ponies and had top prizes in the division with her own Beaverwood’s Foxberry. The sisters teamed up by riding each other’s other second mounts in the under saddle classes to clinch the Watrous-earned championships in the pony ring.
After Jodi Vazquez warmed up Jamie Stryker’s Modigliani with a reserve championship in the Hopeful Hunters, Chloe Watrous produced first and second-place rounds to win the championship of the Pre-Children’s Hunter division. Meg Gehron and her own Talan earned a blue ribbon for their performance over fences in the Modified Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunters at 3’ 3”.
“We are thrilled with the efforts of the team,” said Jodi Vazquez. “From the grooms led by Arturo Novoa and our manager Jen Hauser to our clients and the horses, we are grateful to have enjoyed a great week of competition.”