Luis Larrazabal and Quintus Fabius. Photos ©LizCrawleyPhotography.
Devin Seek and Valentino Rise to Occasion in $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby
Mill Spring, NC – July 11, 2016 – Luis Larrazabal of Wellington, FL and Quintus Fabius rode to a spectacular win in the $25,000 Under 25 Grand Prix to conclude Tryon Summer II at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), stopping the clock in 38.777 seconds for the win. Abigail McArdle of Wellington, FL and Contessina Della Caccia almost stole the win, finishing just fifteen hundredths of a second off the winning pace to earn a time of 38.785 seconds. Louise Graves of Franklin, TN and Zavira took third place, completing the course in 41.564 seconds.
Capturing his first Under 25 Grand Prix win with Quintus Fabius, Larrazabal explained the 2007 Hanoverian gelding (Quality x Lady P), owned by Isabela Pacanins, just recently moved up to contest this height over the past year. Speeding through the jump-off round to narrowly edge McArdle for the win, Larrazabal was elated with the victory and described his initial plan after walking the track set by Martin Otto (GER).
“When I walked the course I was impressed. I’ve done the other two Under 25 classes here and this was for sure the toughest so far,” he explained. “This horse is new to this height so when I was done walking the course my goal was to really just do my best.”
“I thought to myself that if I went clear around this course it would be my lucky day because he doesn’t have a lot of experience at this level,” he added.
While Quintus Fabius may still be finding his feet at the top levels, his willingness and bravery is consistent each time Larrazabal enters the ring. The pair, who has gained experience together throughout the spring season, will look to continue their success in the Under 25 classes.
“The good thing is he has a huge heart. He always tries his hardest. He doesn’t have perfect technique, but he’s very scopey and his heart and try is what makes him special,” he elaborated. “The scope is really important and I think that’s what helped us today.”
“I can put him in the spot I want and he will always try his best to get there from where I ask him,” noted Larrazabal.
The jump-off featured two other naturally fast riders in McArdle and Graves, and Larrazabal felt that he needed to push through the short course if he was to secure the win. McArdle tried hard to catch the time set by Larrazabal, finishing just short, but making for an exciting finish.
“In the jump-off, I definitely think I made up the little bit of time that separated us between fences one and two. I think both of them added one or two more strides in there than we did,” he detailed. “For the last line, we pushed for it and that’s where we sealed it.”
“I think that Abigail is generally much faster than me, especially with that horse, but today was my lucky day,” smiled Larrazabal.
Bringing up a number of young horses this season, Larrazabal hopes to continue his success throughout the summer and is eyeing a move to the FEI level during the fall circuit.
“With Quintus Fabius, I’m just so happy with our results today. This is perfect for him and I’m going to keep him in the Under 25 Grand Prix classes for the rest of the season,” he said. “I also have a couple of horses moving up that will be able to do the FEI classes later this year and we’re aiming for the fall. The rest of the horses are young and developing, which is very fun for me too.”
Noel Fauntleroy of Manakin Sabot, VA and her own Mae led the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic, taking the class with a jump-off time of 40.048 seconds and earning the fastest four fault round. Victoria Karam of Wellington, FL and her own New Life HM captured second place, stopping the clock in 42.471 seconds, finishing with just a single rail down. Fernando Lozinsky of Flemington, NJ and his own Tamerlan Du Poncel secured third place with 12 faults and a time of 41.903 seconds around the short course.
Devin Seek and Valentino Rise to Occasion in $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby
Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Valentino, owned by Ashley Vail Aycox, took top honors in the $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby, finishing their rounds in the George H. Morris Arena to secure a final score of 165. Libbie Gordon of Statesville, NC and her own Q-2 collected second place, earning a score of 163, while Gabrielle Sousa of Matthews, NC and Rockport, owned by Isabella Benedetto, received third place with a score of 156.
Seek produced two lovely rounds aboard Valentino and used the extra size of the ring to her advantage. The duo earned an 85 in the first round and returned for the handy to pick up a score of 80. Seek, who has ridden Valentino over the course of the past year, was pleased with her rounds and was excited for the opportunity to compete in the George H. Morris Arena.
“It was a nice first round for us, because there were a lot of long bending lines and single jumps and in a big ring like the George Morris, you can pick up a nice pace to find distances,” said Seek. “In the handy, there weren’t that many places that you could really turn inside, but I did try go inside after the two stride, which I wasn’t originally planning on doing.”
“I wanted to be neat everywhere, so in general, I just turned early and made sure that everything looked very clean,” she added.
Using the class as preparation for U.S. Pony Finals hosted in Lexington, KY later in the summer, Seek found the opportunity beneficial in understanding what she should focus on before the prestigious championship.
“This class was a big help in preparing for Pony Finals. It gave me a good feel as to how the atmosphere will feel there because this is such a big ring and the ponies never get the chance to go into a ring like that until we’re in Kentucky. Now I feel like I know what I need to work on more with each of them heading into the rest of the summer.”
Seek has established a strong relationship with Valentino and has had major success throughout the year, guiding him to numerous wins. His attitude and will to win has made him a special ride for her and she has high hopes for their future this summer.
“I started showing Valentino last year. I get called in to show him for his owner Ashley Aycox a lot. He may be the best pony I’ve ever ridden. He’s just amazing,” she commented. “He’s straightforward and has a good mind. He wants to win as much as anyone else does.”
Melissa Deryn Foster of Langley, British Columbia and Unwritten, owned by Emily Sukert, finished atop the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’6″ Classic, finishing with a score of 161. Caroline Jones of Brownsboro, AL and At Last, owned by Century Performances Horses LLC, collected second place with an overall score of 154, while Helen Ulrich of Moorsville, NC and her own Luminary earned third place with a score of 147.5.
In the $1,000 Junior Hunter 3’3″ Classic, Devin Seek of Ocala, FL and Just Sayin, owned by Fairfield Farms LLC, took first place, receiving an overall score of 172. Phoebe Alwine of Delray Beach, FL and Baricello, owned by In The Clover Equestrian, scored a 160 for second place, while Seek piloted another mount into the top three aboard Cold Case, owned by Donald Stewart, with a score of 150.
Allison Cederberg of Billings, MT and Zero Tolerance, owned by Dru Cederberg, rode to victory in the $1,000 Amateur Owner 3’3″/3’6″ Classic, earning a score of 164. Liddy Strickland of McDonough, GA and her own Valentine received second place with a 160, while Randall Johnson of Clarksburg, MD and Cantando, owned by Greener Pastures, rounded out the top three with a score of 158.
Competition at TIEC resumes on Wednesday, July 13, with the start of Tryon Summer III, which will conclude Sunday, July 17. For more information and to see a full list of results, please visit www.tryon.com.