Ashlee Bond and Chela LS Take Home the Blue in the Grand Prix of Del Mar

Courtesy of Del Mar National Horse Show

The Del Mar National Horse Show Hunter/Jumper week’s main event, the $100,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar Presented by Pacific Sotheby’s International Equestrian Division, the retirement of Harry and Mollie Chapman’s Flexible and the Ride & Drive Classic Presented by The Competitive Equestrian Magazine entertained a bustling crowd of spectators in the Del Mar Arena Saturday evening.

The evening began at 6:45PM with a nearly full house for the exciting Ride & Drive Classic Presented by The Competitive Equestrian Magazine. The riders and horses navigated a course, then the rider dismounted, ran to the designated Ford Mustang provided by Del Mar National’s incredible sponsors at Mossy Automotive Group to drive through a course of cones! Kyle King and Christian were victorious in this fun competition, managing to out-ride and out-drive his seven competitors! Russell Morgan and HF Co-Star came in second and Richard Spooner and Stakkato Onyx rounded out the top three!

Before the grand prix commenced, a very emotional retirement ceremony was held for the west-coast favorite, Flexible. His countless wins with rider Rich Fellers at Del Mar and around the world were remembered in a tearful tribute. There was not a dry eye in the stadium as Flexible received a special cooler and many thanks for the years of competition that we were all fortunate to witness.

Owners Mollie and Harry Chapman and Fellers were present on the red carpet and they expressed their gratitude to Flexible’s perseverance, athleticism and kind heart. He received a standing ovation as he made his last lap around the Del Mar Arena. He is truly a special horse and we wish him the happiest of retirements.

The Grand Prix of Del Mar Presented by Pacific Sotheby’s International Equestrian Division provided a thrilling night of competitive show jumping for a full house at the Del Mar Arena. The 29 starting horse and rider pairs were tested with Marc Etter’s course of 15 efforts in the first round and 8 fences in the jump off.

The course included a triple combination on the rail, a vertical-vertical combination across the short diagonal and two tricky bending lines that proved to be difficult for many riders. We saw many efforts at jump number six, the American Flag fence, fail and the bending line from 10 to 11 and then 12 proved to be challenging as well.

The first round saw five clear rides to qualify for the jump off, including Ashlee Bond and Chela LS, Christian Heineking and NKH Calango, Peter Petschenig and Colour Your Life, Michelle Parker and Cupilor, and Jennifer Gates on Pumped Up Kicks.

Gates was more conservative with her time, ending with eight faults in a time of 50.796. Parker also had two rails for eight faults, but faster than Gates in a time of 46.344. Petschenig rounded out the top three with a clear round in a time of 48.592. Coming in second was Heineking with a clear round in a quicker pace of 45.217. Bond was victorious tonight, claiming the blue ribbon with a clean round and a tidy time of 44.205.