FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joshua Walker for PhelpsSports.com
MEDIA CONTACT: Kenneth Kraus of PhelpsSports.com at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
WEB SITE: PhelpsSports.com Press Releases and Photos are available for download at http://www.phelpsmediagroup.com/
PHOTO CREDIT: Suncal’s King and Joie Gatlin. Photo by Josh Walker
Joie Gatlin Schools the Boys To Win $50,000 HITS EMO Grand Prix at Indio
Indio, CA – January 29, 2006 – “It must be lady’s day!” the announcer’s voice rang over the loud speaker at the $50,000 EMO Grand Prix. Joie Gatlin and her mount, Suncal’s King, cantered out of the ring to a cacophony of excited and affectionate applause after a top-notch performance in a male dominated jump-off class of nine.
It was a tough feat for anyone to match ranks with the degree of competition participating in the Southern California desert today. Facing the likes of such renowned horse and rider combinations as Robinson and Richard Spooner, Champagne and John Pearce, Lady-D and Jeff Campf, and the legendary Hap Hansen aboard ABC Lanzelot, to name a few, Joie Gatlin, of San Juan Capistrano, CA, and her 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding outperformed them all as they cantered into the ring with authority and grace.
Veteran Grand Prix duo Campf and Lady-D kicked off the first round as the maiden pair and posted a seemingly effortless perfect run. With a high standard set at the beginning of the class, the skills of all 28 riders were truly put to the test. But surprisingly, Pearce, who was second to ride, opted Champagne out of finishing the course after putting 4 rails into the dirt. Robinson and Spooner followed with a refusal and 22 time faults. Doubts began to rise. “Neither of the two horses I expected to get through made it,” commented Spooner.
Yet lest faith be lost, both Ezrah and Airtime took Spooner into the jump-off as Urioso and Archie Bunker provide Pearce the same advantage.
Campf and Lady-D set a solid example again in the jump-off with a spotless round in 47.23 seconds. But Tedechine Sept and Eddie Macken answered back with a flawless 46.53-second performance. After Spooner and Pearce put rails to the ground, and Hansen added 1 time fault, the door remained wide-open inviting Gatlin to take the lead. “I didn’t watch anyone except the first horse. I just went in there and made my plan and hoped my ride was fast enough to get it done,” Gatlin said.
Fence 15, an angled vertical, presented problems for all but three pairs in the jump-off, as did the final fence, which also happened to be a vertical. “I was just hoping to get to those fences and be able to ease-off and jump that last jump clean,” Gatlin said. “And I heard that last fence come down many, many times! That was the bogie jump I think.”
As Gatlin galloped toward that final daunting fence, spectators watched with collectively bated breath leaving the clock’s dwindling seconds to hammer close behind the pair. “My heart was pounding really hard when I was galloping down!” exclaimed Gatlin.
And with an airy silence, the final vertical passed beneath all four hoofs as Suncal’s King carried Gatlin to a 45.95-second victory amongst an eruption of relief and applause from spectators. “When you get over that final jump the crowd is awesome!” Gatlin exclaimed.
Archie Bunker and Pearce offered a final attempt to keep Gatlin from victory with their final round. But with a rail down, their time of 42.92 seconds would be to no avail.
Claiming victory as the only woman in the jump-off only added icing to the cake for Gatlin. “That was awesome!” She exclaimed. “I gotta’ keep the men’s egos in check,” she added with a laughed.
The duo has already developed quite the following in Indio with last year’s $75,000 HITS Grand Prix victory during the World Cup qualifying week (week 4). Beginning this year by meeting and beating the challenge of eight top male competitors, only added to her popularity.
“This is actually the strongest year we’ve started. Last year we were starting off with four and eight faults; it wasn’t until the second half we really got going,” said Gatlin. “So it gives me a lot of confidence. For [Suncal’s King] to give me that kind of an effort today makes me really proud of him.”
With this win under their belts, Gatlin and Suncal’s King will be campaigning for more with participation in each Sunday Grand Prix in Indio, excluding week 5. “We’re just going to let him jump one class a week and really try to be competitive in the World Cup classes. And then hopefully he’ll be freshened up and really competitive in the [$150,000 Grand Prix of the Desert] as well,” said Gatlin.
1 – Suncal’s King- Canyon Capital Inc- Joie Gatlin – 0-0/45.92
2 – Tedechine Sept- David M. Robinson- Eddie Macken – 0-0/46.53
3 – Lady-D- Oz Investments/Sequoia Farm- Jeff Campf – 0-0/47.23
4 – ABC Lanzelot- Linda I. Smith- Hap Hansen – 0-1/50.21
5 – Ezrah- S&B LLC Corp- Richard Spooner – 0-4/42.25
6 – Urioso- Forest View Farms- John Pearce – 0-4/42.52
7 – Archie Bunker- Forest View Farms- John Pearce – 0-4/42.92
8 – Cellist 2- Ali Nilforushan Equestrian LLC- Ali Nilforushan – 0-4/45.18
9 – Air Time- C&S Partnership- Richard Spooner – 0-8/43.85
10 – Black Ice- Stacie Ryan- Jill Henselwood – 4 – 79.58
11 – Presto B- Alix Fargo- Susan Artes – 4 – 80.38
12 – Shiraz- Mary P. Dunahay Inc- Paul Rohrbach – 4 – 82.41
PhelpsSports.com coverage of Indio will continue with these major upcoming events from California:
$30,000 Ariat Grand Prix – Every Friday, 1:00 p.m.
$50,000 EMO Grand Prix – Sunday January 29, 1:00 p.m.
$75,000 HITS Grand Prix – Sunday February 5, 1:00 p.m.
$75,000 Bayer Grand Prix – Sunday February 12, 1:00 p.m.
$75,000 Footings Unlimited Grand Prix – Sunday February 26, 1:00 p.m.
$75,000 Surpass Grand Prix – Sunday March 5, 1:00 p.m.
$150,000 Grand Prix of the Desert – Sunday March 12, 1:00 p.m.
Josh Walker anchors the coverage of California and the West Coast for PhelpsSports.com. Look for the debut of this new website in late August. PhelpsSports.com is a new and highly innovative equestrian sports website offering equestrians and fans of equestrian sports from around the world a single web address for the latest breaking news of the Hunter, Jumper, Dressage, Eventing and other High Performance disciplines. The website will include up to the minute audio reports, live video interviews and features from around the globe, photography, and the creative writing and reporting of some of the finest equestrian journalists in the world.