San Juan Capistrano, California, USA – July 03, 2021 – Michelle Parker (USA) and Easy Does It led from beginning to end of the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix on Saturday, July 3, during the Blenheim Red, White & Blue Classic in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
As the very first entry in the first grand prix to be held in the Olympic Sand Arena at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, Parker (USA) and Easy Does It made easy work of the Manuel Esparza-designed course. The pair set the standard for the remaining 14 entries, with three horses and riders ultimately qualifying to join them for the jump-off.
As the first to jump clear, Parker was also the first in the ring for the short course, and she replicated her pathfinding clear round performance in a time of 37.471 seconds.
While all three additional riders finished within a second of Parker’s time, only Parker (USA) and Easy Does It delivered a double clear effort. Coming the closest to catching the duo were Hillary Ridland (USA) and Wonder Kid, owned by Mary Frances Looke, who finished in second place with only one rail down in a time of 37.508 seconds.
Third place with two rails in the jump-off and a time of 36.484 seconds went to Simon Schroeder (GER) and Alie B, and Joie Gatlin (USA) and High finished in fourth with eight faults and a time of 37.659 seconds. Rounding out the top five after jumping clear with just three time faults in the first round were Wendy Lee Thompson (USA) and Simpatica 33.
“He’s small, but he’s mighty and scopey!” said Parker (USA) of her winning mount, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc. “I got him in September. He was our COVID purchase. I actually tried him in March before everything shut down, but then we didn’t buy him until September.”
Since then, Parker (USA) and Easy Does It have been consistent performers in the grand prix ring, including in the Markel Insurance Jumper Series. Together the pair has contested three of the eight Markel Insurance events thus far this season and have finished in the top 10 each time out.
While their previous success has come in the Oaks International Grand Prix Field, Saturday’s inaugural grand prix in the Olympic Sand Arena seemed well suited for Easy Does It.
“I quite like the new ring; it makes the atmosphere even a bit more encouraging because the crowd is close to you,” said Parker, who was presented with a Shady Lady face covering and a $50 Topline Design Ribbon Wreaths gift certificate as part of her winnings on Saturday. “It’s a nice size, so the jump-off was quite galloping,” said Parker. “You could really get rolling.”
Parker (USA) plans to return to Blenheim EquiSports in the fall and has her sights set on continuing to move Easy Does It up the jumper rank to the 1.60m level, as well as likely continuing to contest the Markel Insurance Jumper Series.
The 15-class series culminates this November at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, where the top 25 riders are invited to compete in the finale event.
Final Results – $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix Classic
1) Michelle Parker (USA) & Easy Does It – 0 / 0 – 37.471
2) Hillary Ridland (USA) & Wonder Kid – 0 / 4 – 37.508
3) Simon Schroeder (GER) & Alie B – 0 / 8 – 36.484
Source: Press Release from Blenheim EquiSports
Photo: © McCool Photography