Temecula, California – April 29, 2022 – Competition came to a head in the Grand Prix Arena at Temecula Valley National Premier II Friday with the feature class of the day, the $10,000 1.35m Spruce Meadows NEEd for Speed Derby. The unique class, which also served as a Zone 10 NAYC Junior Trial and a qualifier for the National Equestrian Tournament, welcomed 59 entries to take on the Table II format, in which speed was the name of the game, and race to the finish line to secure a spot in the coveted tournament in June. Ultimately, it was Mexico’s Jose Maria Quintana and Catoki Boy who bested the competitive field.
Olaf Petersen, Jr.’s course for the day presented 12 obstacles and offered athletes an opportunity to put their speed skills to the test, beginning with a bending line which riders attempted to ride directly to save precious seconds. The course also included a vertical-oxer double combination, an oxer-vertical double combination, a triple bar oxer and a liverpool oxer, all of which caused trouble at some point during the class. With many of the riders being NAYC candidates, the field was large and full of competitive names, both junior and professional.
As the class got underway, clear rounds came in quick succession as riders efficiently navigated the track and attempted to set a new time to beat. Setting the pace early in the order as 14th to go was Jake Endicott (USA) with Diamant’s Aurora, owned by Pegasus Show Stable Inc. Karrie Rufer (USA) came in soon after with the Morning Star Sporthorses-owned Georgie D’Auvray EC and fell just short of Endicott’s time but took over second place. Additional combinations attempted to unseat Endicott but fell victim to rails down across the tricky course.
The lead didn’t change hands until close to the end of the order, when Maria Quintana and his 12-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Catoki came in on a mission to shave even the smallest fraction of seconds off the leading time. After cutting corners, slicing fences and leaving out strides, Maria Quintana successfully cut only three one-hundredths of a second off Endicott’s time, sliding into the lead and slotting Endicott into second. With only a handful left in the order to challenge him, none could do so, putting Maria Quintana in the winner’s circle. Rufer would end up in the third place position as the class came to a close.
Maria Quintana has been showing Catoki successfully since 2018, when he took over the reins from Germany’s Katrin Eckermann. The three-and-a-half-year partnership has been plagued with injuries, however, leaving little time for the stallion to shine. Now that he’s back and healthy, Maria Quintana sees more success in the horse’s future and continuing to grow both their partnership and his presence in United States show jumping.
The highest-placed NAYC Junior candidate was Endicott with his first mount, Diamant’s Aurora. The next NAYC Junior Trial will be Saturday’s $7,500 1.40m Open Classic Classic, sponsored by Interactive Mortgage. Following that class Saturday at Temecula Valley National Premier II the day’s feature class, the $50,000 Mastermind Grand Prix with the $1,000 Equifit U25 Classic held as an overlay.
Final Results – $10,000 Spruce Meadows NEEd for Speed Derby
1) Jose Maria Quintana (MEX) & Catoki Boy – 0 / 69.189
2) Jake Endicott (USA) & Diamant’s Aurora – 0 / 69.220
3) Karrie Rufer (USA) & Georgie D’Auvray EC – 0 / 69.670
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Temecula Valley National Horse Show
Photos: © Emma Miller / Tori Bilas