Articles: Press Release
One, Two, Quirino 3: Spooner Dominates the $30,000 Ariat Challenge of
Week 2 in Indio
PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Spooner and Quirino 3. Photo by Josh Walker
Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Indio, CA - February 4, 2006 - Richard Spooner outdid himself once
again, literally. Cold beverages cracked open to celebrate his one-two
sweep of this week's $30,000 Ariat Challenge. With rides aboard two
mounts synonymous to Spooner, Quirno 3 and Ezrah dominated the class
taking first and second place, respectively.
Both Quirino 3 and Ezrah boast notable reputations from prior years in
Indio. This marks Quirino's second Ariat victory at Indio, while Ezrah,
adds a reserve championship to her desert circuit resume, in addition to
last year's two Ariat Grand Prix wins and $150,000 Grand Prix of the
Today's initial field of 41 contenders served up a solid class of stiff
competition on a difficult but fair course designed by Anthony D'
Ambrosia. It took eight failed attempts before the questions on the
course were answered. Airtime and Spooner became the second combination
of 7 to qualify for the jump-off. With Airtime, Quirino 3 and Ezrah,
Spooner controlled almost half of the jump-off competition.
The course saw expert high-fliers such as John Pearce, Hap Hansen, Peter
Pletcher and Misti Cassar in the irons of multiple mounts as well.
Spooner stuck to his usual strategy to produce reliable results. "I try
to stick to my own game. Obviously it's an advantage having multiple
horses because I'm able to get a gage of my time and not have to watch
other riders," said Spooner. "Then I can judge their times against mine
and step my game up if I need to."
Spooner continued, "I was especially happy with the horses that were
first and second, but I also have a new horse named Live Fire who really
feels like he's starting to come into his own." Losing a rail from fence
2 became the only obstacle that prevented Live Fire from becoming a
fourth horse to Spooner's jump-off crew. The mistake was chalked up to
rider error as was the fallen rail of Robinson's ride. "Overall, all
five of my horses feel fresh and ready and that's a nice way to have
them be at this point," Spooner said.
But last year, entering five horses in a single class was an
unattainable luxury as regulation only allowed three horses per rider,
per class. What exactly prompted the rule's removal was unclear but
Spooner commented simply, "Sometimes it's not what you know but who you
Joie Gatlin, who won Sunday's $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, commented
favorably about the rule change, "There aren't as many riders out here
as compared to the east, so it's not as big of an issue. In that sense,
it's good for riders and owners to have the opportunity to show more and
it benefits the sport itself in the West too."
Thus, the unconstrained class of forty-one presented D' Ambrosia with
the challenge of designing a precision course to narrow the field. D'
Ambrosia said of his course, "I was aiming for six to eight to make the
jump-off today so I was happy to see seven qualify. I knew a lot of the
horses in the class and wanted to make a technical course where a
mistake meant a rail down. Rider's had to be very accurate." D' Ambrosia
intends to prepare a bigger course focusing more on scope for Sunday's
$75,000 HITS Grand Prix.
Spooner commended D' Ambrosia on his clever and sinuous course.
"Sometimes there are those courses where I can just get comfortable, and
today was one of those courses. Right off the bat on the first horse
felt like I was riding around at home."
Jenn Serek, of Dewinton, AL, flew over the course's final fence in the
jump-off aboard Shin Shin to finish just behind Spooner and Ezrah. Serek
and her fresh-from-the-plane 11-year-old have been riding together for
only 12 days, which was hard to guess from their performance in the
ring. "For such a short time, we couldn't be more thrilled with him,"
Straight off the plane from Holland, the pair has been learning each
other's idiosyncrasies and seems to have found chemistry without delay.
They took to the technical course without a hitch and became the only
other combination to post a clean jump-off round besides Spooner and his
two entries. "You know you also have to be fast when going against
Richard," added Serek.
Shin Shin will take week 3 off and return for weeks 4, 5, and 6. Having
claimed third place today with only 12 days under their belt, it will be
very interesting to see what the next four weeks can do for this
Results - $30,000 Ariat Challenge - HITS Indio Desert Circuit - 2-3-06
1 - Quirino 3- Oscany Inc- Richard Spooner - 0/0-39.36
2 - Ezrah- S&B LLC Corp- Richard Spooner - 0/0-40.08
3 - Shin Shin- Shin Shin Group- Jenn Serek - 0/0-43.08
4 - Brilliant- Watring/Ferder- Mark Watring - 0/1-48.16
5 - Black Ice- Stacie Ryan- Jill Henselwood - 0/4-37.03
6 - Airtime- C&S Partnership- Richard Spooner - 0/4-42.70
7 - AW Butterfly Hula- Leslie Steele- Leslie Steele - 0/8-43.36
8 - Camaron Hills Shan Roe- Camaron Hills Farm- Molly Talla - 4-75.14
9 - Sapphire- Watring/Bohannan- Mark Watring - 4-76.47
10 - Charmed- Alex Dillard- Peter Pletcher - 4-77.81
11 - Riva 49- Buckeye Creek Farms Inc- Jill Humphrey - 4-78.96
12 - Mogharebi's Jente- On Target Showing & Breeding Farm- Joie Gatlin -
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