Articles: Press Release
56th Annual Pennsylvania National Horse Show
- Sportin' the Gambler's Choice
Wednesday, October 17, 2001
Heidi Hill 230-8833
When is a course not a course? When it's the $10,000 Gambler's Choice,
Riders select their fences by value and their mounts' abilities. After
50 seconds, they may opt to gambol over the formidable 5'3" Gambler's Choice,
Joker. Success adds, knockdowns subtract. Nineteen horses tried as many
course combinations to the delight of the crowd. Only one didn't gamble and
six gambled and lost.
Aaron Vale gambled and took the pot with 1480 points. Prinsipal, in a
breathless round, jumped of 15 fences before taking on the Joker.
"When we walked the course, none of the other riders was interested in my
route," said Vale, "except Tracy Bartko." "My idea was to go in a
figure-8." She did it, but I managed to catch two more fences, including the
4'8" oxer worth 100 points, twice."
As for the Joker, "it's difficult to stop and restart," Vale said.
"Your horse gets into a rhythm and the break sometimes throws them for a
Prinsipal appeared workmanlike in his approach to his task, clearing the
Joker with room to spare. Prinsipal will compete again tomorrow in the
Pennsylvania Big Jump.
Beezie Madden on Cloud Nine, a bold gray horse, was next and clearly
pursuing a higher score than 1480. Bounding and bending over the fences,
Cloud Nine's tail flew like a battle flag. He even bucked a little before
squaring off with the Joker. Although he cleared it, his 1430 earned only
Tracy Bartko finished third aboard Argus, with 1300 points. Fourth place
went to McLain Ward and Cameo, with 1050.
The Open Jumper Speed High Score Championship went to Aaron Vale and
Prinsipal. McLain Ward and Beezie Madden shared the reserve honors.