John French and Captain Sail to the Victory in the $31,550 CPHA West Coast Green Hunter 3' & 3'3" Incentive Championship - Waldenbrook Farm - John French
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John French and Captain Sail to the Victory in the $31,550 CPHA West Coast Green Hunter 3′ & 3’3″ Incentive Championship

San Juan Capistrano, CA – The third annual California Professional Horsemen’s Association CPHA West Coast Green Hunter 3′ & 3’3″ Incentive Championship, presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund, welcomed twenty-one entries onto the grass of the Pacific Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park at San Juan Capistrano. With $31,550 in prize money this year, John French and Greg Schmandt’s Captain impressed judges Otis Brown Jr. and Christina Schlusemeyer to earn an 87 and a 92 for an average of 89.5 and the win. Also earning solid scores were the two horses that placed second and third in the championship. Pahlmeyer ridden by Leslie Steele and owned by junior rider Kate Abajian finished second with an 85 average; while French piloted Huckleberry Farm’s Grand Affair to third with an average of 84.5.

With six horses jumping in the 3′ section and fifteen jumping 3’3″, the courses, designed by Scott Starnes, flowed well for the green hunters. Winning rider John French noted this and thanked all those involved with the event.

“The courses were very nice. There wasn’t anything too tricky or difficult for the green horses and none of the horses had any real trouble. The judges were able to pick who they liked instead of who made mistakes and who didn’t,” he said. “I would like to thank CPHA and Blenheim EquiSports for putting on the class and Lindsay Maxwell’s Charitable Fund for sponsoring. It’s nice to have a special class on the West Coast for the young horses that offers this much money. This championship and yesterday’s Blenheim Young Hunter Finals show that there are a lot of nice young horses coming along.”

Photo by McCool

French talked about his winning mount, who had been knocking at the door but not had a big win until this class. “Captain is an 8-year-old gelding who we purchased from Laurie Lewis at Thermal this year. He has been showing in the 3’3″ Green Hunters and also did the National Derby at Franktown Meadows where he finished third. He was also 14th [out of 140] in the Green Incentive Finals in Kentucky this year.”

Steele glowed about the mount she piloted in the Championship. “Pahlmeyer has not been in the country very long, only two months. He just started doing the hunters, it’s completely new to him. I’m lucky to ride him, since John [Bragg] is injured. He’s super brave and super sweet. He’s a winner, gives you 110% every time.”

French also rode Grand Affair, Quentin, Inkwell, Wow the Crowd and Malbec in the second round, placing third, fourth, fifth, seventh and twelfth.

Gaining momentum each year, the CPHA West Coast Green Hunter 3′ & 3’3″ Incentive Program offers an opportunity for young hunters to win prize money year-round in Incentive Stake classes, and also participate in the fall season Championships. Forty percent of the nomination fees collected add to the purse for the final class, plus 40% is awarded to the top three Leading Horses and Riders of the season. This year a total of $6,100 was awarded before the class commenced, with the results listed below.

Melissa Brandes, VP of Marketing for Blenheim EquiSports, noted that the CPHA Foundation appreciates support for the Green Hunter 3′ & 3’3″ Incentive Championship from a generous sponsor such as The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund. “With the help of the sponsorship dollars, CPHA is able to put more of their money towards the Foundation. It’s a win-win, for the Green Hunters and the CPHA Members who benefit from the CPHA Foundation.”

Spectators, owners, and trainers enjoyed a continental breakfast spread at the event, sponsored by Blenheim EquiSports.

An exciting day for Green Hunters, Greg Schmandt, the winning owner, received a pewter picture frame with a gift certificate to McCool Photography, presented by Balmoral Farm. The top 12 horse owners were given a ribbon, a beautiful bouquet of roses and a CPHA hat. In addition to a ribbon and prize money, first, second and third place winners also received a neck sash, saddle pad, crop, and a cooler from Damoor’s Tack & Feed. The champion also took home a pewter trophy and stall plaque.

On Saturday evening, September 16th, West Coast juniors will compete in the ASPCA Maclay Regionals, vying for a chance to go East for the Finals at the CP National Horse Show. Prior to the Regionals, Blenheim EquiSports is honored to host the retirement ceremony for Vigo with Robyn and Demi Stiegler plus special guests and will also announce the winner of the Shelby Drazan Memorial Award, sponsored by the Drazan Family and HE Tex Sutton.

John French presented with the Top Rider Award. Photo by McCool