Claire Marie Diamond and Stoneledge Special Request Secure $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship – West Win
Karrie Rufer rode Stern Dei Folletti to the win in Saturday afternoon’s $25,000 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Grand Prix, held during the June Classic III at Blenheim EquiSports in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Rufer and the 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding were one of 26 entries to take to the Oaks International Grand Prix field to tackle the first-round course, and the pair was one of seven combinations to qualify for the jump-off.
When Rufer and Stern Dei Folletti returned to the ring, the time to beat had been set at a quick 36.659 seconds by Bruno Diniz Das Neves and Adele XIII, but Rufer paid little attention to his time.
“I usually try to look at jump-offs like a challenge to myself and how efficient I can be and how fast I can be,” explained Rufer. “If we turn out to be the fastest that’s great, and if not, good for the other person. I, unfortunately, didn’t get to watch [Bruno] go. I saw the time, but I didn’t have much of a reference, so I just jumped the first wall and went off running. I think if you measure your success by what you expect of the horse, what you expect of yourself, and how you measure up to that, it’s the best way to go into a jump-off.”
Stern Dei Folletti certainly measured up to Rufer’s expectations on Saturday, as the duo crossed the timers in a winning 35.987 seconds, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd.
Adele XIII, owned by BDN Horse Investments, and Diniz Das Neves’ result held up for second place, as they were the only other entry able to produce a double-clear effort. Third place with four faults in a time of 37.031 seconds went to Keri Potter and Ariell La Sirene.
The class was also run as a concurrent Under-25 Classic, with the U25 victory awarded to Mitch Endicott riding Chaccrobat, owned by Bridgeport Farms LLC.