After a short two-day break, the Temecula Valley National Horse Show resumed Wednesday at Galway Downs, with show jumping at the forefront as horse-and-rider pairs began the fourth and final week of competition eager for another shot at the top of the leaderboard. In the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake, Mandy Porter and Centstar led the victory gallop after retaining the quickest double clear time for almost the entirety of the class, adding to Porter’s long list of victories in Temecula.
Back for another week at the helm of the Audi Grand Prix Arena, presented by Evergate Stables, course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr. (GER) offered exhibitors a sweeping 14-effort track for the first phase of the $5,000 CWD 1.35m Welcome Stake. First to take to the ring, Dakoda Mower and Duando of the Lowlands Z began the class successfully with their 40.533-second time over the abridged 8-obstacle pattern, leaving all the fences intact to emerge as the early trailblazers. Their reign wouldn’t last long though, as veteran athlete Porter jockeyed Whitney Strachan’s Centstar just two trips later to a dicey inside turn option during their immediate jump-off effort, paying off as the duo tripped the timers in 37.668 seconds to take over the lead spot with the majority of the class still left to ride.
With each passing team, Porter and Centstar’s hold on the top spot seemed to be more permanent, as each of the remaining contenders tried and failed to eclipse the quick pair’s leading time. Though nearly 30 pairs chased them down, the lead would ultimately never change hands. Of the original field of 32 entries, 12 partnerships mastered the initial track to qualify for the short course, with seven of those pairs navigating their ways to double clean efforts, led by Porter and Centstar’s winning performance. Jason McArdle and Elicole, owned by Fairbanks Valley Farm LLC, nabbed the runner-up position with their time of 38.500 seconds, and Cassio Rivetti rode to the final podium spot aboard AC/DC to secure third place with their time of 38.906 seconds.
“Centstar is an 8-year-old that came to us last fall, so we are still trying to get to know each other a little bit," said Porter. "He is super competitive and so much fun to have. He’s a little trooper. Every time we walk in the ring we have a chance to do really well because he’s a fighter.”
“My strategy was to be smooth – it’s pretty normal that that’s what I try to do," Porter continued. "Just be smooth and efficient. The courses were nice. They were flowing courses so that enabled a nice smooth ride. It was fun. I think this week we will wait and show him again on Saturday in the 1.35m speed class on Saturday. It’s the second week for him and it’s a little warmer, so I think we’ll just have him do two classes and call it a show.
"I love this show. I can’t thank Ali [Nilforushan] and his team enough. They do a really good job and put on a wonderful show with great course designers, courses, footing and staff. Everyone is super friendly and all the customers are super happy. It’s really good for the sport!"
—via Phelps Sports