Michelle Parker Makes it Look Easy in $30,000 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Grand Prix at Blenheim EquiSports
San Juan Capistrano, CA – Michelle Parker made winning the $30,000 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Grand Prix look easy aboard Easy Does It on Saturday, June 24, at the Blenheim June Classic II in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Following roughly two years off from competing as a duo, Parker and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding returned to the Oaks International Grand Prix Field at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in top form. From a field of 30 entries, they were one of five pairs to advance to the jump-off, designed by Ivan Tagle of Argentina.
When Parker returned to the grass field, the time to beat had been set at 46.624 seconds by Mariano Maggi and Zuperman MT, owned by Jessie Jia. However, Parker and Easy Does It soon made short work of Maggi’s time. As they landed off the seventh fence of the short course, they made a tight turn from the oxer to the Looke Out Pointe vertical liverpool that followed, allowing them to do one stride less than their competitors and to stop the clock in a winning time of 45.616 seconds.
“Even though he’s a forward-going horse, he’s very easy to turn usually so that’s helpful,” said Parker of Easy Does It. “I actually was planning to do one less at the first line, but I started to go and didn’t see it so that was a little messy on my part, but in the end, it was okay!”
Michelle Parker was joined in the winner’s circle by Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel representatives Tatania Morales, Monique Geske and Britta Ward (pictured from left to right). Photo by McCool Photography
With Parker taking the win and relegating Maggi to second, third place with a time of 47.216 seconds went to Skylar Wireman and her own Tornado. Maggi also finished in fourth with a time of 47.567 seconds riding Cassia Pleasure.
For her victory, Parker was awarded a two-night stay in a fireside, oceanfront room at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. She also received a Blenheim EquiSports picture frame and coolerette and a gift certificate from Riderzon.
The awards for the win are what Parker now hopes are the start of many to come for Easy Does It, following a string of alternating setbacks for Parker and the gelding, owned by Cross Creek Farms, Inc.
“We got [Easy Does It] in 2020 and then we had about a good year together before he had an injury and was out for awhile,” explained Parker, who then broke her leg just as Easy Does It was returning to competition. “He then had to wait for me. Then when I came back, he had a bruised foot, so he’s just coming back again. So, between the two of us, we haven’t really done much in the last two years. I’m happy to be back in the ring! He’s really a fun horse to ride.”
Parker’s win also helped her earn valuable points in the PRO Series Equine Leading National Grand Prix Rider Award standings. To view full results of the $30,000 Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Grand Prix, click here.
Brandon Seger of Markel Insurance (pictured center) presented Mariano Maggi as the winner of the $10,000 Markel Insurance 1.35m Jumper Classic. Photo by McCool Photography
While Maggi and Zuperman MT finished second in Saturday’s grand prix, the pair had their turning in the winner’s circle on Thursday after topping the $10,000 Markel Insurance 1.35m Jumper Classic. Maggi and the 8-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding were one of 39 entries to take on the class, and they bested a 16-horse jump-off for the win. Finishing in second place were Australia’s Lane Clarke and Epic Air, and Wireman and Crunch K rounded out the top three.
For full results of the June Classic II, visit blenheim.showgroundslive.com.