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Horse Show's "Crowning Jewel" $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar Leaps into Del Mar Arena May 3

Del Mar Fairgrounds -- The Del Mar National Horse Show's premier event, the $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Budweiser, an American Grand Prix Association event, will take place in the Del Mar Arena at 7 p.m., on Saturday, May 3rd.

This premier jumping event is sponsored in part by HBO, Budweiser, and the American Grand Prix Association (AGA). The top 30 competitors from the $25,000 Surfside Grand Prix Qualifier, which will be held on Thursday, May 1, in the Del Mar Arena, will fill the field of the $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar.

The AGA promotes Olympic-caliber show jumping throughout the U.S., and is a proving ground for the United States Equestrian Teams in preparation for the Pan American Games, the World Cup, World Equestrian Games, and Olympics.

Contenders in the $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar will negotiate a challenging course of 15-20 obstacles designed by course designer Peter Holmes of Canada.

Riders and horses that negotiate the course cleanly within the allowed time move on to compete in the final round. The final round is a jump-off against the clock in which split seconds can make the difference between the taking home the $30,000 winner's purse or the $15,000 runner-up prize.
In addition to prize money, the top 10 contenders earn points toward becoming AGA Horse and Rider of the Year.

The $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar will also be recorded for television broadcast by Bud Sports. The event will be featured on the Outdoor Life Network in June. Check local listings for dates and air times.

Tickets for the $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Budweiser, an AGA event, are available through Ticketmaster by calling 619-220-TIXS (619-220-8497). Tickets may also be purchased via the Internet at Dinner box seats may be purchased through the Del Mar Fairgrounds Box Office by calling 858-792-4252.

For more information about the $75,000 HBO Grand Prix of Del Mar presented by Budweiser, an AGA event, contact the Del Mar Fairgrounds Equestrian Office by calling, 858-792-4288. Or visit

Top 12 Riders and Horses from the 2002 $75,000 Grand Prix of Del Mar
1. Pop Socks, Jenni Martin, $30,000.00
2. Southshore, Mary Tyng, $15,000.00
3. Kijoy Forever, Sarah Baldwin, $10,000.00
4. El Campeons Petri, Nicole Shahinian Simpson, $5,500.00
5. Cellist, Ali Nilforushan, $3,500.00
6. Charmed, Ragan Roberts, $3,000.00
7. S&B Monty, Emily Esau, $2,000.00
8. Baccarat, Mary Tyng, $1,500.00
9. Sapphire, Mark Watring, $1,500.00
10. Liberty II, Joie Gatlin, $1,000.00
11. Fahrenheit, Misti Cassar, $1,000.00
12. Shania, Cathleen Calvert, $1,000.00

Riders and horses must jump a specially designed course of 15 to 20 obstacles, with "faults" (i.e. penalty points) if the horse refuses or brings down the highest element of an obstacle (fence) or if they exceed the time allowed. The ultimate goal is a "clean" or no fault round.

By the late 18th century, jumping became an essential feature of the sport of fox hunting. Some literature suggests Grand Prix style show jumping began in Paris in 1866. In 1906 Equestrian sports were proposed as a permanent addition to Olympic competition. By 1944, a record entry of 99 riders from 17 counties entered the Paris Olympics.

The term Grand Prix translates from French to mean 'richest or greatest prize'. The term is often used to designate the most challenging or sophisticated level of competition in a particular sport. America's first Grand Prix took place in Cleveland in 1965. Over the past 10 years Show Jumping has enjoyed a remarkable growth in popularity. American riders Olympic successes at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, 1988 Seoul Olympics, 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics helped thrust the sport into the spotlight.

No two Grand Prix courses are the same. The course designer's goal is to provide a challenging course that only a few horses can complete with no faults. Using a variety of colors, types of jumps and combinations of jumps, course designers alter the courses according to the level of competition. Jumps range in height from approximately 4'3" to 5'6". Fences are positioned in the arena with a carefully measured distance between them to allow the riders to complete the course within the maximum time.

Riders and horses must negotiate the designated course with the ultimate goal of acquiring no faults. Horses are required to jump 15 to 20 obstacles, with 'faults' (i.e. penalty points) being assessed if a horse refuses or brings down the highest rail of an obstacle (fence). The riders must also be mindful of the ever-ticking clock. Riders need to complete the course within the time allowed to avoid time penalties. There is also a maximum time limit - riders unable to complete the course within the time limit are eliminated. If either the horse or rider falls, the pair is eliminated (except in championship competitions). The order for each horse and rider combination is determined by a draw prior to the class.

Vertical --- Straight up and down fence with no spread width to it; appears simple, but it is one of the most difficult for the horse to jump
The Wall --- Solid looking, with top sections which can be dislodged resulting in faults
Oxers --- Two elements in one jump to create a spread; parallel oxers present the most difficulty.
Triple Bar --- A spread fence with three elements of graduating height; very wide but relatively easy to jump.
Combination --- Series of two or more fences one or two strides apart. A refusal of any fence requires the horse and rider to re-jump the entire combination
Water Jump --- A broad jump of 12' - 16'; a low hedge or fence usually, but not always, marks the leading edge; horse must clear the tape on the far side of the jump or incur jumping faults.
Gate --- Vertical jump made to appear solid by using planks, gates, or brush

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