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Olympic Riders Set to Compete In The Oaks Blenheim International at the Capistrano Summer Festival

San Juan Capistrano, CA—June 23, 2003—Olympic show jumping veterans are entered to compete at this year’s Oaks Blenheim International CSI**** to be held as part of the Capistrano Summer Festival, July 17-20. Expected to compete are several of the United States’ top riders, as well as riders from Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand.

Heading the impressive list of riders from the United States are Olympic veterans Margie Engle and Laura Kraut, as well as Chris Kappler, winner of last year’s $175,000 Cargill Grand Prix of the United States, Presented by HBO, at the 2002 Oaks Blenheim International CSI-A and Richard Spooner, winner of this year’s Grand Prix of Las Vegas held at the Budweiser World Cup Final in Las Vegas. Canada’s John Pearce and Karen Cudmore are also expected to compete, as well as Mexico’s Gerado Tazzer and New Zealand’s Peter Breakwell.

Since winning last year’s $175,000 Cargill Grand Prix of the United States, Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, has made history twice in 2003 when, on consecutive weekends, he won the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational and the AGA Show Jumping Championships. He was the first ever to sweep these two events back to back. Kappler was then one of two riders chosen subjectively for the show jumping team representing the United States at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. This marked the first time since 1990 that any places on a U.S. show jumping team competing at a continental or world championship or Olympic Games went to riders chosen subjectively. Kappler and Royal Kaliber confirmed the strength of the Selectors' recommendation by winning the prestigious Grand Prix at Devon in Devon, PA, at the end of May.

Spooner of Glendale, CA, who won The Oaks Fall Classic in 1996, has had an impressive start to the 2003 show jumping season. With his horse Robinson, Spooner started out 2003 with two wins at the Indio Circuit helping him to top the U.S. West Coast League to ride in the 2003 World Cup Final where he won the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. This marked the third time in five years that Spooner finished first in his World Cup league.

A veteran of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Engle, of Wellington, FL, holds many records: most AGA wins with the same horse in the same season (five wins on Saluut II in 1991); and two Grand Prix wins in two days. Engle is the AGA’s only seven-time Rider of the Year — 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999/2000 & 2000/2001. She is the first rider to place six horses in the ribbons in a single Grand Prix class, and the first rider to ever place first, second, third, fourth and fifth in a single Grand Prix class. She has ridden in ten World Cup Finals. Engle won the 2003 Pan American Games selection trials in Lexington, KY, to earn her berth on the show jumping team representing the United States in the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Engle’s Sydney Olympic teammate, Laura Kraut will also be competing in this year’s Oaks Blenheim International. Kraut was part of the U.S. Team that won the first outdoor Nations’ Cup held in the United States in 2002. At the 2002 Samsung Nations’ Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, Kraut was named Leading Rider after tying for 1st place on Liberty in the individual competition. Kraut placed fifth at the 2003 Budweiser World Cup in Las Vegas, NV, the highest placing by a U.S. rider. Kraut then earned a place on the U.S. team for the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.

Competing from Stouffville, Ontario, Canada is John Pearce. In 1992, Pearce represented Canada at the World Cup Final in Del Mar, California. In 1998, John was named to the Canadian Show Jumping Team for the World Equestrian Games in Rome where he was Canada's top performer, and two years later, made his Olympic debut at the 2000 Sydney Games riding Jamco’s Vagabond. Last year Pearce won in the $75,000 Bayer Grand Prix in Indio, CA aboard his mount Harry Potter.

Also competing from Canada, is Karen Cudmore. In 2002, Cudmore won the $35,000 National Western Grand Prix in Denver, Colorado, and was a member of the Canadian team for the inaugural Nations’ Cup event in Wellington, Florida. She then crossed the border to make a clean sweep of the open jumper division at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, winning every class offered. Cudmore also competed at the 2002 World Equestrian Games.

Gerardo Tazzer has been competing internationally for his native Mexico for over twenty years. He has ridden in three Olympic Games—1980 (Moscow) where he won a team Bronze, 1984 (Los Angeles), and 1988 (Seoul). He was also the reserve rider for Mexico at the 2000 Olympic Games (Sydney).

Peter Breakwell, an Olympic veteran who lives in Northern California where he trains and teaches, is also expected at the Oaks this year. Originally from New Zealand, Breakwell moved to the U.S. more than 20 years ago. At Indio, CA this year, he rode Adonis All Star to Level Eight Jumper Champion in week three and Mid-Circuit Level Eight Champion Jumper. At the Oaks Spring Classic II, he was second in the Grand Prix, won the Open Section II Jumpers, and was Champion Open Jumper.

The Oaks Blenheim International starts on Thursday, July 17, with the $10,000 Hermes International Speed Class, an exciting equestrian jumping round based on the horse’s speed and ability to jump imposing obstacles. It will be followed by the $10,000 Robert Mondavi Winery International Welcome Class.

Friday’s events include a $10,000 jump-off class, as well as the $25,000 St. Regis Resort International Class.

On Saturday, the $50,000 Budweiser International Speed Derby begins at 3pm, following the $10,000 Junior-Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. The Budweiser International Speed Derby is a thrilling event in which horse and rider gallop over an obstacle course with jumps ranging as high as 5’!

Sunday’s finale begins at 11am. The thrilling Cargill Grand Prix of the United States, presented by HBO, features a $175,000 purse.

Proceeds from the Capistrano Summer Festival will benefit The Latino Coalition Foundation. The Latino Coalition Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization based in Washington, D.C. TLCF was established in 1995 to address policy issues that directly affect the well-being of Hispanics in the U.S. Their agenda is to develop and promote policies that will enhance overall business, economic and social development of Hispanics. For more information on The Latino Coalition Foundation, please visit their websites at and

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