Classic Level 1 Open
A tie in the Level 1 saw Alejandro Ortiz Vazquez and Barak Gibori receive the Level 1 Co-Championship with a score of 217.5. Ortiz Vazquez rode She Is A Chexinic (Smart Like Juice x Muskegs Chexinic x Bueno Chexinic) for owner/breeder Smart Like Juice Inc., and Gibori rode Pearl Haggard (Hollywoodstinseltown x Gunners Pearl x Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]) for owner and breeder David Silva Sr.
Ortiz Vazquez has had a long journey getting to this point. Jose Vazquez, owner of She Is A Chexinic, said he expects even bigger things for his future. Originally from Mexico, Ortiz Vazquez tried coming to work for Jose in the United States as a trainer, however the long process of getting a work visa made the transition difficult. Jose sent six 3-year-olds to Ortiz Vazquez in Mexico to train, She Is A Chexinix being one of them, while they waited for Ortiz Vazquez’s visa to be approved. When he was finally granted his visa, he moved to the United States and started working for Vazquez full-time.
“[The win] is great as an owner, but for Alejandro, he’s been working really hard and put in a lot of effort, and I think he has a bright future as a trainer,” Jose Vazquez said. “He’s been working for me two and a half years, and day one he stepped up and he’s getting better and better in the show pen. He has a lot of talent and a lot of respect for the sport.”
Ortiz Vazquez pocketed $2,457 for the Co-Championship. He and the mare also tied for 16th in Level 3 and placed sixth in Level 2 for an additional $3,224.
Gibori and Pearl Haggard, a 4-year-old gelding, had a great showing in Katy, Texas.
“I feel great,” Gibori said. “He’s a great horse, and he showed really well for me. This is a great show and some of the best horses come here, so it’s nice to get a win here.”
He and the gelding collected $2,457, plus an additional $750 for tying for 16th in Level 3.
Classic Prime Time Open
Martin Larcombe rode Hang Ten And Shine, who’s by Hang Ten Surprize and out of the Shining Spark mare Ebony Shines, to a score of 224 for owner Christine Brazeau to top the Open Prime Time, worth $1,950. They also tied for eighth in Level 4 and third in Level 3, worth another $24,728.
“There’s an advantage to being old sometimes I guess,” Larcombe said with a laugh. “It’s good though. [During my run] I was thinking I needed to do as good as I could, to go as hard as I could, and the horse stayed with me pretty well. We just had one little problem coming around a loop where we popped out of lead, and that hurt us quite a bit. Other than that, he was very good.”
The 6-year-old has been with Larcombe since he was a 3-year-old and has continued to do well for the trainer, qualifying for the Level 4 finals at many shows over the course of his career. This year, Larcombe admits the stallion stepped up his game, which made the NRBC even more special for the pair.
“Probably tonight was the best run I’ve ever had on him, just that little bobble cost us,” he said. “This event here is where the best horses come and the best competitors, and if you can just be in amongst it somewhere, it’s something to feel great about.”