Anya Bereznicki and Diazella blazed to victory in the first $20,000 Markel Insurance Bronze Tour 1.35m Classic of the 2022 Blenheim EquiSports season in San Juan Capistrano, CA on Saturday, April 16.
The duo were one of nine entries to qualify to jump off over the Eric Hasbrouck-designed short course, and the class quickly turned into a fast foot race. The first pair to return to the Grand Looke Arena, Nicole Haunert and Isabel, set the time to beat at 36.351 seconds, but Patricio Pasquel and Justinov BB returned next to immediately take over the leaderboard in a time of 35.387 seconds.
Bereznicki and Diazella were the fourth pair to return, and from the second they flew over the opening Markel Insurance vertical, they were ahead of the pace, leaving strides out and eating up the ground to finish in 31.511 seconds. With none of the additional returners able to break into the top three, Bereznicki clinched the win, and Pasquel and Justinov BB, owned by Gerardo Pasquel Mendez, took second. Haunert and Cherokee Show Horses Inc.’s Isabel finished in third, with Haunert also taking fourth aboard Concolue.
For the win, Bereznicki was presented with a Blenheim EquiSports tack room pillow and a $80 Gift Certificate from Riderzon.
“I had a very good time; I thought it was a lot of fun!” said Bereznicki, 18. “I had a little bit of an off year last year. I am just really happy to be back in the ring again. I want to say a big thank you to my trainer, Carleton Brooks of Balmoral Farms, for his support.”
Bereznicki and her own Diazella have been partnered for five years, with the 14-year-old Holsteiner mare taking Bereznicki to two North American Youth Championships and up to the 1.50m level for the first time.
“She’s just an incredible horse,” said Bereznicki. “She’s the horse of a lifetime for me. We’re getting back into the swing of things with Balmoral now. She’s my lady, my perfect girl.”
Hailing from Canada, this year marks Bereznicki’s first time competing at Blenheim EquiSports, and she plans to be back.
“I absolutely love it,” said Bereznicki. “I love this new ring. It’s the perfect size. I think it’s very welcoming. Everyone’s been super, super nice and helpful. It’s been fantastic.”
Fellow Canadian Carla Diewert placed 5th in the class riding Cogito.
Revamped for 2022, the Markel Insurance Jumpers series now features enhanced prize money in the 1.35m jumper division, rather than the previous 1.45m division. The series includes 12 events to be held throughout the Blenheim EquiSports show season, offering more than $155,000 in prize money and providing horses and riders with the opportunity to compete regularly in $10,000 to $20,000 classes in various formats. The grand finale class will be held at the International Jumping Festival in September, at which time the Leading Lady and Leading Gentleman riders will be presented with a cash bonus and additional prizes.
For full results of Saturday’s $20,000 Markel Insurance Bronze Tour 1.35m Classic, visit showgroundslive.com.