Margo gets jump on the competition Silitch rides mare to Classic victory

September 27, 1993|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,Contributing Writer

Stubbornness was a pivotal behavioral trait in yesterday's $30,000 American Cafe Columbia Classic Grand Prix.

Three of the eight finalists in this equestrian event refused to jump their assigned fences. It provided easy pickings for Ian Silitch and Margo, who rode to victory in the sixth running of this event, which attracted 5,000 to Howard Community College.

Silitch, from Sperryville, Va., and Margo defeated Chris Kappler and Guido by less than a second in the jump-off round. Margo and Guido were the only two to complete the final round without penalty points.

It was the fourth victory of the year for Silitch and his 8-year-old mare, who is owned by Wayne and Dorothy Miller of Oklahoma. Silitch, 33, is a five-year equestrian veteran, but he was winless until he started riding Margo earlier this year. This victory was worth $9,000. Kappler, a four-time winner this year from St. Charles Ill., took second-place money of $6,600.

"It was all her today," Silitch said of Margo. "My horse is still kind of green and likes to run fast, so it was my job to slow her down. I wasn't perfect, but she was."

The championship round got off to a non-championship start when each of the first three riders all had their mounts refuse. Two-time Olympic team member Anne Krusinski of Flemington, N.J., aboard Dynamite, was the first rider to complete the nine-jump short-course without serious penalty, but she displaced one rail on the last fence.

Silitch, riding fifth, took advantage. He completed a flawless ride, and it was fast enough to hold off Kappler and Guido.

Amateur rider McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., aboard Orchestre, completed the fastest jump-off round time of 40.27 seconds, but tipped the last fence and took third. He rode two horses into the jump-off, but Zorro refused the second and third gates and finished sixth.

The biggest surprise was the refusal of Catango, the 17-hand horse ridden by Debbie Stephens. Catango breezed through the first round and was a clear favorite for his fifth victory of the year. But he refused the same gate three times and was disqualified.

"I still don't know why he didn't go," she said. "He jumped the same gate the first time without a problem."

The Columbia Classic is the eighth event in an 11-race series that comprises the Rolex National Grand Prix League.

1. Margo (Ian Silitch, Sperryville, Va.), :40.69, 0 faults; 2. Guido (Chris Kappler, St. Charles, Ill.), 41.27, 0 faults; 3. Orchestre (McLain Ward, Brewster, N.Y.), 40.27, 4 faults; 4. Dynamite (Anne Krusinski, Flemington, N.J.); 5. Pan Am B (Harold Chopping); 6. Zorro (Ward); 7. Derrek (Nona Garson); 8. Catango (Debbie Stephens); 9. Mont Cenis (Patty Stovel); 10. Wait 4 Me (Randy Johnson).

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