San Juan Capistrano , CA – In a light California drizzle on a chilly Sunday afternoon, only two clear rounds were posted in Trial #5 of the 2004 Olympic Selection Trials Finals at Oaks Blenheim. The Leopoldo Palacios designed course continues to get bigger, tighter, and harder to complete in the allotted time. There were only two clear rounds, Peter Wylde on Fein Cera, and Beezie Madden on Authentic.
As the cumulative scores for all 5 trials now stand, Wylde continues to lead the Trials with just 4 penalties. Madden and Authentic have 8 penalties. Following these two are McClain Ward with 10, Lauren Hough and Alison Firestone with 17, Nicole Simpson with 18, and Anne Kursinski and Great Point with 23.
Ward and Sapphire picked up 5 penalties today dropping one rail and accruing one time fault. Alison Firestone dropped only one rail for 4 penalties, while Lauren Hough and Nicole Simpson, and Ann Kursinski all picked up 8 jumping penalties. After a difficult day yesterday, Clare Bronfman made a comeback on Katerina with only 4 jumping faults for a total score of 28. Molly Ashe on Lutopia also had 4 faults for a total of 28.
Madden's third horse, De Silvio was withdrawn before today's competition began.
The most difficult part of the course was again the series of three fences involving the water jump, and the tight triple combination. The long water jump was the nemesis of many riders as their horses got wet feet before negotiating the tight distance to the fence following it, where many also dropped a rail. However, riders found little relief anywhere on the very difficult Olympic scale course and rails fell throughout it.
The final Trial #6 begins at 2:30 Pacific time.