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Hap Hansen’s Young Jumpers Dominate at Memorial Day Classic in Los Angeles

by By Phelps Media Group | Jun 2, 2005, 11:37 AM

On Saturday and Sunday of the Memorial Day Classic at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Hap Hansen teamed up with Lauren Hester and Tammy Chipko to win the 2005 Memorial Day Equitation Challenge. This popular and highly competitive event is held over two evening sessions. The team returned to the final round in second place, but a score of 89 from Hansen matched with his teammates scores of 84 and 82 added up to enough to take home the tri-color. Hansen received an eight-day, seven-night trip to Hawaii, Hester and Chipko each received beach cruiser bicycles. The team of Katie Gardner, Morgan Taylor and Dan Silverstone finished second.

He also had an exciting third place finish in the $25,000 Memorial Day Classic Grand Prix on Monday. Partnered with Linda Smith’s ABC Lanzelot, Hansen was one of eight clear and recorded his sixth top twelve finish in a row. Con Caletto, owned by the Signature Farms and ridden by Mandy Goosen, were the Monday winners.

Hansen had his greatest success at the 2005 Memorial Day Classic in the Young Jumper divisions. In the six different classes offered for six-, seven- and eight-year-old jumpers, Hansen totally dominated the action, winning all six classes and picking up five second place finishes.

In the Six-Year-Old Jumper Division, Hansen won one and finished second twice on Plaid Ranch’s German-bred O’Ceraphina, the current leader in the race for Six-Year-Old Jumper of the Year. The duo has held the lead in this series all season long. “She’s very brave and very straightforward,” Hansen said. “She’s a very bold six-year-old, and I’m excited about her.” Aboard Huapango (GER), owned by Lani Sutherland, Hansen was victorious in the other two six-year-old classes.

In the seven- and eight-year-old jumpers, it was a clean sweep for Hansen and the Plaid Ranch with a one-two finish in all three classes for Mistletoe and Nellatina. Nellatina (GER) is the season leader in the race for Seven- and Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper of the Year and Mistletoe (GER), with the three victories at Memorial Day, should soar from the eighth position in the standings. Nellatina finished third in Six-Year-Old Western League Finals last year. “Mistletoe is the eight-year-old and Nellatina’s seven,” explained Hansen. “I’m very proud of Mistletoe. She’s already had a couple of babies, so she’s much greener than a lot of eight-year-olds. She’s only been jumping for a couple of years and really didn’t move up to the bigger classes till toward the end of this year’s Indio tour,” he said. “So, she’s really come a long way, real fast.”

Hansen said that the future for his young stars is very bright. “Of course you never know, but I think the future looks good. Mistletoe might be the one with a little more scope, and Nellatina’s going to be a great speed horse.”

O’Ceraphina and Nellatina are full sisters and part of a string of three mares for Hansen in the Young Jumpers. “Yeah, I like to call them the ‘drama queens,’” he said laughing.