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Trainers and former business partners are the favorites in Saturday night's $50,000 Grand Prix of Roanoke, the traditional close to the horse show in Salem.
JOEL HAWKSLEY | The Roanoke Times
Eighteen-year-old K.C. Van Aarem, shown here on her horse Mastermind in the $7,500 jumper class Thursday at the Roanoke Valley Horse Show, competes Saturday in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Roanoke.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
The Grand Prix of Roanoke will have its usual array of talented jumpers and skillful riders when it goes off tonight. Yet much of the focus will be on the proxy competition between two of the most successful trainers who have ever shown here.
Andrea King and Aaron Vale each train at least four horses in tonight’s traditional grand finale of the 42nd annual Roanoke Valley Horse Show.
King, who operates out of Hollow Creek Farm in Aiken, S.C., sends two Venezuelan riders out on her horses.
Emanuel Andrade, a 16-year-old , has competed on at least 18 horses this week, five to blue ribbons. He will have three horses in tonight’s $50,000 class at the Salem Civic Center that starts at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the indoor arena.
Victor Segovia, the older, more experienced horseman of the two countrymen, will be aboard just one horse, Romeo.
Squaring off on the other side and coming from the Vale barn will be a horse ridden by another gifted young rider, K.C. Van Aarem, and three more with the master himself in the saddle. Vale, the most successful jumper rider in the long history of this show, has won the last three Prix in a row and a record 12 overall here.
Vale and King were once business associates until going their separate ways. The rivalry has continued at various venues ever since. As you might expect, it’s a mutual respect kind of thing. King expect s her young riders to grow in experience having the opportunity to compete against Vale.
“Aaron’s a really good rider,” King said. “He can teach these kids how to ride better and smarter.”
The showdown with the King string is spiced by the fact that Vale has won two of three major jumper classes leading up to the Prix this week — the $5,000 Welcome Jumper Stake and $7,500 Open Jumper Stake — both riding Palm Sunday. Andrade won the $5,000 Speed class on Costa, the horse on which he finished third in Thursday’s 1.40 meter open stake.
Andrade will pilot Crossfire 10, Walter 61, and ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek. Segovia will ride Romeo again.
“Emanuel has some nice horses,” Vale said. “He’s a fighter. He wants to win the class. He doesn’t go in there wanting to jump the jumps. He wants to come out of there with the top prize.”
Andrade understands English but is a beginning speaker. Asked his thoughts about all his success this week and in his already brilliant young career, he responded through Segovia.
“It’s great to have that gift.”
Vale, whose base of operations is Ocala, Fla., trains the 18-year-old Van Aarem. She and her horse Mastermind team up again for the Grand Prix. They clocked what was at that point the fastest jump-off in Thursday’s big money class and sat in first place until Vale overtook her on Palm Sunday with just two other riders yet to jump.
As for Vale, he’ll be aboard Palm Sunday and Sprit of Alena as well as another horse he was late making a decision on. Palm Sunday is a 14-year-old “with tons of mileage on him,” Vale said.
Horse and rider have already combined to won three Grands Prix .
In all, 18 horses have declared for tonight’s class.
The jumpers aren’t the only horses left to show tonight. Starting at 6 p.m. 16 other championship classes will be contested. The $2,000 Five Gaited Amateur, the $3,500 Three Gaited Stake, and the $5,000 Five Gaited Stake offer the most prize money.
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