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Sarah Scarnechia Clinches Gambler's Choice Victory with Win Vision at Spring Spectacular III

Sarah Scarnechia and Win Vision won the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Gambler's Choice, sponsored by Atlantic Plant Service, at the Spring Spectacular III.
Wayne, IL - June 20, 2014 - Riders took a gamble today at the Lamplight Equestrian Center during the fourth day of the Spring Spectacular III. Eleven obstacles sat in the LUXMAX U.S.A. Grand Prix Ring, challenging the Low and High Junior/Amateur-Owner competitors with an enticing round of Gambler's Choice. Sarah Scarnechia and Win Vision proved that sometimes the last is best when taking a chance, winning the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Gambler's Choice with 1,320 points. Stephanie Novas and Amyra R rode to the second place finish with 1,300 points, while Reid Patton and Tissem captured third for their 1,290-point total.

A newcomer to the world of horses, Scarnechia became involved in the sport only three years ago when moving back to Illinois after spending 12 years in California. She rides with Messenger Hill Farm, working alongside Freddie and Jodi Vazquez, as well as Katie Kappler. The young talent only moved up into the Low Junior Jumpers one month ago, and she was ecstatic about her win today in the Gambler's Choice.

"We have had an amazing few weeks," Scarnechia smiled. "I have been riding Win Vision for about a year, moving up together. You have to be positive, give a confident ride, and keep your leg on him. You can never take your leg off, or he will take advantage and spin out, but I understand him so well that I know what to do with him now, and he is great. We have had a lot of success with him so far."

Scarnechia's parents stood ringside for her trip, rooting on the Junior rider as she tackled the track that gal-pal Caitlin Boyle assisted in planning. 

"I had already walked the track I was going to take, but then Caitlin came running down to the schooling ring saying, 'I've figured it out!'" Scarnechia said. "Her new plan was the one I went with, and it ended up working out best. The plan included a couple tidy turns, two more fences and a lot less wasted time running to the next obstacle. When you only have 60 seconds, you need all the time you can get. This was my first Gambler's ever, and it was a ton of fun. I hope to do it again in the future."

It was the perfect setting for Scarnechia's victory. Not only was she riding LUXMAX counterpart Win Vision, but also the "joker" fence, worth 200 points, was the LUXMAX U.S.A.-sponsored vertical.

"There wasn't a more Kodak moment," Robert Scarnechia said as his daughter accepted the award in front of the LUXMAX U.S.A. LED video screen. LUXMAX U.S.A. is a manufacturer of LED video displays for architecture and concerts. The company has produced the background screen displays for such groups as Maroon 5, Keith Urban, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Beyonce's Superbowl half-time show.  
Sarah Scarnechia and Win Vision pictured in front of the LUXMAX USA LED Screen with representatives from the Atlantic Plant Services and Messenger Hill Farm.
"They didn't know anything about horses until I got involved," Sarah said. "I am so thankful and blessed to have their support. I can always hear them cheering from the sidelines, and it gives me such enthusiasm when I enter the ring." 

In the $5,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Gambler's Choice, Kelsey Thatcher reined in another win, completing the course with a cumulative score of 1,280 points aboard Balougris SL Z. Second place went to Ericka Baran and Calvigo with 1,250 points, while third was awarded to Laura Linback and Carmina for their cumulative score of 1,200 points.

"Normally, I hate Gambler's Choice. Usually there is no plan, and then you think you have a plan, but then you get a rail and your plan has to change," Thatcher said. "It is always super panicky, but we decided to do it this week. Last week, we [Balougris and Thatcher] were at about 90 percent, we were good, but we weren't on our game. After having a lesson with Haylie on Tuesday, I felt much better. Today I went out there, did a simple and smooth track, I was very confident."

Thatcher recently graduated from college, and will start student teaching in the fall at an elementary school in Athens, Ga. She has been toying with the idea of continuing her education with a Master's degree at the University of Miami in Florida, and then pursuing the opportunity to work with the Peace Corps for 27 months. 

"Riding is such a blessing in my life, and the Peace Corps feels like such a calling," Thatcher elaborated. "I don't want to look back and think that I missed anything in life. Working in Athens, I have seen how much help the public school system needs, and the county is the third poorest in the nation, so we have quite the diverse group of children. I think the Peace Corps would help me see the world, continue my work with non-profits and become a more well-rounded person."

$5,000 1.30m Open Jumpers

Professional rider Tiffany Hammack of Lance Williamson Stables, LLC, rode to the blue ribbon during the $5,000 1.30m Open Jumpers, sponsored by Atlantic Plant Services, with Luminous. They posted the blazing double clear in 34.872 seconds, although time was not the key for the win today. Hammack was the only rider to clear the short course, with Theo Genn and Asirea Fortuna finishing in second place as the fastest of the four faulters, clocking in at 39.123 seconds. Meg Gehron and Gastone collected the third place with their four fault score, completed in 39.688 seconds.

Hammack laughed when asked of her strategy on the course, and her blazing speed, "Luminous needs a very accurate ride. She does not like it when I miss, otherwise she will stop. I have to be going fast enough so she can jump the bigger jumps, and she likes to go fast. She especially loves galloping into the in-and-outs."
Tiffany Hammack and Luminous
Hammack had an amazing winter circuit on the gray mare, riding her to numerous circuit championships during HITS Ocala, moving up from the Level 3 Jumpers to the Level 5 in no time. Williamson taught Hammack to ride as a child and, after taking some time away from the area, she is thrilled to return as his professional rider now at the age of 26. 

"Lance taught me how to ride when I was about 10 years old, but I was away for a while, I am so fortunate to be able to have this ride," Hammack said. "This class was a great way to wrap up the series for me, and now all of my concentration will be directed to our clients who are still competing on the final two days."

Hammack concluded, "I love showing here. I haven't been here in six or seven years, and it is a lot different, but the facility has exceeded all expectations. The show has been great, and I really liked the courses this week. I think that Alan Wade had a great design, and although the courses were harder, it felt right. The jumps were bigger this week, but I think the first two weeks really eased us in to the challenging courses."

$1,500 1.40m Open Jumpers

Lisa Goldman and Zacantos Z led the way during the $1,500 1.40m Open Jumpers, sponsored by Canterbury Farms. Goldman crossed the beams two seconds ahead of her competitors, posting one of only two double clear efforts to take the victory. Wilhelm Genn aboard Bugatti, owned by Eduardo Leon, was the only other rider to lay down a clear effort on the short course. He secured the second place in 45.016 seconds. Liz Atkins and Undine, owned by Benchmark Stables, LLC, were only slightly off Goldman's pace, but a rail at the final fence would knock them into the third place finish.
Lisa Goldman and Zacantos Z
$1,500 WIHS Jumper Classics

Shortly after the equitation riders completed the Washington Classic Jumper Phase in the LUXMAX U.S.A. Grand Prix Ring, children and adults alike walked the WIHS Jumper Classic course. Twenty-five children would ride against the clock this morning in hopes of capturing the first place, but Anika Pirkle and Just A Dream emerged victorious in the $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic, sponsored by Discover Card. Annabella Sanchez and Limelight, owned by Brampton Woods, rode to the second place finish, while Madi Grady and Tell Me, owned by Chuck Waters, earned the third place.
Anika Pirkle and Just A Dream
During the $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic, sponsored by Canterbury Farm, Kristin Smith and Ophelia, owned by Jill Donaldson, rode to the win. Molly Struve and Orchidee MiLody, owned by Clay Struve, finished second, and Holly Yeterian rode Zero Point, owned by Matt Yeterian, received third.
Kristin Smith and Ophelia. 
Photo By: Andrew Ryback Photography
The Spring Spectacular III will come to a conclusion on Sunday with its highlight paying event of the week, the $40,000 Weathertech Grand Prix. Leading up to the series finale, the Children's, Adult, Junior and Amateur-Owner riders will compete in their division classics. For more information on the Showplace Spring Spectacular Series, please visit:

$5,000 Low Junior/AO Gamblers Choice
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    
1    647    Win Vision   Sarah Scarnechia    Sarah Scarnechia
2    806    Amyra R   Stephanie Novas    Stephanie Novas
3    189    Tissem   Reid Patton    Reid Patton
4    765    MTM BFF   MTM Farm    Ellie Trepte
5    104    Con Chino Z   Four Fillies, LLC    Elizabeth Adelson
6    559    Memphis Belle   Louisa Brackett    Louisa Brackett
7    630    Bandro   Alexandra Markarian    Alexandra Markarian
8    608    Ludo   Margaux Wheeler    Margaux Wheeler

$5,000 High Junior/AO Owner Gamblers Choice
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    prize
1    307    Balougris SL Z   Pony Lane Farm    Kelsey Thatcher
2    185    Calvigo   ERICKA Baran    ERICKA Baran
3    354    Carmina   Woodrun    Laura Linback
4    199    Twisther   Reid Patton    Reid Patton
5    353    Attention Please   Woodrun    Laura Linback
6    807    Zaza     Stephanie Novas    Stephanie Novas
7    202    Zoe Velvet    Reid Patton    Reid Patton
8    726    Nektar   Joseph Buszydlo    Sabrina Buszydlo

$5,000 Open Jumper 1.30M
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    
1    805    Luminous   Lance Williamson    Tiffany Hammack
2    710    Asirea Fortuna   Eduardo Leon    Theo Genn
3    644    Gastone   Meg Gehron    Meg Gehron
4    729    Esconial   Benchmark Stables, LLC    Liz Atkins
5    711    Aramon   Taylor Reid    Theo Genn
6    753    Le Conte   Andrew Kocher    Andrew Kocher
7    348    Aviator CBF   Claybrook Farms    Alison Leclerc
8    183    Bonita   Reid Patton    Cara Cheska

$1,500 Open Jumper 1.40M
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    prize
1    557    Zacantos Z   Lisa Goldman    Lisa Goldman
2    688    Bugatti   Eduardo Leon    Wilhelm Genn
3    737    Undine     Benchmark Stables, LLC    Liz Atkins
4    752    Coco 135   Andrew Kocher    Andrew Kocher
5    248    Kissimmee   Deana Blackburn    Tony Font
6    735    L'etoile     Benchmark Stables, LLC    Liz Atkins
7    255    Copa Cabana 23   Claudia Ballesteros    Tony Font
8    753    Le Conte   Andrew Kocher    Andrew Kocher

$1,500 WIHS Childrens Jumper
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    
1    541    Just A Dream   Anika Pirkle    Anika Pirkle
2    614    Limelight   Brampton Woods Farm    Annabella Sanchez
3    414    Tell Me   Chuck Waters    Madi Grady
4    646    One Direction   Emily Scarnechia    Sarah Scarnechia
5    660    Acapella   Tina Judge    Jillian Kilrea
6    461    Atomic Betty   Vincent Rossi    Missy Rossi
7    396    Adonis   Ashley Romano    Emma Lena Green
8    416    Warhol   Madi Grady    Madi Grady

 $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper
result    entry #    horse / owner    rider    
1    399    Ophelia    Jill Donaldson    Kristin Smith
2    835    Orchidee MiLody  Clay Struve    Molly Struve
3    432    Zero Point   Matt Yeterian    Holly Yeterian
4    568    GPS Toronto    Palindrome Investments, LLC    Hannah Adams
5    137    Unicum Van't Meerdaalhof   Sterling Equestrian    Lily Kubly
6    567    GPS Evita   Palindrome Investments, LLC    Hannah Adams
7    431    Zanziboy   Matt Yeterian    Steve Schaefer    
8    657    Royal Descent   Christopher Ferralez    Jessica Stitt


Photos by: Kendall Bierer/Phelps Media Group and Andrew Ryback Photography. These photographs may only be used in relation to this Phelps Media Group press release.