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Andres Soto and Optimus Blue take the blue in $62,500 Grand Prix qualifier CSI4*

Friday, 28 June 2024
CSI4* World Equestrian Center Ocala 2024

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Andres Soto and Optimus Blue. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.


Press release from World Equestrian Center - Ocala



The $62,500 Grand Prix Qualifier CSI4* was the highlight event of the evening, featuring 28 horse-and-rider combinations representing 12 different nations competing for top honors. In a thrilling seven-horse jump-off, it was the last to go, Andres Soto (DOM), who claimed the winning title aboard his own Optimus Blue (Chacco Blue x Baloubet du Rouet).

Alan Wade (IRL) designed the challenging four-star course for the evening, with eight pairs managing to clear the first round, and seven electing to return for the jump-off.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Luis Pedro Biraben and Chacco Bumpy flying to second place. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.

In the jump-off, every athlete managed to jump double-clear, with each round faster than the last. Aaron Vale (USA), the fifth rider to attempt the short course, rode Thinkslikeahorse’s 10-year-old Warmblood gelding Gray’s Inn (Cannavaro x Oscar) to a swift time of 37.09 seconds. However, his lead was soon challenged.

Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) aboard his own Chacco Bumpy, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare (Chacco-blue x Toulon), managed to shave just one-tenth of a second off Vale’s time, clocking in at 36.91 seconds.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Aaron Vale and Gray’s Inn jumping to third place. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.

As the final rider to go, Andres Soto knew the jump-off course favored his 16-year-old Warmblood gelding. “I knew from the beginning that I could take advantage in the jump-off because there were a lot of right turns. [Optimus Blue] drifts a little bit to the right, so I was able to keep going while shaving off some turns. So I think that was the key to winning the class tonight,” Soto explained.

The pair completed the course in an impressive 35.91 seconds, securing the victory.

World Equestrian Center – Ocala holds a special place for Soto and Optimus Blue. “I debuted this horse back in 2021 right here in this ring,” Soto shared. “We had great results together, then he went to compete with a client, and I got him back two years ago. We’ve been to the Pan American Games, and he is an incredible athlete. He’s an experienced horse, and tonight was the night for him.”


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