Barney Ward won the $2,000 Gamblers Choice stake at the Washington International Horse Show last night, defeating 19 of the world's finest riders, and said, "What I planned to do, I did."
Each jump of the Gamblers is rated, and points assigned, on its degree of difficulty. Each rider is given 90 seconds to choose and ride his course. The highest score and fastest time wins.
Ward went last on his 12-year-old mare Springer, making her first major start in more than a year. In 56.9 seconds Ward accummulated 1,200 points.
That tied Dennis Murphy, who had gone all out to prove his 14-year-old Tuscaloosa, a consistant winner at the Washington International since 1974, still was a "lot of horse." Murphy and Tuscaloosa had gone 10th, chalking up what seemed an unbeatable total.
It all came down to time, and it was Springer by less than two seconds.
Third place went to France's Marcel Rosier on Echo de Cavron, while the U.S. Equestrian Team's Norman Dello Joio was fourth with Johnny's Pocket. Both finished with 1,110 points but Rosier won on time.
With four-time winner Stocking Stuffer not showing, stablemate Weather Permitting piled 18 1/2 points in the regular conformation hunter competition to win this premier title of the horse show. The 9-year-old gray gelding was nine points ahead of the reserve titlist, Modest Man.