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Mr. Baker builds his blue-ribbon dream course
Alice Higgins
August 08, 1966
European-style Grand Prix returns to the U.S., with fancy layouts designed by a man who has managed to please both horses and people
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August 08, 1966

Mr. Baker Builds His Blue-ribbon Dream Course

European-style Grand Prix returns to the U.S., with fancy layouts designed by a man who has managed to please both horses and people

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The final clean horse was Ward Acres Farm's High Frontier, a former hunter with no great reputation as a jumper. But with Dave Kelley aboard, an average kind of a horse suddenly became a strong contender.

On the first jump-off, Marno got into the water jump, refused the wall and then knocked it down. Sandspring nudged a block off the wall for four faults, and Grand Nouvell pulled down a pole for four. Then came High Frontier, rattling several fences—but bringing down none. The last fence, the wall, would have made him a winner. But he caught a block, and the three horses were tied again.

On the second jump-off Sandspring had a pole down but cleared the more formidable obstacles until he reached the wall. There he tried to refuse, slipped and fell. That eliminated him. Grand Nouvell had two knockdowns, and acted at one point as if he were going to run home to Canada. Then came Kelley and High Frontier. Once again the wall was too high, and the blocks tumbled, but High Frontier won with fewer faults.

While Kelley was accepting the applause, the money, gold cup, blanket of red roses and the winner's cooler, Baker had already begun to look for new courses to conquer. So much for the Oak Brook; it was a dandy and the show was a hit. For an encore he did it again.

The Cleveland Grand Prix, on a new Baker-designed course, came off in a rainstorm that was almost a rerun of Baker's earlier trial. Yet, despite the wet footing, eight horses of 43 starters tackled the course and came off cleanly. Eventual winner, after a second jump-off, was Florida's Carlene Blunt riding Silver Lining. Considering Baker's burgeoning success with show courses, it was an ideal name.

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Jerry Baker 1 0 0
Dave Kelley 1 0 0
United States 8021 0 232
Cleveland 571 0 9
Florida 2932 0 5