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Crandell cruises to the Cup

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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John Crandell was so prepared for the Tevis Cup endurance ride that even his backup horse spent time in the spotlight Saturday night at McCann Stadium. Crandell’s dominant horse Heraldic trotted across the finish line as the pair won their second Tevis Cup Saturday. Just a few feet behind was Auburn’s Shannon Constanti, riding Crandell’s horse LR Bold Greyson. The ferrier from Star Tanney, Va. brought two horses across the country for the 100-mile ride from Robie Park in Truckee to Auburn. He decided just days before the ride that both horses had the legs to make it across the rugged trail. “I had a good feeling because (Bold Greyson’s) a young horse – it’s only his third 100 – I felt like he could reasonably keep up,” Crandell said. “In the end, probably Heraldic could have gone on forward, but we didn’t need to, so it was nice to ride together the whole way.” The two frontrunners opened a huge gap early in the day Saturday. Rachel Shackelford kept pace for more than half the ride, but was pulled at Foresthill. No other rider had checked in at Poverty Bar – 12 miles from the finish – when Crandell and Constanti finished. The searing heat in the canyons slowed many of the riders and the number of horses pulled from the ride soared as Saturday wore on. As of 11 p.m. Saturday, 68 competitors had been removed from the race after their horses were judged unfit to continue down the trail. Crandell said the unusually high temperatures this year on the East coast, where he lives and trains may have helped his cause Saturday. His horses’ remarkable achievement wasn’t much a surprise for Crandell. Since 2006, Heraldic has taken first place at all but one 100-mile ride he’s entered. “(Tevis) is the biggest mark I could go for with the horse,” said Crandell, who won both the Tevis and Haggin Cups in 2006. “At this point we don’t take that horse out for anything but main events. There’s no point in running for a small-time race.” Constanti has built an impressive endurance-riding resume. She rode her first 55-miler at age 5 under the tutelage of her father Jay, who finished Tevis in 1978 and ’79. Constanti rode Bold Greyson on the recommendation of Linda Glazier and Roger Yohe, whom Crandell was staying with in Georgetown. Constanti finished Tevis for the first time in 2009. Among the hundreds of riders still on the trail at press time were Barbara White and Hal Hall. White is aiming for her record 30th Tevis Cup buckle. Auburn’s Hall is looking to finish for the 27th time. For more coverage of Tevis, including today’s Haggin Cup presentation, see Monday’s Journal.