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Thu, 2012-11-01 00:00

Competition And Music Get Underway At Galway Downs International Three-Day Event

Authored By: John Strassburger

Temecula, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012The Galway Downs International Three-Day event got underway this morning with the first horse inspection for the four divisions, followed by dressage for 30 of the 49 starters in the CCI1*. Competition continues on Friday with the completion of the CCI1* dressage, before all the horses in the training three-day event, the CCI2* and the featured CCI3* perform in the dressage ring.

The early leader in the CCI1* is Julie Flettner, of Petaluma, Calif., on Ping Pong, who scored 42.5 penalties. Flettner, an optometrist at a veteran’s hospital, and Ping Pong won the CIC1* at the Woodside International Horse Trials in mid-October and won the Preliminary Rider Challenge at the Woodside Horse Trials in May.

Maya Black, of Clinton, Wash., on Doesn’t Play Fair, and Adrienne Hillas, of Bell Canyon, Calif., on Vallier, are tied for second place with a score of 43.1 penalties.

The CCI2* horses will compete in ring 1 from 8:00 a.m. until 12:10 p.m., and then the CCI3* horses will begin their dressage tests at 1:30, concluding at 3:30.  Olympians Phillip Dutton, Buck Davidson and Hawley Bennett-Awad will be trying to unseat defending champion James Alliston, who’s brought three horses to try to win for the second consecutive year.

This year the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event features much more than exciting competition, though. A variety of musicians will perform on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and on Saturday afternoons.

Tony Suraci is the headline performer at the first Galway Downs Wine and Music Festival. Suraci will perform “The Highwayman Show”on Friday evening.

Suraci grew up not far from Galway Downs, in Fallbrook Calif., and now lives in just up the road Murrieta, Calif. He created “The Highwayman Show”six years ago as a tribute to country music legends Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. “A fan heard me do Willie, Waylon, Johnny and Kris in the same set at a show and enthusiastically said,  ‘You should do a tribute,’and so I did. It's the same reason I perform many of the songs I do—because someone requested them.”

Suraci also has a personal reason for doing the tribute show: Many years ago, he went on a date with Nelson’s daughter Paula.

When he did meet Willie Nelson, "I sang a little bit of ‘On The Road Again’in his voice, and I had a defining moment when I did that.”That night, he and Nelson “jammed for three hours sitting together in an unfurnished house in Del Mar [Calif.]—thrilling! Of course, I bought both guitars we used.”Suraci will be playing one of those guitars in the show at Galway Downs.

Before Suraci takes the stage on Friday night, Lee Koch, a native of Temecula, will sing American blues songs while playing his guitar and his harmonica. Koch got his big musical break last winter, with an acclaimed performance on “The Voice,”singing Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Koch works as a baker at the Great Harvest Bread Company in Temecula, but he said, “I’d like to be a musician who bakes, not a baker who pursues music.”

The complete musical line-up for the Galway Downs Wine and Music Festival is:

Thursday: Barnaby Finch & Friends (classical jazz), 5:00-6:30 p.m., and Robin Adler (Joni Mitchell tribute), 6:45-7:45.

Friday: Lee Koch, 6:00-7:00 p.m., and Tony Suraci in “The Highwayman Show,”7:15-9:15.

Saturday afternoon will feature Tim Walsh, Kenny Marquez, Tacky Little Hat Shop, Lee Koch, Jillian Calkins playing in locations around the cross-country course from 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Saturday evening: Gino Walker (Motown/pop), 5:00-6:45, and

Rod Lincoln with special guest Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, 7:00-9:15.

Equine Insurance of California, Land Rover, Professional’s Choice and the Professional Riders Organization are the presenting sponsors of the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event. A portion of all tickets sales will benefit Operation Homefront, PRO’s charitable partner.

The generous additional sponsors of the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event include: Advanced Protection Formula by Auburn Laboratories Inc., American Medical Response, the American Horse Trials Foundation, Big Horse Feed, California Horse Trader, California Riding Magazine, Charles Owen, Devoucoux Bairritz-France, Doug Hannum Equine Therapy, Embassy Suites Hotel, Equine Comfort Products, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Geranium Street Equestrian, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, KATY 101.3 FM, Ludus Tours, MDBarnmaster, Point Two Air Jackets, Ride On Video, Smartpak Equine, Sunsprite Warmbloods, Temecula Creek Inn and Voltaire Design.

General admission for the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event is only $10 per day in advance, $12 at the gate, on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, with children under 12 free when accompanied by a paying adult. General admission for Saturday’s cross-country is $12 in advance and $15 at the door, but $8 in advance using promo code DME on the ticket-purchase page. Children are free when accompanied by a paying adult. 

Musical tickets range in price from $21.Fans can also buy a VIP musical ticket, which includes seating for all the musical shows.

Patron’s passes—which include seating in the ringside tent, lunch and a full selection of beverages—are also available for $55 per day or $150 for the weekend in advance. For advance reservations, go to

For more information on the Galway Downs International Three-Day Event or the Wine and Music Festival, visit or call 951-303-0405. To learn more about eventing, visit the U.S. Eventing Association’s website (


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