Katy, TX – Nicolas Gamboa claimed the first grand prix victory of his career aboard NKH Mr. Darcy on Saturday, March 26, at the 76th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.
The 21-year-old was one of 17 entries to contest the $30,000 Third Coast Bank Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix, and he and NKH Mr. Darcy were one of nine combinations to advance to jump-off in front of the full, ringside gala crowd at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.
When Gamboa returned to the ring, the clear-round time to beat had been set at 35.296 seconds by Laurel Walker and her own Gatsby. While others had bested Walker’s time, none had done so without fault, until Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy.
He and the 9-year-old grey Holsteiner stallion left strides out throughout the course to fly across the finish line of the Manuel Esparza-designed short course in 32.949 seconds and with no faults at all.
“My plan was to do five [strides down the second line], but he caught the oxer so well and landed forward and straight and was on it, so we pushed for the four, and answered all the questions tonight and galloped to the last,” said Gamboa. “He was a good guy tonight. It’s a great feeling to get the win!”
Second place went to Walker and Gatsby, while Gamboa also finished in third on a time of 37.060 seconds on his second mount, Champions League, owned by Maddee Morley.
“Last year was my first year here at Pin Oak; I just did a couple of classes the final week, and it was a great experience,” said Gamboa, who began working for Christian Heineking of Heineking Show Stables and October Hill Farm in January of 2021. “It’s great to start this year with a bang! I just want to say a big thank you to Christian Heineking and the whole crew and especially Neil Knox who owns Mr. Darcy. They’ve been great to me.”
The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show is one of the oldest and most prestigious horse shows in the United States, and today features three weeks of top hunter, jumper, and American Saddlebred competition. Founded by J.S. Abercrombie in 1945, it’s also a unique social and fundraising event, supporting the healing of sick children through financial donations, outreach, and volunteer support for Texas Children’s Hospital. The Pin Oak Charity Horse Show was the first show in the country to be designated as a Heritage Competition by the United States Equestrian Federation.
This year’s 76th annual event continues through April 10, with competition resuming on Wednesday, March 30, for the start of Week II.
General spectator admission is free for all events. Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting www.PinOak.org, and find the horse show on Facebook and Instagram for the most recent updates. To purchase competition photos, visit www.AndrewRyback.com. For full results of all classes, visit www.horseshowsonline.com.