Second round interviews for the top two applicants to operate the San Pasqual Stables in Arroyo Park were conducted last week.
Learning the current operator of the facility is neither ranked first nor second prompted many boarders, trainers and supporters of the stables to pack last week’s City Council meeting to express their discontent.
A subcommittee of the San Pascual Committee learned more about the operations of the frontrunners – Paddock Riding Club in Atwater Village and All Equestrian Services – on Wednesday, Aug. 16, during a lengthy question and answer period in an effort to take its recommendation to City Council in September.
The bidding process opened when the City of South Pasadena sent out a request for proposals to firms interested in running the stables. A handful were returned and, following initial interviews, all five were ranked. San Pascual Stables seeded third ahead of Dark Horse White Knight in fourth and Double Crown in fifth.
“We are reviewing the results of those two interviews,” said South Pasadena Community Services Director Pautsch. “We wanted to dive deeper and find out more about how they plan to operate the facility and what capital improvements they will make,” said Pautsch. “We also wanted to learn about barn management and plans for riding school.”
On the subcommittee of the San Pascual Committee are Kay Findley, Ron Rosen, consultant Bob Rose – highly knowledgeable in stable operations – and Pautsch.
Trainers, boarders and even a group of young gold medal champions were among those who filled the council chambers to provide testimony, all backing the current operator. Much of the support was directed at managers Caroline and David Sterckx.
“Technically, all five (of the interested parties) are still in the running,” said Pautsch. “One might fall out because it’s not strong in one area or the other. If we need to bring one in for another interview we will do that in the next couple of weeks.”
Pautsch said she hopes to open up negotiations with the top pick following the City Council’s approval on September 20.
The community services director was inside the council chambers when many favored the Corbell Partnership, under Renato Corzo and Alex Bellehumeur, as their first choice.
“I saw a strong group of boarders and supporters of the stables who have a love of horses,” she said. “We are very unique to have our own horse stables and provide that amenity to our residents. It was very touching how passionate riders are and those at the stables. It’s a community, just like Little League and AYSO. Everyone knows each other. It’s a close-knit group. You could really see the community sense of pride.”