Articles: Press Release
Brazil's Pessoa Stakes Claim in Las Vegas World Invitational $750,000
Grand Prix; America's Hough Places Eighth
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2005
Las Vegas, NV - With solidly executed rides that can be described as
nothing less than perfectly precise, it was Brazil's show-jumping
super-star, Rodrigo Pessoa, who would stake his claim in the spotlight
at the inaugural Las Vegas World Invitational at Las Vegas' Thomas and
Mack Arena, October 15. Out of a field of 25 of the world's best, the
32-year-old Pessoa was one of only six riders to make it to the final
jump-off in the most anticipated class of the weekend, the $750,000
Grand Prix. Of the final six, Pessoa and Baloubet Du Rouet were the
winning rider and horse pair, cleverly shaving off bits of time
throughout the entire course to speed through at an unbelievable 29.64
seconds. The win came with a hefty award too, earning $250,000 for the
"From the first jump to the last, everything came really perfectly,"
said Pessoa. "With the competitors coming behind me in the jump-off, I
couldn't afford to leave anything [to chance]. The track was tough, but
we expected that today. It was good and it was fair."
Like most of the riders, Pessoa was quick to praise the footing at the
event, provided by Martin Collins footing. The lightly wax-coated sand
and rubber mixture gave riders the grip and the spring they needed to
excel. "The footing was perfect," added Pessoa. "The horses could go
really fast and turn and never slip. It had a really good grip."
In second place was Great Britain's Nick Skelton, riding Arko III to a
very close second place finish with a final ride-off time of 30.45. In
third was California native Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum riding for
Germany. Aboard Checkmate 4, Beerbaum secured a jump-off time of 31.53.
The United States' first ever five-star, million-dollar show jumping
event proved to be a challenge not only of skill, but also of execution,
especially with German course designer Olaf Petersen's final puzzle for
the $750,000 Grand Prix. With difficult but well-placed lines and tricky
double and triple combination jumps, the course became more of a
challenge than riders might have first anticipated. More than
three-quarters of all riders had at least one knock-down, with many
accumulating multiple faults. Alas, Lady Luck was not on the side of the
United States' riders Saturday night.
Lauren Hough was the United States' highest placed rider at eighth. She
and Casadora nearly rode a clean round, but picked up a rail during the
triple combination, adding four faults to their total.
"The rail that she had down was my fault," explained Hough. "I pushed
her too much over the second part of the triple. She easily could have
jumped a clear round tonight."
Even so, the eighth place finish earned Hough $17,000. "I was thrilled!"
she said. "My horse is quite young-she's nine, and this was a huge test
Overall, the Americans were in good spirits after the conclusion of the
"I thought the event was fantastic," shared Hough. "To have money like
this in the first year of an event is something new."
Fellow rider Laura Kraut echoed Hough's sentiments. "We were lucky to
have it," Kraut said. "We had 25 of the world's best horses and
riders-it was nice to have this in our country."
Top Twelve Results from the $750,000 Grand Prix, Saturday, October 15
Rider, Country, Horse, Faults, Time, Prize Money Won
1. Rodrigo Pessoa, BRA, Baloubet Du Rouet, 0-0 faults, 29.64 seconds,
2. Nick Skelton, GBR, Arko III, 0-0 faults, 30.45 seconds, $178,000
3. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, GER, Checkmate 4, 0-0 faults, 31.53
4. Michael Whitaker, GBR, Portofino 63, 0-0 faults, 31.62 seconds,
5. Jessica Kurten, IRL, Quibel, 0-4 faults, 33.51 seconds, $35,750
6. Lars Nieberg, GER, Loreana, 0-8 faults, 31.15 seconds, $26,250
7. Malin Baryard-Johnsson, SWE, Butterfly Flip, 4 faults, 63.37 seconds,
8. Lauren Hough, USA, Casadora, 4 faults, 65.37 seconds, $17,000
9. Marco Kutscher, GER, Cash 63, 4 faults, 65.93 seconds, $8,000
10. Otto Becker, GER, Grandilot, 4 faults, 67.29 seconds, $8,000
11. Ian Millar, CAN, In Style, 4 faults, 68.13 seconds, $8,000
12. Marcus Ehning, GER, Gitania 8, 8 faults, 64.29 seconds, $8,000
Just before the $750,000 Grand Prix, ten riders competed in the Ride and
Drive Final, a challenge that combined a short course of jumps, finished
off with a brief drive through a course of cones. Each rail dropped
accounted for two faults, as did each tennis ball knocked off of the
cones during the driving phase. It was Switzerland's Steve Guerdat who
would prove the fastest in navigating both courses, quickly jumping off
his horse half-way through to make the transition effectively. After
knocking one tennis ball off the cone, Guerdat still had the fastest
overall time at 73.49 seconds. Guerdat won a Dodge Ram Mega Cab for his
skill and speed.
The highest placed United States rider in the Ride and Drive was
Schuyler Riley, who finished in sixth on Punker, at 76.96 seconds. The
pair earned $4,500 for the finish.
Top Ten Results from the Ride and Drive Final, Saturday, October 15
Rider, Country, Horse, Faults, Time, Prize Money Won
1. Steve Guerdat, SUI, Hermes Rouge, 2 faults, 73.49 seconds, New Dodge
2. Robert Smith, GBR, Gerry Maguire, 0 faults, 74.77 seconds, $20,000
3. Michael Whitaker, GBR, Iqbal Des Hayettes, 0 faults, 74.87 seconds,
4. Jessica Kurten, IRL, Castleforbes Libertina, 0 faults, 76.30 seconds,
5. Marco Kutscher, GER, Pablo II, 0 faults, 76.34 seconds, $5,500
6. Schuyler Riley, USA, Punker, 0 faults, 76.96 seconds, $4,500
7. Malin Baryard-Johnsson, SWE, H & M Tamina, 2 faults, 77.09 seconds,
8. Lauren Hough, USA, Nagano, 2 faults, 77.47 seconds, $2,500
9. Richard Spooner, USA, Taylor Made, 8 faults, 83.45 seconds, $2,500
10. Markus Fuchs, SUI, Royal Charmer, 0 faults, 87.68 seconds, $2,500
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