Articles: Press Release
Kent Farrington and Madison Capture $150,000 U.S. Open Jumper
Championship on Final Sunday at WEF in Wellington
PHOTO CREDIT: Kent Farrington and Madison Take US Open Jumper
Championship at Wellington. (c)Peter Llewellyn HorseSource Ltd and
Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wellington, FL - March 12, 2006 - A crowd of 8,476 spectators turned out
on the final Sunday of the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach
Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. The hit or miss rain showers of the
morning gave way to a splendid afternoon, and the wall to wall crowd was
treated to a memorable and dazzling display of show jumping excellence
from equestrian superstars from sixteen different countries. When the
dust had settled though, it was the United States emerging victorious
over Bulgaria as Greenwich, Connecticut's Kent Farrington and 2005 AGA
Horse of the Year Madison topped Samantha McIntosh and Loxley for the
hard fought win in the $150,000 U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO-5*,
presented by CN.
Forty-seven starters lined up for the final event of the Wellington
portion of the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival. Steve Stephens of the
United States designed today's U.S Open Jumper Championship course.
Scoring was under FEI Art. 238.2.2, Time First Jump-Off. The course
featured fourteen numbered obstacles with seventeen jumping efforts,
including an early double combination (3a-b) and a late triple
combination (11a-b-c). The water jump and nine verticals, combined with
a snug time allowed added to today's test. As tough as the test was,
thirteen competitors from six countries mastered the first round course
to qualify for the speed round. Another four riders jumped fault free,
but failed to get home in time, while eleven horse and rider
combinations tallied four faults for their single knockdown. Six riders
had two rails, eight duos had more than eight faults, and five were
eliminated or retired.
The stage was set and the dazzling all-star jump-off that followed round
one was a brilliant display of show jumping skills by one top rider
With twelve to follow her, Olympic Gold Medalist Beezie Madden had the
unenviable position of first back for the tiebreaker with Abigail
Wexner's Authentic. Madden's stellar and speedy clear round of 34.92
seconds would hold up for the eventual fourth place finish.
With Madden setting a fast, clean round pace, it was off to the races
for the rest.
Ian Millar of Canada followed Madden into the ring with In Style, owned
by Susan Grange. Millar's fast and fleety ride around the eight obstacle
short course caught Madden's time, but the crowd collectively groaned as
he also caught the back rail of the final fence in the jump-off. Scoring
four faults, Millar clocked in at 33.42 seconds.
Samantha McIntosh of Bulgaria took the lead next with Loxley, owned by
Horst Jaeggle and G. Orschel. McIntosh sliced 8/10ths of a second off of
Madden's time, crossing the wire in 34.19 seconds.
Alexander Onyschenko's Loriot and Gregory Wathelet (UKR) pulled the rail
at 15 and registered a time of 34.35.
McLain Ward (USA) and Sapphire, owned by the Double H Farm, also had
heartbreak with a knockdown at the final fence, as they cruised home
with the time well in hand at 33.44 seconds.
Anne Kursinski of the United States, riding Scott Hakim's Roxana 112,
couldn't quite catch McIntosh, but moved ahead of Madden by 5/10ths of a
second with the third clear ride of the jump-off. Her finish time was
Following Kursinski, Jean Claude Van Geenberghe of the Ukraine moved
into fourth place with Osta Rugs Tresor. Producing the fourth clear, his
finish time was well off the pace at 36.82 seconds.
Today's winner Kent Farrington was the eighth rider back for tiebreaker.
He and his partner Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks, laid down an
incredible trip, knocking a full second off of McIntosh's time.
Farrington put a time of 33.15 seconds at the top of the leader board
for the remaining five to chase. And chase they did.
Canada's Eric Lamaze and Torrey Pines Stable's Hickstead pulled a rail
halfway through the jump-off, but registered the fastest time at that
point. Lamaze finished with four in 32.59 seconds. Leopold Van Asten
(NED) and VDL Groep Fleche Rouge followed with eight faults in 34.98
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa with his superstar mount, Baloubet du Rouet,
owned by Diego Coutinho were ready to set sail next. However, an
uncharacteristic two knockdowns for Pessoa relegated him to an eleventh
place finish. He scored eight in 34.15 seconds. Pessoa was followed by
Georgina Bloomberg (USA) aboard the Gotham Enterprizes' Cim Christo.
Bloomberg matched Pessoa's score of eight, but finished in 41.34
The final rider in the speed round, Laura Kraut, had the crowd on their
feet as she blazed a trail for home with a bead on the lead, only to
pull a block off the wall at the second to last fence. Kraut finished
with the fastest time, but also with four faults. She clocked in at
31.87 seconds, a full second and a half better than Farrington.
"I knew they'd have to chase to catch me," said Farrington, noting that
his turn for home was where he won the class. "I didn't think it was
uncatchable, but I had one less stride on the turn to the wall, and if
someone had got that really good and not get as parked as I did, they
could have nipped me by a second. I rolled back really short," he
detailed. "I was going to try and leave one out, but I got a little
ratty in the turn, and I had to add it in at the last moment. That wall
is sort of an awkward fence and it made the eight strides get really
long to the last jump. But she's a fighter, and I'm a fighter so we just
kicked on and went for it."
"I always try and watch the rest of the jump-off at the gate after I've
gone," he said. When asked what thoughts were going through his head as
one challenger after another took on his top time, Farrington laughed
and added, "Slow down!"
"It's always nice to finish on a high note like that," he went on to
say. "I felt that I sort of let the U.S. team down during the Nations
Cup when I had the wall down in the first round. If I wouldn't have done
that, we would have won without the jump-off. So I felt like I had
something to prove today."
Farrington talked about his partner Madison, who leads again for AGA
Horse of the Year. "She's a really special horse. She's been a career
horse for me. I don't really know how good she can be, that's yet to be
determined. We'll take her to the World Cup and see how she does there.
Bulgaria's McIntosh, who returns to Europe tomorrow, was thrilled with
her second top finish in as many weeks. "It was pretty tough with
thirteen in the jump-off, especially after having only three last week,"
she said. "A lot of really good horses, really fast horses. I gave my
best, and I think my horse did the same. I'm pretty happy with second
"It was fun," said third place finisher Kursinski. "Because of the
selection trials in two weeks, I started Roxana a little late on
purpose. And, we've had a little bad luck in each grand prix leading up
to this one. You know, one down, one mistake. Today she felt great so I
thought, let's go for it," she said with a smile. "The footing was much
better than I expected. This morning I was nervous about the footing. In
fact, I was thinking I might not go with her because of the trials
coming up. But it turned out great. She loves to go fast. Today was the
perfect preparation for those trials after all," admitted Kursinski. "I
love to represent this country. There is nothing like competing against
the best in the world, if you have the horse to do it. And I think I
have a great horse to do it. We know each other so much better than we
did a year ago."
Farrington talked about the legendary show jumping stars he beat in
today's main event. "It's just an honor to be in that class. To have the
opportunity to compete against the riders I read about when I was
growing up and to win against horses of that caliber is just a real
thrill for me."
Beezie Madden topped Mario Deslauriers of Canada to win the top prize in
the FTI Rider Challenge, a new series this year that rewarded
consistency. "We don't have that kind of bonus ($100,000) in show
jumping very often, so I'm thrilled to win it," said Beezie Madden
following her victory in the FTI Rider Challenge. "We're building a
house right now, and that amount is about the same amount as we went
over budget on, so it's perfect," she laughed. Madden was thrilled too
with the performance of Authentic, after the trouble on Friday night's
Nations Cup course. "I was very happy. The other night I took a shot
with him and he slipped, so I might have been a little conservative
today. Luckily, not much bothers him, and he seemed to be right back on
With the official tally still to come, it was apparent that Sunday's
near capacity crowd pushed the seven week total attendance for this
year's festival to well over 110,000 spectators for the seven week run.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues on in Tampa, Florida, beginning
on March 22 and running through April 1, 2006, at the Bob Thomas
Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds.
The first week in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Classic, features the $75,000
Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W and the $25,000
WEF Challenge Cup Series, Round VIII. The Grand Prix of Tampa is the
final East Coast League World Cup qualifying class, and along with the
Thursday WEF Challenge Cup, is one of three remaining qualifying events
for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational at Raymond James
Week two in Tampa, the last week of the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival,
is the Tournament of Champions. Thursday's $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup
Series Final, is the last chance to qualify for the Budweiser American
The 34th Annual $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational presented by
The Tampa Tribune and Kash n' Karry, is the showcase event of this
year's WEF and takes place on Saturday, April 1, 2006, at 7:00 p.m.
under the lights at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.
Results of Class 100 $150,000 US Open Jumper Championship -
CSIO5*-Internationale Arena - 3/12/06 - CN Wellington Finale CSIO 5* US
1 1332 KENT FARRINGTON USA MADISON 0.00 85.23 0.00 33.15 $45000
2 3133 SAMANTHA MCINTOSH BUL LOXLEY 0.00 83.33 0.00 34.19 $33000
3 1182 ANNE KURSINSKI USA ROXANA 112 0.00 85.78 0.00 34.48 $19500
4 1099 BEEZIE MADDEN USA AUTHENTIC 0.00 79.12 0.00 34.92 $12000
ABIGAIL S. WEXNER
5 3136 JEAN-CLAUDE GEENBERG UKR OSTA RUGS TRESOR 0.00 85.88 0.00 36.82
ARNOLD DE BRABANDERE
6 3101 LAURA KRAUT USA PANIC 0.00 85.87 4.00 31.87 $7500
7 1869 ERIC LAMAZE CAN HICKSTEAD 0.00 85.81 4.00 32.59 $6000
TORREY PINES STBLE
8 964 IAN MILLAR CAN IN STYLE 0.00 85.66 4.00 33.42 $4500
9 562 MCLAIN WARD USA SAPPHIRE 0.00 85.09 4.00 33.44 $4500
DOUBLE H FARM
10 3123 GREGORY WATHELET UKR LORIOT 0.00 87.44 4.00 34.35 $3000
11 781 RODRIGO PESSOA BRA BALOUBET DU ROUET 0.00 84.24 8.00 34.15 $3000
12 3302 LEOPOLD V ASSTEN NED VDL GROEP FLECHE ROUGE 0.00 83.87 8.00
13 2579 GEORGINA BLOOMBERG USA CIM CHRISTO 0.00 86.84 8.00 41.34
14 2680 HENRIK S. GUNDERSEN DEN DARVIN GARBO 1.00 88.55
HENRIK S. GUNDERSEN
15 893 CANDICE KING USA COCO CABANA 1.00 89.61
Page 1 of 4 3/12/2006 4:29:18 PM
Final FTI Rider Challenge Standings