Articles: Press Release
Beezie Madden and Authentic Take Second Win in $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational
Photo Credit: Beezie Madden and Authentic, winners of the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational. Photo © 2007 Randi Muster.
Jennifer Wood of
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tampa, FL - April 7, 2007 - The $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational,
CSI-4*, presented by The Tampa Tribune and Sweetbay Supermarket, reached an
exciting conclusion tonight at the Raymond James Stadium in downtown Tampa,
FL. It was the grand finale of another fantastic season at the Winter
Equestrian Festival (WEF) and wrapped up ten weeks of the best equestrian
competition in the world.
Beezie Madden and Authentic raced to the finish for victory over McLain Ward
on Sapphire and Canada's Ian Millar with In Style. For her win tonight,
Madden took home $60,000 and the accolade of being an American Invitational
champion for the second time. She is only the seventh rider in the 35 year
history to have won the Invitational more than once.
Tonight's course designer was Steve Stephens, who is the co-course designer
for the 2008 Olympics. The first round featured 14 numbered obstacles and
three double combinations. The fences were at maximum height of 1.60m with
spreads of 1.72m. Five horses were clear in the first round to advance to
the jump-off. The jump-off featured nine fences in a twisting track that
finished over the tall, skinny, "column" fence at 5a.
"Steve Stephens built a very beautiful course tonight. This class is known
to have an odd fence or two. In past years it was the viaduct wall and this
year it was the double of walls," Ward said. "This is the first year in a
while that there have been 14 jumps. There was no triple bar and no triple
combination, which was a bit of a breather. I think (the walls) weren't that
hard for the horses to jump. I think with the experience factor, people
thought it was going to be hard and they overrode. Halfway through, they
realized the horses weren't spooking and you should just ride it as a
careful double of verticals, which it was. Then all of a sudden it wasn't a
problem anymore. I think it really showed the experience level."
Cara Raether and Ublesco had a fantastic clear round, but accrued one time
fault to finish sixth in the class. The fastest four-faulter was Mario
Deslauriers (CAN) with Paradigm, and they placed seventh.
The first to return for the jump-off was the first clear round of the class,
crowd favorite Margie Engle on Hidden Creek's Quervo Gold. Engle made a
great slice across jump number one, but could not quite clear the first of
the two stride. They made the inside turn to jump number four, but just
touched the blocks on the last fence (5a - the skinny vertical) for another
four faults. They finished with eight total faults in a time of 47.28
Richard Spooner was next to attempt the jump-off on Cristallo, owned by Show
Jumping Syndicate Inc. Spooner made an extremely tight turn back to the
second fence. He galloped down to jump number two, the Budweiser jump, and
then made the inside turn to jump number four. It was not quite enough, as
Cristallo pulled a rail at the oxer. Spooner galloped over the last fence
and tallied four faults in 46.46 seconds.
Millar and In Style, owned by Susan Grange and Lothlorien, cantered easily
into the ring to challenge the course. He maintained his smooth, quick style
throughout the jump-off, and despite a slight rub at the last jump, In Style
galloped through the timers clear in 47.99 seconds. Millar lived up to his
prize from the first round, the "Style of Riding" award.
"There were no slow riders. That was a problem," Millar joked. "You love it
when there are one or two, but there were no slow riders here! When the
first two faulted, at that point, I had to jump clean or I'm giving them a
present. I didn't want to do that, even thought it's Easter. I put it on
reasonably, and then I figured when I came out, I figured I'd be second,
maybe third, and very, very lucky to be first."
As Abigail Wexner's Authentic loped into the ring, the crowd cheered. Madden
started up for the jump-off, and Authentic picked up his trademark quick,
skipping gallop to the first jump. Madden made a very tight turn back to the
second jump and really galloped down the broken line between the third and
fourth jumps. They made a great inside turn to jump number four and then
headed for home. Authentic easily cleared the last vertical and had Millar's
time beaten by more than three seconds, in 44.79 seconds.
"I was pretty much planning to do what I did, even if Ian hadn't gone clear
because I had McLain behind me. I just had to really go," Madden
recalled. "It was good practice for me because I haven't shown him a lot
lately. It was fun to go fast and give it a go."
The only one left to challenge Madden was her 2004 Olympic and 2006 World
Equestrian Games teammates, McLain Ward and Sapphire. Sapphire has been at a
peak this winter, and after her decisive win in the $300,000 CN Worldwide
Florida Open on the last Sunday of WEF in Wellington, she was one of the
favorites to win.
Ward made a great turn to the two stride (the third and fourth jumps in the jump-off) and galloped on the same pace to the Budweiser oxer. As he made the rollback to the oxer, he added one more stride and then pushed Sapphire to the last fence. It was not quite enough, as the scoreboard flashed 44.97 seconds and a clear round, which would end up in second place.
"I was doing everything I could to win it," Ward said with a shake of his head. "I didn't leave much in the bag. I lost a little time at the second to last fence in the jump-off. I had to go out a stride further. I think I did one less stride between one and two and two and three than Beezie did, but her horse has a faster canter. He's a faster runner, basically. It was a hard challenge, and I'm very happy with my horse. I did pretty much close to my best. Beezie is such a fast rider, and that horse is such an incredibly fast horse. I hate to lose, but she's great and the horse is great. If you have to lose to somebody, it's a great one to lose to."
Millar noted that he was pleased with his horse's performance and his top ribbon. "It's a very prestigious competition, and any prize in this class is a good one to get. We work for ten weeks to qualify, so it's quite something," he said. "I've had good luck with this competition and consistently in the good prizes, for sure. This class has been good to me."
"I thought I had a good shot," Madden said afterwards. "I know he likes the stadium, which is a huge advantage coming into this class. I knew he'd be fresh. If I got through the first round, I figured I had a pretty good chance in the jump-off."
Madden related that Authentic's history in the class is pretty incredible, with two victories, a second and a sixth place. "It's pretty unbelievable. I think he likes it; he likes the crowd," she said with a smile. "He's a funny horse. He's wound up when I go in there, but when I'm done he goes in on a loose rein, and he comes in on a loose rein for the ribbons. He's so smart. He knows when he's supposed to be doing his job and when his job is done."
When asked about the win personally, she commented, "There were four Americans in the jump-off, so that was good. It was my final class before the World Cup, so it gives me confidence going into that. This was something that I aimed my horse for, and the plan worked out well."
Another Winter Equestrian Festival is over and with the top two prizes in WEF's biggest competition going to the best two riders in the United States, the future looks bright for the prospects of America's show jumping team.
Results of Class 100 American Invitational
April 7, 2007
T/A: 96.00 T/A: 54.00
1 26 AUTHENTIC BEEZIE MADDEN USA 0.00 90.99 0.00 44.79 $60000
ABIGAIL S. WEXNER
2 30 SAPPHIRE MCLAIN WARD USA 0.00 94.00 0.00 44.97 $44000
3 22 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN 0.00 92.22 0.00 47.99 $26000
4 21 CRISTALLO RICHARD SPOONER USA 0.00 92.60 4.00 46.46 $16000
SHOW JUMPING SYN.I
5 19 H C'S QUERVO GOLD MARGIE ENGLE USA 0.00 91.53 8.00 47.28 $12000
HIDDEN CREEK FARM
6 10 UBLESCO CARA RAETHER USA 1.00 98.44 $10000
7 27 PARADIGM MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN 4.00 88.17 $8000
8 24 COEUR RODRIGO PESSOA BRA 4.00 91.13 $6000
DOUBLE H FARM
9 28 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 4.00 91.53 $6000
TORREY PINES STBLE
10 14 COCU MOLLY ASHE USA 4.00 92.41 $4000
JANE F. CLARK
11 3 LA ROCCO JUN MICHAEL WALTON USA 4.00 93.50 $4000
12 4 PROMISED LAND CHRISTINE MCCREA USA 4.00 93.78 $4000
13 1 KING CARA CHESKA USA 5.00 98.03
14 11 OLIVER III JUDY GAROFALO TORRES USA 5.00 98.28
HIGHER GROUND FARM
15 15 ORLANDO DARRAGH KERINS IRL 5.00 98.53
DOUBLE H FARM