Articles: Press Release
United States-McLain Ward and Sapphire Take Home Biggest Prize in
U.S. Outdoor Show Jumping History in $300,000 CN Worldwide Florida
Open Grand Prix, CSI-5*
Jennifer Wood of
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
at (561) 753-3389 or at email@example.com
Wellington, FL - March 17, 2007 - The luck of the Irish was on
American rider McLain Ward's side today. He and his veteran partner
Sapphire stayed clear through two rounds of competition and had the
fastest clear round in the jump-off to win the largest purse ever
offered in an outdoor show jumping event in the United States, the
$300,000 CN Worldwide Florida Open Grand Prix, CSI-5*. The grand prix
today was the first leg of nine competitions that make up the CN
Worldwide Global Champions Tour.
Today was the culminating show jumping event of the 2007 Winter
Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington before the circuit moves to
Tampa, FL, for two weeks of competition. In the biggest individual
finishes of their careers, Frankie Chesler Ortiz (CAN) and Danielle
Torano (USA) finished second and third, respectively.
Today's class began with the top 50 qualifiers at noon. Judy Garafalo
Torres (USA) and Oliver III were the first clear round in the 15th
position. Eleven more clear rounds would join her to move on to the
second round. The second round brought back the top 15 from the first
round. The order of go was determined by the first round time. Two
four-fault rounds were quick enough to stay on to the second round,
while one rider, Daniel Deusser of Germany on Pristanna, had just one
time fault from the first round and advanced as well.
The courses today were designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. The
masterful designer, who will test riders at this year's Rolex FEI
World Cup Jumping Finals in April, set a large track for the second
round. McLain Ward described, "The second round was final day
championships jumping. I thought it was as big as you'd jump anywhere.
It was the real deal." While the first round had 13 numbered obstacles,
the second round had just ten. Rails fell all over the course, but not
one of the top 15 riders had any major adversity.
"It's very nice to be sitting here at the final event here. WEF was my
very first competition in the United States. So, I'm very happy to
have made it to this competition today," Jorge said. "I had a team out
there and big support from Pepe Gamarra and Steve Stephens. They showed
me how the horses were jumping so well and so we could really build.
This is the biggest course I've ever built for the biggest grand prix.
We had great jumping and the atmosphere was fantastic, so I'm really,
The first to return for the second course was Ken Berkley (USA) on
Carlos Boy, owned by Alexa Weisman. He carried over four faults from the
first round, and added eight more faults after the second round for a
total of 12 faults. This would put him in 14th place at the end of the
Beezie Madden (USA) and Iron Spring Farm's Judgement were the other
four-faulters from the first round. Madden had to circle before the huge
triple bar in a corner after they had the top plank down at fence three.
This led to eight jumping and one time faults, for a two round total of
13 faults and 15th place.
Deusser and Pristanna, owned by Stal Tops, had just one time fault in
the first round and duplicated that score in the second round. Their two
round total of two faults would keep them out of the jump-off and left
them in fifth place.
Yann Candele of France was the first rider with no faults carried over
to attempt the second round course. On Mustique, owned by Susan Grange
and Lothlorien, Candele had the last fence down in the second round for
a two round total of four faults. In the event of a tie in total faults,
placings were determined by the first round time. This put Mustique and
Candele in 11th place overall.
Lisa Silverman (USA) and Obelix R had a rail into the one stride on
course for four faults. Their four fault total and slightly faster first
round time gave them 10th place.
The first to go clear in the second round was Torano and Sir Ruly's
Vancouver d'Auvrey, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion. They
bounced around the course with apparent ease to set the crowd on fire.
Nick Skelton (GBR) and Russel was another pair to fall victim to the
plank jump and their four fault total left them with ninth place.
Richard Spooner and Show Jumping Syndicate's Cristallo, who made the
trip from California to compete, had a heartbreaking rail at fence nine
for four total faults and eighth place. On Ublesco owned by Trelawny
Farm, Cara Raether (USA) could not quite make it over the triple bar.
Their four fault total and quicker time gave them seventh place. On the
17-year-old Swedish Warmblood stallion Oliver III, Garofalo Torres was
unable to match her first clear round. Their rail at the final jump
relegated them to sixth place with the fastest four fault score.
A jump-off was guaranteed when Eric Lamaze (CAN) and the 11-year-old
Dutch Warmblood stallion Hickstead, owned by Torrey Pines Stable and
Ashland Stables, soared around the course for a clear round.
Todd Minikus (USA) and Pavarotti had a rail at fence 5a and another at
fence 9 to total eight faults for 13th place.
McLain Ward and Sapphire, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, added
their clear round to the jump-off list, but Ward's fellow World
Equestrian Games teammate Laura Kraut and Miss Independent would not
when they had the final two fences down. Kraut and Miss Independent
finished in 12th place.
It would be a four horse jump-off after Chesler Ortiz and Picolien
Zeldenrust, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Sher Al Farm,
had the fastest clear second round.
Torano was the first to return for the jump-off. "I was more nervous
going into the second round than the jump-off," she remembered. "For me,
there's no pressure to go first." She and Vancouver d'Auvrey
galloped to the first jump, made a good slice across the second vertical
and kept an efficient pace throughout. The striking bay stallion jumped
a foot over every jump and was able to notch a third clear round for the
day in a time of 37.48 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
As a rider who is always a threat in the jump-off, Lamaze and Hickstead
had their trademark fast and furious style today. It was not to be when
they pulled a rail at fence 9 for four faults in 37.96 seconds.
Stalking Torano's lead next was Ward and Sapphire. While Sapphire's
speed has been downplayed in the past, she had no trouble beating the
leading time by over two seconds. Ward and Sapphire were triple clear
and had a jump-off time of 35.25 seconds.
"She's a big-strided horse, but she can rollback very tight because
she jumps the fences very easily," Ward noted. "I wanted to shave the
turns just a little bit tighter, and I thought that might make up the
The last to go in the jump-off was Chesler Ortiz and Picolien
Zeldenrust. They struck up a gallop, which they carried through the
course. Chesler Ortiz was near Ward's time, but with an added stride
to the last jump, they just missed the win. They finished in 37.32
seconds. "I should have left one step out to the last jump," she
acknowledged. "I didn't get to see McLain go, and I know that he's
very fast on that horse. My horse is fast across the ground and across
the jumps, but the turns are still a little tricky with her. I took a
little extra time through the last turn and to the last jump. I think I
made the right choice for her. She left the ring really confident."
Chesler Ortiz bought the talented mare when she was seven and said
Picolien has grown "leaps and bounds, getting here this fast." She
added, "She's really coming into her own now. I love riding her. The
course was challenging, but I feel like I can face the challenge with
Torano has owned Vancouver d'Auvrey for almost a year, but had not
shown him much. She gave birth to a daughter, Natalia, in December and
began riding again at the beginning of this year. She and husband Jimmy
Torano compete in the grand prix ranks together. "Jimmy kept saying,
"I have a good feeling about this today,'" Torano laughed. "I
didn't think I was as fast as Eric or McLain, who is really fast and
has so much more experience. I really tried to go clean, but I didn't
want to crawl. I thought I'd do as much as I thought I could do. It
was just one of those times when everything showed up. When we walked
the second course, I said to Jimmy, "These are huge. I can walk under
most of these.' But, I wasn't thinking, "I can't do it.'
It's definitely the biggest course I've jumped."
CN President and CEO Hunter Harrison, whose company sponsored this
week's horse show, commented, "I thought it was a wonderful day, a
wonderful competition. It was a great competition, a great crowd, and it
was a great day for South Florida."
Jan Tops, creator of the Global Champions Tour, was also pleased with
today's competition. "I need to thank Mr. Harrison and CN Worldwide.
He was the first who believed in this vision to let our sport grow and
make it better for the horse and for the rider," he said. "I want to
thank the riders as well. This was an important class; they were all
serious, on time and ready for this class. I think the best job today
was from the course builder. The start is fantastic, and I look forward
to the rest of the Global Champions Tour."
For his win today, McLain Ward took home $133,000, part of the biggest
purse ever awarded in the United States in an outdoor show jumping
event. Ward conveyed, "I'd like to say a special thanks to the Global
Champions Tour and CN. This is where our sport needs to go. We were live
on TV today in Europe and there was great prize money. These horses and
riders work very hard, and it's nice that the prizes match that.
It's nice to have great sponsors like this come along and it makes our
life very nice."
About his jump-off round, Ward described, "I saw Danielle go. She
didn't go crazy, but it was fast and it was neat. I was a little
relieved to see Eric have a fence down because he has a very fast horse.
My goal was to go a little bit faster than Danielle and try to put some
pressure on Frankie. It worked out. I have a great horse and a great
Ward summed up his feelings about Sapphire easily. "Sapphire always
feels amazing. She's now very seasoned. As long as I don't make a
major error, which sometimes I can even get away with, she's going to
perform well. I feel that I can answer most questions with her now.
She's a horse of a lifetime."
"I think it's probably my biggest personal win," he went on to say. "I
have a lot of people to thank for it. Hunter was a big part of my
success. Now, a friend of mine, Thomas Grossman, is a part of it, and
most importantly, my father, who spearheads my success. I owe most of
the credit to him."
Eugene R. Mishce, president of Stadium Jumping Inc. and chairman of the
Winter Equestrian Festival competition committee, summed up, "I have to
thank my staff for their hard work and long hours. I'd also like to
thank the riders who did an excellent job today and showed what the
sport is all about. We're really proud to be part of the Global
Champions Tour and of Jan Tops' vision. I have to thank CN Worldwide
and Hunter Harrison. Without our sponsors, this competition wouldn't
The Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington wraps up competition
tomorrow before moving to Tampa, FL, for two weeks of competition on
March 28-April 7, 2007. Tomorrow's action in the Internationale Arena
includes the Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior Jumper Classic, the
Seniors Classic, and the Medium Tour 1.50m Classic.
Results of Class 105 CN Worldwide Florida Open, 273,3.1&4.1
CN Worldwide Wellington Finale CSI 5* - March 18, 2007
T/A: 72.00 T/A: 47.00
1 3077 SAPPHIRE MCLAIN WARD USA 0.00 88.29 0.00 68.53 0.00 0.00 35.25
2 1514 PICOLIEN ZELDENRUST FRANKIE C ORTIZ CAN 0.00 86.09 0.00 63.29
0.00 0.00 37.32 SHER AL FARM
3 2809 VANCOUVER D'AUVREY DANIELLE TORANO USA 0.00 93.23 0.00 69.26 0.00
0.00 37.48 SIR RULY
4 1468 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 0.00 91.93 0.00 68.43 0.00 4.00 37.96
TORREY PINES STBLE
5 2762 PRISTANNA DANIEL DEUSSER GER 1.00 96.39 1.00 72.20 2.00 STAL
6 1744 UBLESCO CARA RAETHER USA 0.00 92.28 4.00 69.98 4.00 TRELAWNY
7 2622 CRISTALLO RICHARD SPOONER USA 0.00 92.76 4.00 65.76 4.00 SHOW
8 2677 OLIVER III JUDY GAROFALO TORRES USA 0.00 92.19 4.00 69.70 4.00
HIGHER GROUND FARM
9 559 OBELIX R LISA SILVERMAN USA 0.00 93.24 4.00 68.69 4.00 LISA
10 3161 RUSSEL NICK SKELTON GBR 0.00 92.83 4.00 66.21 4.00 JOHN HALES
11 654 MUSTIQUE YANN CANDELE FRA 0.00 93.63 4.00 71.84 4.00 SUSAN
12 2286 MISS INDEPENDENT LAURA KRAUT USA 0.00 87.84 8.00 65.22 8.00
MISS INDEPEND. GRP
13 2841 PAVAROTTI TODD MINIKUS USA 0.00 89.77 8.00 67.92 8.00 TODD
14 1711 CARLOS BOY KEN BERKLEY USA 4.00 88.15 8.00 65.74 12.00 ALEXA
15 1960 JUDGEMENT BEEZIE MADDEN USA 4.00 86.60 9.00 76.00 13.00 IRON