Articles: Press Release
Beezie's the Best at $45,000 Garden State Grand Prix
Beezie Madden winning the Grand Prix with Play On;
Contact: Nancy Johnson
May 14, 2008, AUGUSTA, New Jersey- It couldn't have played better if written in a script. Two United States Equestrian Team members, who will be representing the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished 1st and 2nd in the $45,000 Garden State Grand Prix at Garden State Horse Show, May 10. Beezie Madden, rode Play On, the final horse in the jump-off, to beat teammate, McLain Ward aboard Larioso. Madden rode two other horses, both making the jump-off, while Ward rode a second horse which had double clears. The field of 28 also included a number of other veteran riders and horses making it an exciting highlight to the 57th annual Garden State Horse Show, May 7-11, 2008.
Ten horses went clear in the first round of Kenny Krome's course. Madden thought it was "a nice, appropriate course," She further explains that "it is tough to build for this level of horses" as some of them are much more experienced than others. The jump-off course was straightforward, as attested by fact that 7 of the 10 horses managed a double clear. However, here Krome plainly opened the door to those willing to risk tight turn options and long gallops.
"It's always a big help to have more than one horse to ride," Madden admits. "As you can see, I rode [the jump-off course] three times and my last one was the fastest."
Play On's owner, Alan Shore, was elated with the 10-year-old Dutch horse's win. "He won some 1.5 classes in Florida, but this was a big step up for 'Red' -- his first Grand Prix win! " He explains that he bought the horse specifically for Madden to bring along and compete. Garden State provided just the warm- up John & Beezie Madden were hoping for as Play On is headed next to Old Salem, Spruce Meadows and then a two month stint in Europe. While Shore credits the Maddens with years of careful preparation, he also believes Play On gets his athletic ability and jumping style honestly; his sire is Jus de Pomme, '96 Olympic Gold Medal winner.
Carolyn Curcio, 18, Long Branch, NJ, proved her versatility at Garden State, winning classes in the equitation, jumper, and hunter divisions. Curcio rode her Valvert to best the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search class. That, coupled with a 3rd place overall finish in the Washington International Equitation class, made her Junior Equitation co-champion, along with her good friend, Jessica Springsteen. Curcio says that training with Beacon Hill for the past four years has been a great help to her riding education. "Stacia [Madden] and Max [Amaya] have such different styles and personalities, but they really work well together as trainers and it's great to have two perspectives," she believes. Curcio, who has aspirations to move up to Grand Prix, also rode her Blast Off to win a High Jr./Amateur Jumper class. Then the poised young lady switched gears and catch rode Robin Fairclough's Bentley to the Large Jr. Hunter (16-17) championship, winning all four over fences classes. "I am so
lucky to have been asked to ride this fabulous horse. It is an honor," she says of Bentley whose regular "job" is showing in the Children's Hunter division with a young rider.
For 14-year-old Mary Horzepa beating bigger horses in the $2,500 Jack Fritz Challenge Class on her 14.1 hand pinto pony, Amber, was no big deal. After all, a few years ago at Garden State the young Millstone, NJ girl swept the Itty Bitty Jumper division on a 10 hand pony! "They laughed at me when I led him up to the trophy stand and asked for my championship ribbon," she recalls. The Fritz Challenge, which is enormously popular at Garden State, is a two-phase class open to any horse and rider competing in under Level 4 jumper classes. This year the qualifier round, held on Friday, drew 72 entries. The field is then narrowed down to a maximum of 30 horses which are invited to the Grand Prix ring to compete in the Finals on Sunday.
In the jump-off, contested by 14 riders, the last fence proved the trouble spot as the airy stripped vertical rails came down repeatedly. Horzepa went late in the order and used it to her advantage. "I knew I had to be fast enough to beat the other clear rounds, but to be honest, I didn't go as fast as I could have because I knew that was the problem with the last fence. Everyone was looking at it as just a simple vertical so they cut the turn a little too much, got there deep and took it down."