Articles: Press Release
Tampa Equestrian Festival Week 1 Wrap-up, March 19-23, 2008, Suncoast Internationale
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Tampa, FL - March 24, 2008 -
It was a great return to the winner's circle for Margie Engle of Wellington, FL.
She piloted Hidden Creek's Pamina L to victory in the $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand
Prix of Florida. The class was the highlight of the first week of competition
at the Tampa Equestrian Festival, held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center
on the Florida State Fairgrounds. Next week's competition, the Tampa Bay
Classic, runs from March 26-30.
The course was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. It
featured 13 numbered obstacles in the first round. There were 28 entries in the
class, and 8 were clear to continue to the jump-off. The time allowed of 74
seconds was a definite factor, as four riders incurred just one time fault.
There were four retirements and one elimination. Engle commented, "I thought it
was a nice course. It was a little bit careful and technical in parts, and time
was very tight."
The first to return for the jump-off was Leslie Howard on
her first of two mounts over the shortened course. She and Lennox Lewis 2 were
efficient through the course. Howard made an inside turn from jump 1 to 2,
which some of the other riders would attempt as well. She finished in a quick
time with no faults in 41.464 seconds. Her time would hold up for four more
horses until Engle entered the ring.
Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L made two great inside
turns in the jump-off, and the 9-year-old mare's hind end cleared the jumps
with ease. Engle galloped down to the last single oxer and was clear. She had
lowered the leading time down to 39.743 seconds.
Engle has only had Hidden Creek's Pamina L for six weeks.
The German-bred mare was in quarantine at the beginning of the year. Engle
showed her lightly and moved her up slowly, and they won a 1.40m speed class in
Wellington before arriving in Tampa. "I thought I would try the WEF
(Challenge Cup on Thursday) here and she was really good, so I figured I'd give
her a shot today," Engle said. "Although she hasn't done a lot of big classes,
she's naturally pretty quick. She's got her own style, but she's careful."
After Sunday's grand prix, there are only three remaining
qualifying events for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented
by The Tampa Tribune and Sweetbay Supermarket:
March 27: $30,000 WEF
Challenge Cup at week two of the Tampa Equestrian Festival
March 30: $75,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier & the Just World Grand Prix of
Tampa CSI 3* W at week two of the Tampa Equestrian Festival
April 2: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI at week three of the Tampa Equestrian
Tickets for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational are
still available. Advance ticket prices are $25 in the white section, $35 in the
blue section, and $40 in the red section. An Advance Family 4-pack is available
for $70 in the white section and $125 in the blue section (Prices higher day of
show: $30, $40, $45, $85, $140). Group prices for 20 or more people are
available with advance purchase only. They are $17 each in the white section
and $30 each in the blue section. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster
813-287-8844, 727-898-2100 or ticketmaster.com.
For more information on the Tampa Equestrian Festival and
the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, please visit www.stadiumjumping.com.
Wednesday to Sunday
The 1.40m Jumper class on Wednesday was a Time First Round
format for speed and was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. He
designed a track with 11 numbered obstacles and two double combinations. Eight
horses were clear over the course.
The winner of the class was Lutopia, ridden by Molly Ashe
Cawley and owned by Jane Forbes Clark. Lutopia was the sixth horse to go.
Cawley had already gone on one horse in the class and got to know the track
Lutopia is a veteran speed horse and has won classes too
numerous to count, but she has not been paired with Cawley for months. Cawley
has been out of competition and riding since last August. She gave birth to her
daughter Taylor two months ago. This was Cawley's first show back on Lutopia.
"She feels great. It's like putting on your favorite old
pair of sneakers," she smiled. "It's just great to get back on her. She's such
a winner and such a fun horse to ride. It was a long wait."
The first grand prix of the 2008 Tampa Equestrian Festival
was held on Thursday. 2007 Pan American Games bronze medalist Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, was the
winner this week on Olinda,
owned by Houlihan Lawrence. They achieved victory in the $30,000 WEF Challenge
an 11-year-old bay Warmblood mare, and Minikus had a quick pace and was on his
way to lowering the leading time. After fence 6 they made the short rollback
turn to the left, but Olinda
slipped and tripped. She regained her footing and kept going, and Minikus
opened up her gallop slightly to the final two fences. He passed through the
timers to take the lead by only one-tenth of a second in 41.569 seconds.
This was the first show back for Olinda in almost two weeks since she competed
in the final leg of the Olympic Show Jumping Trials. "I hadn't schooled her or
even been over a pole on the ground since then," Minikus said. "She seemed like
the week and a half break really freshened her up."
The open jumpers competed on Saturday in the North American
League (NAL) 1.40m speed class, and Margie Engle on Hidden Creek's Calippo 12
were the quickest pair around the course. They came away with the win over
Tigger and Molly Ashe Cawley.
Engle sped easily around the course designed by Michel
Vaillancourt of Canada.
She was the third rider to go in the class, chasing the leading time of 61.801
seconds set by Molly Ashe Cawley and Concerto. Engle and Calippo made the
inside turns and were quick, stopping the timers in 59.524 seconds with no
This is Engle's third season with Hidden Creek's Calippo 12,
a horse known for its speed around the course. In today's class, Engle wanted
to be efficient but was not pressing the grey gelding too much. "I wanted to go
medium and do the turns," Engle acknowledged. "I wanted to see between my two
mounts who would be comfortable in the ring to go on Sunday."
Michael Murphy of Apopka,
FL, was the winner of the
Junior/Amateur-owner Power and Speed class today with Katina 12. Riders had to
be clear over the first eight jumps in order to continue the course for the
speed phase. Nine riders moved onto the speed part of the course, but the
fastest was Murphy, who is only 14 years old. He and Katina 12, an 8-year-old
Selle Francais mare, went second in the class and no one could catch their
speedy clear round in 37.301 seconds. The next fastest was Laura Pfeiffer of
Temperance, MI, on Lilli Marlen. They finished in 38.611 seconds.
Murphy has only ridden Katina 12 for a week. "We're trying
her right now to be my High Junior Jumper. This week is a trial period," Murphy
explained. "If it all works out I'll do the High (Junior Jumpers) and some
small grand prix."
Wednesday through Sunday
Kelley Farmer spent Wednesday at the Hunter Ring doing quick
changes as she moved from horse to horse, but it was worth the hassle when she
walked away with top honors in six of the hotly contested classes.
Farmer and Clarity, a five-year-old bay, owned by Larry
Glefke, had a banner day. Not only was this pair triumphant in the two Green
Conformation classes, they also came out on top in both Regular Conformation
Hunter classes that were contested today.
"Clarity is wonderful!" said Farmer. "He was brought over
from Europe as a jumper prospect by McLain
Ward, but being so young we put him in the hunter ring. He showed four times and was champion three
times and reserve champion once. He
never did any of the little stuff; he just went right into the bigger classes. He is just so talented."
Farmer continued her domination of the Hunter Ring with
Guess Again in the Regular Working Hunters. Guess Again marched handily around the four-foot high courses to claim
victory in both classes. "It's great to come here to Tampa," Farmer said. "After all that time in Wellington, this is a nice change."
The local Tampa/St. Petersburg area was well represented in
the winner's circle as Amazing T, ridden by Ann Louise Powers and owned by St.
Pete resident Susan McGarry, was named Low Hunter Champion. "I was late this morning," said McGarry. "I dropped the kids off at school and raced
here. I got to the stalls in time to see
him go around the corner to the ring. I'm just glad that I made it because he was so good. I had wondered if he would mind the
scoreboard in the corner, but I guess he likes to see his name in lights. We are going to take it nice and slow with
him - he's only four. He is too nice to
Unbelievable, owned by Paula Pell, was victorious in both
Green Working Hunter classes that were contested today. Piloted by Mary Eufemia, this horse also
calls St. Pete home.
Betty Oare had more than one reason to celebrate on
Friday. Not only is it her 44th
wedding anniversary, L'Alezon, her 8 year-old Selle Francais mare, won all
three Amateur-Owner Hunter classes. Oare, of Warrenton, VA,
rode the gleaming chestnut mare over the courses, designed by Philip DeVita,
with precision and style.
She said, "It is nice to come to a new place to finish out
the winter. Stadium Jumping and Gene
Mische always do such a great job. I
have known Gene since time began and have judged for Stadium Jumping
forever. I am delighted that they hold
these shows. Not only are they beautiful
and well run, but I get a chance to see people that weren't at the other
Second to Oare in two of the three classes held today was Brooksville, FL
resident Jennifer Farri and her appropriately named Bling Bling. Farri and the
stunning 8 year-old grey gelding were very happy with their second place
Farri said, "I love this show. It feels like home, being in my back
yard. We show here a lot, mostly in the
covered arena, but this hunter ring has the best footing. It makes it so nice. It's been a great week."
The first to go in the ring on Sunday were the Large Junior
Hunters. Taylor Ann Adams and Social Circle
seemed to have no trouble winning the first class of the morning, the under
saddle. The pair produced the winning
round in the final jumping class with a more confident trip around the course. They held off the challenge from Paige Dekko
and Mr. Coffee to claim the championship.
The Small Junior Hunters competed next and Lyle with Caitie
Hope aboard seemed to be in his element. A second place finish in the under saddle and then two superior rounds
over fences clinched the champion title for them. Laura Pfeiffer and her Manchineel were named
the reserve champion.
Paige Dekko continued her domination of the Equitation
division by winning the WIHS Equitation-Hunter class. Her score of 86 points was two points higher
than her closest rival, Morgan Hale.
As the sun began to shine, the Pony Hunters took over the
ring. Up Til' Dawn, a flashy palomino
owned by Dearborn Farm and ridden by Shawn Casady, was as faultless today as he
was yesterday, and claimed victory in both classes over fences and the
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