Articles: Press Release
McLain Ward And Quick Star II Z Win $100,000 Lexus NHS Jumper
Championship, CSI-W Presented By Chesapeake Petroleum At The 121st
National Horse Show & Family Festival
McLain Ward And Quick Star II Z
Photo by Randi Muster
Mason Phelps, Jr. of Phelps Media Group, Inc. at (561)
753-3389 or at email@example.com
WELLINGTON, FL - December 3, 2004 - Athens Olympic Team Silver Medallist
McLain Ward, 29, of Brewster, NY, aboard Quick Star II Z owned by Double
H Farm topped a field of 29 horses to win the $100,000 Lexus National
Horse Show Jumper Championship, CSI-W Presented By Chesapeake Petroleum
at the evening session of the 121st National Horse Show & Family
Festival tonight. Notching the faster performance in a two-horse
jump-off, Ward claimed $30,000 and victory over Georgina Bloomberg, 21,
of New York, NY, riding Riviera owned by Gotham Enterprizes, who earned
$22,000 for second place. Third place and $13,000 went to the Athens
Olympic Team Alternate, Alison Firestone, aboard Casanova owned by Mr.
and Mrs. Bertram Firestone; Firestone was the only other rider to jump
clean in Round One, but she incurred one time fault.
"He's obviously a great course designer," Ward said of Conrad Homfeld,
who built the demanding tracks. "He's as good a course designer as he
was a horseman and a rider, so it's a real pleasure to ride his courses.
It's a real test of the rider, more than just the brute power of a
horse, which is nice. It's a thinking course. He built a great test
Held as the featured event of "Jumping Under The Stars" in the
Internationale Arena, the World Cup qualifying class was contested on
grass and under lights. Spectators filled the grass bermed seating
around the ring and a black tie dinner was held in the Diamond Horseshoe
VIP tent overlooking the competition.
Homfeld built a demanding course of 14 jumps for Round One with Time
Allowed adjusted to 87 seconds after the first two riders. Time was a
factor for nearly a third of the field as eight riders incurred time
faults. Jumps fell throughout the course and 11 riders knocked down only
one rail for four faults. It was not until Bloomberg took to the arena
as the 19th rider that the crowd saw a clear round, and then just three
trips later, Ward clocked in clean, but no others could master the
"The course rode very unlike how it walked," Bloomberg said. "There
wasn't one particular trouble spot, which is also the mark of a good
course designer. The rails came all over the course. The double coming
home (13ab) was very tight, but really for horses jumping under the
lights again, you never know. Some horses misjudge the jumps a little
bit." Going late in the order, Bloomberg said she had the advantage of
watching other riders, which helped her with the time allowed. "I really
booked it around. I rode much faster than I usually would have like to
with him." Casanova is a 13-year-old Dutch gelding.
Ward's assessment of Round One concurred. "Combinations are always
difficult. I didn't think the triple (9abc) was that hard tonight but I
thought the double was hard. One of the things you have to worry about
on a night like tonight is how the shadows are going to affect the
horses depending on where the jumps are. You're always going to get some
shadows under lights. My mare's a pretty brave mare and Georgina's horse
is pretty experienced so that certainly helped. You saw a few horses
tonight 'green up' a little." He added, "The lighting is excellent
For the Jump-Off, Homfeld shortened the course to seven obstacles and
set the time at 47 seconds. Bloomberg was first to go and put in another
clean trip in 42.48 seconds. Ward went next and raced around the course
in 38.85 seconds, leaving all the jumps up to clinch the win.
"I decided to just go for a smooth clear round," Bloomberg said of her
performance. "I knew that if McLain was clear, he was going to beat me
anyway," she laughed. "It would have been great to win, but the World
Cup points is what means the most and I knew the worst that could happen
was that I'd be second, so it was great anyway." Bloomberg was ninth in
the World Cup standings going in to the competition and tonight's
placing will advance her standing.
Ward said wryly that before the Jump-Off he overheard Bloomberg's coach
Jimmy Doyle telling her not to be conservative. "I knew she was going to
be swift but also being first in the jump-off, you have to put in a
clear round, so she was being smart. Quick Star is a fast horse and one
of my fears in the jump-off was that I was going to try and go too fast.
I really had to just saddle in and take the time where I thought I
needed it. I was thrilled with her."
Ward only started showing the 10-year-old Dutch mare this year and said
she has been getting better and better through their experiences in the
ring. "Obviously, this is a big win for her," he said. Ward was four
seconds faster than Bloomberg in the Jump-Off and attributed that to his
mare. "My horse is a little bit like a rabbit, so she's naturally very
fast. You saw there were people having time faults in the first round -
I didn't even think about having time faults with her. She hits the
ground - her legs are going a million miles an hour. I basically just
have a faster horse. I don't know that I shaved any corners."
Ward liked the head-to-head finish with only two in the tiebreaker.
"This crowd in Wellington is a very horse-educated crowd," he said.
"They understand that this is the pinnacle of the sport and there's
something very exciting about a two- or three-horse jump-off. It shows
what a difficult test it is and how great a performance it is to go
clear. I thought it was a wonderful class."
Ward is already qualified for the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas
scheduled for April 20-24, 2005, but he does not intend to take Quick
Star. Instead he plans to take his Olympic mount Sapphire and also
Goldika 559 - both are Double H Farm mares. "I have a tentative outline
in the back of my mind, but nothing set in stone at this point," Ward
said. With points not a factor, Ward said his motive in tonight's class
was to finish the year on a good note. "Whether it's the World Cup or
the Computer List, these classes are important and it's a nice way to
finish the season."
Acknowledging that, "there's no place like the Garden," Ward was still
positive about the National Horse Show's move to Florida. A New Yorker
with emotional ties to the venue, he recalled that the only time he ever
cried over a victory was when he won in New York for the first time at
Madison Square Garden in1997. "But this is a great show that Gene
[Mische] has put on. Great sponsors. This is a wonderful event and
certainly very exciting to win. I have a great sponsor in Double H Farm
- the Harrisons. They have a residence here in Wellington so it's
especially nice for them to come and see it."
For tonight's victory, Ward was also awarded the Walter B. Devereux
Memorial Challenge Trophy donated by Mrs. Ernest Sleddon Bessett, Jr.,
Mrs. Kris Colvin, and the late Mrs. Walter B. Devereux. As the highest
placed international rider, Ward was also honored with the Devereux
Perpetual Trophy donated by the late Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Devereux.
The 121st National Horse Show & Family Festival runs through Sunday,
December 5. More than 500 of the nation's top horses are competing in
hunters, jumpers, equitation and dressage for more than half a million
dollars in total prize money. Upcoming attractions on Sunday, December 5
include the $100,000 Budweiser AGA Championship, CSI*** presented by
For more information about the 121st National Horse Show & Family
Festival, write to National Horse Show, PO Box 386, Greenvale, NY 11548.
E-mail: NationalHS@aol.com; Phone: (516) 484-1865; Fax: (516) 484-1982.