Articles: Press Release
Wrap Up For Winter Equestrian Festival Week
6, March 3-7, CN Wellington Open CSI-W
Mason Phelps, Jr. of Phelps Media Group, Inc at 561-753-3389 or at
WELLINGTON, FL - March 7, 2004 - The sixth week of the 32nd Winter
Equestrian Festival entitled CN Wellington Open CSI-W was held March 3-7
at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. Dr. Arno
Gego of Germany was the course designer in the Internationale Arena.
J.D. Godart built the tracks in the Grand Hunter Field.
The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in Wellington through March 21,
and then the action moves to Tampa for two weeks at the Bob Thomas
Equestrian Center, and caps off with the $200,000 Budweiser American
Invitational Presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune on April 3 at the
Raymond James Stadium. Total prize money for the 2004 WEF is
three-million-dollars. Produced by founder Eugene R. Mische and Stadium
Jumping, Inc., the Winter Equestrian Festival is the largest and longest
consecutively running equestrian sporting event in the world.
Lauren Hough And Clasiko Win $75,000 CN Florida Open Grand Prix
Presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W
The highlight of the week was the $75,000 CN Florida Open Grand Prix
Presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W on Sunday, March 7.
Marking the second Grand Prix title of his career, Clasiko, Lauren
Hough's 2000 Olympic mount, claimed the win. "They are few and far
between but they're important," said Hough, regarding Clasiko's short
victory list. Clasiko earned a berth on the Sydney team before he'd ever
won a grand prix, and notched his first victory at the National Horse
Show in 2002 when it was held in the Internationale Arena. Hough, 26 of
Wellington, is aiming Clasiko for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Hough and Clasiko owned by the Clasiko Group topped a field of 41 horses
and were one of only two double clear performances today. Placing second
was Beezie Madden, 40, of Cazenovia, New York, aboard Desilvio owned by
Abigail Wexner. Chris Kappler, 37, of Pittstown, New Jersey, riding
Primeur 58 for owner Kathy Kamine placed third.
Dr. Arno Gego and Christa Heibach, both of Aachen, Germany, designed the
course. "Arno Gego did a fantastic job," said Hough. "There was a lot of
technical riding and also some very big jumps. Clasiko actually hit the
first jump in the first round and when he does that, then he wakes up
and the rest of the round was very easy to ride. He jumped beautifully
and I was just thrilled." Five horses went clean and qualified for the
Marley Goodman riding Razia for her family's Turtle Lane Farm led off
over the eight-effort shortened course with time allowed at 54 seconds,
but incurred a rail in 48.57 to finish fifth. Hough went next and set
the pace with her clear in 43.07. Kappler, the 2003 American
Invitational winner on his way to Tampa in three weeks to defend his
title, challenged Hough but had a knockdown for a penalty of four in
43.50 for third. Eric Hasbrouck aboard Sitah for Trelawny Farm Inc. had
the unfortunate last rail down in 47.22 for fourth place. Going last in
the order, Madden and Desilvio went for it, and despite a misstep after
the fourth fence, they went clean but in 43.61 and had to settle for the
"It was a jump-off suited to my horse because there was a lot of long
runs and he has a very big stride and covers the ground really well,"
explained Hough. "So I did one less stride in the first line from one to
two and just tried to stay on a very forward rhythm the whole way
through. He was very good to clear the last jump. He did a little bit of
a funny jump to get over it." Hough has been partnered with Clasiko, a
13-year-old, bay Holsteiner gelding by Colando out of Bola by Lorino
since he was seven.
Madden pinpointed where she lost time in the jump-off. "I don't know if
he stumbled or the footing gave way or something, but it took me a
couple of strides to get up and get going again, so it cost me some time
out." Madden has been partnered with Desilvio, a nine-year-old Dutch
gelding by Silvio out of Grazia, since he was five. She is aiming
Desilvio for the Athens Olympic Selection Trials. "He's big and scopey
and as long as we have no set backs, he'll be ready for the trials."
The $75,000 CN Florida Open Grand Prix Presented by Estates of
Wellington Green, CDI-W was a qualifying competition for the FEI World
Cup Final that will be held April 21-24, 2004, in Milan, Italy.
Highlights Thursday Through Sunday
McLain Ward Finishes One-Two In WEF $25,000 CN Challenge Cup Series,
Round VI, CSI***
After a streak of 10 wins followed by two weeks out of the winner's
circle in the Internationale Arena, McLain Ward took the blue and the
red ribbons on Thursday, March 4, and joked, "I had to make up for not
Ward 28, of Brewster, New York, claimed the two top spots in the WEF
$25,000 CN Challenge Cup Series, Round VI, topping a class of 66 horses.
Ward won with Goldika 559 owned by Double H Farm, and placed second with
Hurricane I owned by Turnabout Farm.
Ward's two horses were the fastest of seven double-clear performances.
Canada's Ainsley Vince placed third with Catch 22 owned by Trinity Farm.
With 15 horses clear for the tiebreaker, the first seven horses were not
able to go clean. Going eighth in the order, Ward posted the first clear
trip with Hurricane in at 30.59 seconds. The next five riders chased
Ward and all of them went clear, but none could catch the time except
for Ward himself. Tackling the track as the 12th rider, Ward aboard
Goldika 559 broke the beam at 28.91 seconds. Two more clears followed
but to no avail.
"I knew the last double was going to be difficult actually for
Hurricane. I wasn't so worried about it with Goldika," said Ward. "But
the rest of the jump-off was a great jump-off for Hurricane - rollbacks
on big oxers. He's a very scopey horse and he can do that. It was
actually not a great jump-off course for Goldika because she's more of a
running horse. She can win classes with ground speed more than turning.
But everything just showed up and she was really on form today. It was a
In town this week for the CN-sponsored show is the Harrison Family,
owners of Double H Farm and Goldika, as well as several other
Ward-ridden mounts. Hunter Harrison is CN's President and CEO. "Yes
they're here and very excited - a win is always nice for your horse but
when it happens for the sponsor of the show that week, that's a bonus,"
After two days of competition in the Grand Hunter Field, three
Championships were awarded on Thursday, March 4. Ken Smith riding
Westcliffe owned by Christy Russo won the Regular Conformation Hunter
Championship. Scott Stewart riding For The Music owned by Krista Weisman
claimed the Reserve.
Scott Stewart riding Primo for owner Air Farm won the Regular Working
Hunter Championship. Rob Bielefeld aboard Lucky owned by Samantha
Hallman earned the Reserve. First Savings Mortgage Company sponsors the
Regular Working Hunter Division.
Samantha Conroy riding Southern Lights owned by Dr. Sheila Buchbinder
won the Second Year Green Hunter Championship. Tommy Serio riding Jazz
for owner Caroli Stables claimed the Reserve.
Daniel Bluman And Gullit Shagal Win $2,500 Junior Jumper High, Power &
Competing in his first season as a junior, Daniel Bluman, 13, of
Medellin, Colombia, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, won the $2,500 Junior
Jumper High, Power & Speed aboard Gullit Shagal owned by Christine
Firmin Didot on Friday, March 5.
Bluman topped a class of 31 entries. Nine riders were clear over the
Power phase, but only two went clean in the Speed phase, with Bluman
posting a time more than four seconds faster than Cody Auer aboard
Regina owned by Esther Kane-Waring who earned second place.
"I think I rode pretty well, " said Bluman. "I went second in the order
and I knew it would be very hard to win because there were really good
riders on the course. I expected to go clean and have a nice jump-off
and try to place. He went really well and had a nice first round and
then he jumped really well in the jump-off. It was a little bit my
mistake on the last jump but the horse saved me on that one. Everything
came out really well."
Bluman has been riding for 10 years and currently trains with Francisco
Martinez and Debbie Stephens. It was Stephens who gave him the ride six
weeks ago on the former Grand Prix horse, Gullit Shagal - a 15.2-hand,
white gelding from Argentina. "Debbie thought he could be a winner for
the high juniors," explained Bluman. "The horse was good when she got
him but he could be much better - she got him going really well. She's
really organized and she got him good enough to be ridden by a kid."
The Power & Speed course was not one of the easier tracks, Bluman
pointed out. "It was really hard. Last week there were many clear rounds
but today there were only two double clear rounds," he said. "I like it
harder because I believe I always have the chance to go clean and if
there are not so many clear rounds, then I don't have to kill myself
running in the jump-off to win. That's why I like them bigger, and I
like to challenge myself. I was in the Children's division until this
year, so I've added one-and-a-half feet in two months."
Sandy Ferrell And Barcelona Win First Year Green Hunter Championship,
After two days of competition in the Grand Hunter Field, Sandy Ferrell,
36, of Churchville, Maryland, riding Barcelona for Mr. and Mrs. Ernest
Oare earned the First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section A on
Friday, March 5. Jimmy Torano riding Rising Sun for owner Kendall Bate
earned the Reserve.
Ferrell and Barcelona placed second and third in over fences classes on
Thursday, then on Friday placed third in one jumping class, were out of
the ribbons in one class, and won the Under Saddle, which clinched the
championship. The duo bested a field of 28 horses in the section. "He's
a trier, he's extremely athletic and he's a Thoroughbred, which adds a
tremendous amount of elegance to his way of going," said Ferrell of her
mount. She pinpointed what the judges liked about him, "It is his
ability to jump the jumps high and slow and still be able to do the
distances with a nice flowing soft canter."
Barcelona is an 11-year-old, 16-hand dark brown gelding that the Oares
purchased 18 months ago. Ferrell has had the ride on Barcelona from the
start. "This is his first week of showing, so his first week out he was
champion! That's a good start. It feels great."
In the First Year Green Section B, rider/owner Scott Stewart won the
Championship aboard Dynamic. Sandy Ferrell riding Indian Summer for Mr.
and Mrs. Ralph Caristo was the Reserve.
Sheila Burke And Caya Win $20,000 1.50m Classic
Sheila Burke riding Caya for owner Athlone Partners topped a class of 47
horses to win the $20,000 1.50 Meter Classic on Saturday, March 6. Burke
was the fastest of four double clear performances. Laura Kraut riding
Joyous for Summit Partners placed second. Eric Navet of France was third
aboard Lassergut Contour owned by Lassergut Farms. Henri Prudent, also
of France, rode Olympus owned by Trelawny Farm, Inc. to the fourth place
Dr. Gego set a 15-effort track with a triple at fence six and a double
at 12, the final fence. "The last test was an oxer to a plank
combination and that was jumped very carefully," said Burke, and noted
other challenges of the first round, "The water jump off of a bending
line was a little difficult and the triple combination was a little
scopey - it was a vertical to double oxers."
Eleven horses managed clear rounds and moved on to the tiebreaker. Burke
said she watched the lead-off rider, Markus Beerbaum on Le Mans 8, the
first of his two horses, and decided on her strategy (Beerbaum posted
four faults in 47.528 for sixth). "Just be as prompt as I could. Markus
did six strides down the first line, which is what I wanted to watch,
because it was one less than the first round," Burke explained.
Going second in the order, Prudent aboard Olympus set the pace with a
clear trip in 53.452. Navet tackled the jump-off five horses later and
snatched the lead with his time of 49.913 aboard Lassergut Contour.
Burke went as the eighth rider on course and took over the lead,
crossing the timers in 45.905.
"It ended up not being too many clear before I went," said Burke, "so I
got to not put the gas pedal totally to the floor." Burke admitted that
she did not expect her time to hold up for the win. "No. I knew Laura
Kraut was behind me and she's very fast. I was just hoping to go clean
and as promptly as possible," Burke said. Kraut went as the 10th horse
in the order and posted a clear trip, but crossed the timers in 46.725
and had to settle for second place.
Burke acquired Caya 11 months ago from Federico Sztyrle. Caya is a
12-year-old, chestnut, 16.3-hand Holsteiner mare by Carthago out of a
mare by Ronald.
Burke, 31, lives in Belgium where she trains with Peter Wylde. When in
the US from January through March for the Florida circuit, she trains
with Missy Clark.
Burke has been a standout at the Winter Equestrian Festival with her
unusual burnt orange show jacket. "I ride on the Ambiente Riders Tour
Team," explained Burke. "It's a German fashion designer and they're my
sponsor." Burke's horse has a matching pad and other horse clothes from
Ambiente in the same shade.
In earlier competition on Saturday, March 6, in the Grand Hunter Field,
Louise Otten of Wayzata, Minnesota, rode Just Looking to the
Amateur-Owner Working Hunter Championship, 36-50. Otten's Alpine Farms
owns Just Looking, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. After two days
competition, Otten placed third and first in over fences classes on
Friday, and then on Saturday earned fourth place in the Under Saddle,
plus a first and a fourth over fences to clinch the championship,
topping 42 horses that competed in the division. Mary Jane King aboard
her Acappella took the Reserve slot.
For complete results visit www.stadiumjumping.com
2004 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday through
Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays are free to
everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every day; Young
Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through Sunday; Adults
are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The
Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on Pierson Road off South
Shore Boulevard. For additional information, visit
www.stadiumjumping.com or call 561-793-5867.
2004 WEF SCHEDULE OF COMPETITIONS
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)
WEF 2004 MILLION DOLLAR GRAND PRIX SERIES
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN,
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship,
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational,
Presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune
CHARLOTTE JUMPER CLASSIC CSI****
Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC
April 9 -11 Charlotte Jumper Classic CSI****
April 11 $150,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte For the Charlotte