Madden and Crème Brule Win Inaugural Palm Beach Jumping Derby
RELEASE: February 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Sarah Evers
By Ken Braddick (Beezie Madden and Crème Brule)
The inaugural $50,000 CN Palm Beach Jumping Derby that became a festive party on a hot South Florida Sunday was won by the USA's double-Olympic Gold medalist Beezie Madden on Crème Brule.
More than 3,000 spectators turned out to tailgate and party at one of the highlight events of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on the well-established grass field at the former polo stadium that is now part of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
Thirty-four horse-and-rider combinations from six nations, including Olympic Gold medalists Beezie Madden, Leslie Howard and Peter Wylde of the USA, Eric Lamaze of Canada and Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, contested 19 natural obstacles that included a Devil's Dyke, a table, a Palm Maze over a course of 1,000 meters (0.6 miles) designed by Richard Jeffery of Great Britain. The course that drew rave reviews for its beauty, creativity and attention to detail was built by Brett Raflowitz and his Equestrian Services International that also installed the competition arenas throughout PBIEC show grounds.
Peter Leone of Greenwich, CT, and a Team USA Silver medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics on Sequoyah's Ado Annie placed second with 2008 Olympic Individual Gold and Team Silver medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada on Lord du Janue finishing third.
Spectators began staking out vantage points around the grass derby field mid-morning, six hours before the class began. Tailgaters came equipped with coolers of beverages and food and large umbrellas to protect against the sun that raised the temperature to more than 80 F (27C).
Madden of Cazenovia, NY, and Crème Brule, owned by Abigail Wexner, were one of only five combinations to go clear and did so in the fastest time, 2 minutes, 16.25 seconds.
Leone aboard Sequoyah's Ado Annie posted a time of 2 minutes, 17.36 seconds, while Lamaze and Lord Du Janue rounded out the top three with a time of 2 minutes, 18.23 seconds.
Crème Brule, a nine-year-old mare with lots of derby experience and the first of Madden's three rides, "loped around the course easy today," as she put it. "It was an excellent course. Right off the bat it was difficult. The end of the course was easier, but the horses were tired by then. It was a great event with a great crowd, and a really nice, refreshing venue," she said.
Leone thought the course and the event were "a real treat. This is why we are all hooked on this sport," he said. "This is one of the nicest, if not the nicest, derby in the country."
Sequoyah's Adoannie, owned by Sequoyah Farms, LLC, was well prepared for the derby. "She was a carefully chosen mare for this event," Leone said. "She is a derby specialist. She is a special horse, and this is her venue."
Hunter Harrison, Chief Executive Officer of CN that sponsored the event, said he was pleased with all aspects of the event. "I love derbies and their longstanding tradition in the horse world," he said.
"I think this is a great event...one of the nicest classes in Florida. It's refreshing and is good for the spectators."
Mark Bellissimo, Chief Executive Officer of Equestrian Sport Productions that owns and manages events at PBIEC, said ESP hopes to use the grass field at The Stadium more frequently in the future. A regular jumping grand prix and another type of class may be added.
Todd Minikus and Alaska Claim $25,000 Fidelity Investments 1.50 m Classic
Todd Minikus added to his FTI Winter Equestrian Festival successes with a win aboard Alaska in the $25,000 Fidelity Investments 1.50-meter Classic Saturday.
Of the 22 starters, six went clear but none could repeat the performance in the jump-off.
Minikus of Wellington, and Alaska had the last rail down but posted the fastest time of 37.193 seconds. Great Britain's Ben Maher and Quainton Quirifino Z, competing for the first time after a year off, came second with Taiwan