Beezie Madden Posts First 2009 Winter Equestrian Festival Win
RELEASE: March 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Roxane Theidel
Double Olympic Gold medalist Beezie Madden won her first grand prix of the 2009 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Thursday, March 12, aboard Onlight in Round X of the $30,000 Braman Motorcars WEF Challenge Cup Series.
Madden of Cazenovia, NY, and Onlight, owned by Team Onlight, were the only double-clear round from the initial 49 entries for the class in the DeNemethy arena. Only four combinations made it to the jump-off on the the course designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. The time by Madden and Onlight was 54.36 seconds.
Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and Let's Fly, owned by the Double H Farm, placed second with four faults and a time of 44.64 seconds with Ireland's Kevin Babington and Caracas 49 in third place with four faults and a time of 49.76 seconds in the jump-off.
"I was very pleased with my horse," Pessoa said of his jump-off ride. "I added a stride to the vertical, and it was really tight. Not going last, you want to leave as little room possible for those behind you, but today the plan didn't work."
Madden, who was not planning to go fast in the jump-off said, "I was just trying to make it under the time allowed and have a nice round, but it proved to be a difficult jump-off to go clear."
Holding the Challenge in the DeNemethy ring this week raised new questions for the horses and riders. "The course was nice, it took the horse a lot of adjusting," Pessoa said. "It was quite a different track with all the broken lines today."
"Because of the shape of the ring there were different routes, lots of bending. It was a good course; you needed rideability which is good," Madden said. "It helped get ready for Sunday."
This was the first grand prix win for the 10-year-old German-bred mare that Madden has ridden for the past four years. "She's been a little slow getting here," she said. "Hopefully today she turned the corner."
Both Madden and Pessoa have their eyes on the World Cup in Las Vegas, April 15-19. Pessoa has qualified with the Double H Farm-owned Rufus, while Madden hopes to qualify the nine-year-old Belgian gelding, Danny Boy, owned by Abigail Wexner.
On Sunday, Great Britain's Peter Charles captured his second grand prix of th FTI Winter Equestrian Festival by riding Murka's Pom d'Ami to victory in the $75,000 CSI** Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
In one of the season's most trilling international jump-offs, Charles and Murka's Pom D'Ami, owned by Olga White, were the fastest of three double-clear rounds in the 12-horse jump-off. The pair posted a time of 42.54 seconds; Ramiro Quintana of Argentina and Q's Charm, owned by Kathryn Quirk, finished second, completing the second-round course in 46.23 seconds. Russian Olympian Ljubov Kochetova and Ilion Kilen, owned by Kochetova, rounded out the top three with a time of 48.44 seconds.
While walking the course, Charles asked course designer Olaf Petersen, Jr., of Germany, to move the flower boxes around fence 11 to make the inside turn from fence three to 15 possible in the jump-off. Olaf complied, making the jump-off one of the most exciting of the 12-week circuit. Almost half of the competitors in the second round opted for the inside turn.
"With the flowers there the turn was impossible, it was a risky, chancy turn with the flowers gone," Charles said.
"The turn gave me a big advantage. I gained a lot from one to two, and just let him come home from there. I let him run home and do the eight strides down the last line."
Quintana, who went first in the second round and opted not to do the inside turn because it looked "too hard for him (Q's Charm) at the moment" felt the "winner should have gone inside."
"I wanted to go fast but not give away my clear round. I wanted to go clean, medium fast, and put pressure on everyone else."
As the second round continued, Quintana thought,