2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Two Wrap-Up
RELEASE: January 28, 2010
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued a strong circuit this year in the second week of competition held January 20-24. The week featured the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, CSI** along with a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation classes. The week two title sponsor was Purina Mills, and through Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, they are the exclusive horse feed sponsor of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.
Land O'Lakes Purina Feed, LLC (www.landolakesinc.com), is a national organization serving producers and their families through 4,700 local cooperatives and independent dealerships throughout the United States. The company, in combination with its wholly owned subsidiary Purina Mills, LLC, is North America's leading feed company, providing producers, cooperatives and dealers with an extensive line of animal feed, ingredients and services designed to help agricultural producers, dealers and cooperatives compete in the global marketplace.
Purina Mills was the title sponsor of Saturday night's grand prix, which was a very successful opening night event for the 2010 FTI WEF with more than 4,000 spectators. Mario Deslauriers and Urico, owned by Jane Clark, won the first major grand prix competition in the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, CSI**. Following behind Deslauriers in the awards presentation were Nick Skelton of Great Britain and Carlo 273, owned by Beverly Widdowson, in second place and Yann Candele of Canada on Susan Grange's Pitareusa in third.
Deslauriers and Urico, a nine-year-old Dutch gelding by Zandor Z, were very neat and quick throughout the twisting jump-off course. Deslauriers made a great slice across "The Breakers" wall jump and kept moving forward through short turns. They waited down the last line to keep the final, delicate gate vertical standing, and then crossed the timers in 40.34 seconds.
"I set the pace," Deslauriers said afterwards. "My horse is very, very quick. I was a little slow to the far oxer, but other than that I was pretty much on track. My horse has a big step and is extremely quick in the air. If I can keep it pretty steady and smooth, people have to run. I was lucky that no one beat me. Yann beat me, but he had one (fence) down. It was a great class."
Deslauriers is a native Canadian and became an American citizen in September of 2009. He first rode for the United States team at the Nations Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November last year, but this is his first grand prix win as an American. "It feels great!" he exclaimed. "Jane was here tonight, and everybody was here to watch. It's always good to start on a good note. The (Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games) trials are coming up, and we've got important classes. The horse seems to be in good form. We should have a good season." Jumper Highlights
In the opening class on Wednesday, the $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Time First Round, 29 entries went to post. There were 17 clear rounds, and the fastest of those was Pablo Barrios of Venezuela on G&C Sinatra, owned by Barrios as well as Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal of G&C Farm in Wellington, FL, who crossed the timers in 55.151 seconds. The early leader was McLain Ward on Miss Liberty 7, owned by Overlook Farm, who finished second in a time of 56.285 seconds. Angela Covert-Lawrence and Unica Van De Roshoeve, owned by Eastwood Group, were also quick and clear in 56.369 seconds to finish in third place.
Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, returned to the winner's circle with Tosca 290, owned by Hidden Creek Farm, in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round Two on Thursday.
On her first horse Aslan, Kochetova returned first in the jump-off and set the time to beat in 43.98 seconds with no faults. That would hold up for third place in the class. The last to go was the very dangerous Leslie Howard on Lennox Lewis 2, second place finishers in last week's speed derby. Howard had a very fast pace throughout the course, but finished just off the winning pace in 41.62 seconds to place second.
Engle and the quick little mare Tosca 290, a 10-year-old KWPN by Numero Uno, galloped around the course and finished clear in a time of 47.13 seconds to move to the lead. Engle had to watch five other horses finish the jump-off before she would lead the victory gallop.
Earlier in the day, Barrios scored yet another win early in the circuit. This time it came in the $8,000 Sentient Jet 1.45m Time First Jump-off. He and G&C Blanchee, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, were the fastest double clear in 36.130 seconds for the win. Anglea Covert-Lawrence of Canada and Utan, owned by Eastwood Equine Inc., were also double clear for second place in 38.088 seconds. Fellow Canadian Ainsley Vince and Frieda, owned by the KMA Group, were third in 38.217 seconds with no faults.
Last proved to be the best in Friday's exciting Spy Coast 1.40m Speed Challenge at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Marie Hecart of France rode Ryan Star du Rezidal, owned by Ashland Stables, to a very fast win in the speed class, posting a time just four-tenths of a second faster than the second place finishers, Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil and Palouchin de Ligny. Hecart and Ryan Star du Rezidal have been paired together for a year, and the talented horse was gelded just four months ago. Hecart is a professional rider from France and rides for Olympic Gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada and Ashland Stables.
Over a field of 12 in the jump-off, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Randall Z raced to a fast double-clear result to win Sunday's $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic over Eliza Shuford on Little John and Reed Kessler with Mika.
Going second to last in the jump-off, Shahinian-Simpson and Kilkenny Randall Z, a 16-year-old BWP gelding by Randel Z, zipped around the twisting jump-off course. They made a sharp turn back to the final line and Kilkenny Randall Z was able to fit in the two strides for the combination and soar over the final oxer to finish clear. They lowered the winning time to 48.868 seconds. She described Kilkenny Randall Z as "a total gentleman," and went on to say, "He's really easy to ride, very classical to ride. Even though he's 15, mentally he just loves going in the ring. He's a real showman. It makes my job easier." Hunter Highlights
Emerging victorious on Thursday to earn the championship in the Western Hay and Suncoast Shavings Second Year Green Working Hunters were Shane Sweetnam and Take Note, owned by Lindsey Tomeu. Take Note received a second place, third, and seventh over fences and won the under saddle to clinch the championship. The reserve champion award went to Louise Serio and Kid Rock, owned by Paige Cole.
Sweetnam originally hails from Ireland, but now bases out of Wellington, FL, and Lexington, KY, where he rides for Spy Coast Farm and Sweet Oak Farm. Sweetnam describes Take Note, an eight-year-old Swedish Warmblood, as "very talented and beautiful to ride." "The jump is fantastic, he's never spooky, and he's very rideable," Sweetnam commented on his mount.
Mimi Tashjian and Capital Blue continued their two-week winning streak when they picked up the championship in section A of the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 51 & Over division. Tashjian has only competed twice on Capital Blue, owned by Scott Stewart, and has earned the championship both times.
Capital Blue is a six-year-old gelding that Tashjian's trainers Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley recently imported to America, so this is his first season at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Tashjian and her trainer of 15 years, Scott Stewart, share the ride on Capital Blue, whom Stewart shows in the Pre-Green Hunters as well.
Tashjian and Capital Blue received scores of 85 in both rounds over fences on Friday. The duo won both over fences classes, as well as a second place over fences on Thursday to claim the championship. The reserve champion was awarded to Glen Senk and Winter's Tale, owned by Fashion Farm. Senk and the flashy grey won an over fences and the under saddle class.
Junior hunters were showcased on Saturday in the Rost Arena, where Chase Boggio and Norgan Inc.'s Rockford picked up the tricolor in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division. Boggio and Rockford won the handy hunter class, and they placed first and second over fences for a grand total of 26 points to claim the championship. The reserve champion ribbon went to Kelsey Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm's Gianni.
Rockford is a new ride for Boggio, who has only shown the bay gelding once prior to last weekend. Rockford also shows in the Second Year Green Hunters with Nora Thomas. Boggio is thankful for the ride on Rockford whom he says is "never fresh, doesn't really look at the jumps at all, and is very easy to ride. You can just get on and go."
Meredith Darst added another tricolor to her list of accolades with the championship win in the Gotham North Small Pony Hunters on Hillcrest's Blue Gem Stone. Darst and Hillcrest's Blue Gem Stone, who is owned by Lochmoor Stables, won the first class over fences on Saturday and claimed the first and second places over fences on Sunday to secure the championship.
Darst is always in high demand at the horse show, and her feet never seem to stay on the ground for too long, since she shows about 11 ponies and horses per weekend. It is no surprise that she is such a popular catch rider, seeing as her talents range from the Small Pony Hunters to the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, in which Darst was reserve champion on All Seasons Farm's In The Black.
Other winners this weekend in the Small Pony Hunters included Star Command, ridden by Alden Price and owned by Christa Carson, as well as Ballou, who was ridden by Daisy Farish and is owned by Victoria Colvin. Ballou and Farish were also awarded the reserve championship in the Small Pony Hunter division.
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