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Jeffery Welles And Ursa Major Win 1.40 Meter Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section B
Fabio Leivas De Costa Of Brazil Wins 1.40 Meter Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section A

Rob Bielefeld And C.C. Bloom Win First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section A
Ken Smith And Noir Win First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section B

WELLINGTON, FL - February 13, 2004 - With 114 horses entered in the $5,000 1.40 Meter Acorn Hill Farm Challenge Time First Round at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, today, management split the class into two sections, A and B.

It may be Friday the 13th, but it was Jeffery Welles' lucky day aboard Ursa Major as he clinched the win in the 1.40 Meter Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section B, out-jumping a field of 58 horses. "I tried to base my ride off of McLain's ride on LaBelle," said Welles, 41, of Pound Ridge, NY. "He didn't leave much room for anyone. I just had to go for it."

McLain Ward had gone as the ninth rider in the class and posted a comet-like time of 52.705 seconds with LaBelle owned by Sarah Willeman and Turnabout Farm, putting himself at the head of the class. Welles and Ursa Major, an 11-year-old, bay 17-hand, Belgian gelding owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Croft, took to the field 14 rides later and edged Ward into second place when he zapped the course in 51.425 seconds. Welles maintained his lead as 35 more riders tried to catch him, but with no success. Chris Pratt going 54th in the order riding Ishan for owner Sue Grange placed third with a time of 52.907.

"I left out one more stride than McLain did in the last line," said Welles. "His time looked unbeatable because his horse is so fast. After watching him go, I knew I couldn't hold anything back."

Fabio Leivas De Costa Of Brazil Wins 1.40 Meter Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section A
In earlier competition in the Internationale Arena, Fabio Leivas De Costa of Brazil riding his own Tijuana Domar won Section A, besting a field of 56 horses.

Nineteen horses went clean, but it took a dozen trips over the test designed by Frank Rothenberger before Cara Cheska on her November Rain logged the first clear in 61.572 seconds. Cheska ended up in sixth place. Then it was rider after rider besting the previous leader's time. Knocking Cheska out of the lead was Joe Fargis aboard Maria Bonita for owner Mary B. Schwab who blazed the course of 13-efforts in 57.891. Fargis stayed at the top against the next 18 contenders, but ended up fourth. Anne Kursinski snatched the lead from Fargis with her time of 57.195 aboard Faldo for Robin Hill Farm, clocking in at 57.195, but Kursinski finished in third place. Kim Barone just barely edged Kursinski out of the lead with her time of 57.184 aboard her own Kid Rock. Barone's lead was short-lived and she ended up second as De Costa took over the course four rides later and was more than a second faster aboard Tijuana Domar, rocketing around the course in 55.959. The time was unbeatable for the next 13 horses, and De Costa claimed his victory.

Rob Bielefeld And C.C. Bloom Win First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section A
In earlier competition today in the Grand Hunter Field, Rob Bielefeld, 39, of Ithaca, New York, and Wellington, Florida, riding C.C. Bloom for owner Samantha Hallman won the First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section A. The duo competed in four over fences classes held over two days and chalked up one win, two third-place ribbons, and a fourth place ribbon. They did not compete in the Under Saddle class, but still accumulated enough points to claim the Championship. Heather Caristo rode Indian Summer for Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo and earned the Section A Reserve.

C.C. Bloom is an eight-year-old, 16.1-hand chestnut Dutch mare by the French Olympic Team stallion Joue de Pomme. Hallman imported her from Joey Norick two years ago. Bielefeld and C.C. Bloom are commencing their second season together. "She's a good jumper," stated Bielefeld. "Her consistency really paid off. She always tries hard but the first day she just gave that extra effort. She jumped so high over all the jumps and stayed in the air."

Forty-one horses competed in Section A yesterday and 42 competed today. Competition in the division was tough, Bielefeld acknowledged. "Ten years ago First Year horses used to make a few errors and be okay because they were First Year horses and green," he said. "But nowadays there's no room for error. You have to be right on. The horse has to be right on. If you don't get above a score of 80, you're not getting a ribbon. It's very, very competitive this year."

Owner Hallman, 25, of Manhattan and Long Island, New York, and Wellington, agreed, "There's a lot of them and there's a lot of really good ones too. There really aren't any weak ones out there." Hallman also rides the mare and will compete in the Adult Amateurs on her, starting tomorrow. "I was so thrilled with her win, but now the pressure is on me. I have to do it tomorrow. It's so much pressure when the pro does well and then you have to step up yourself."

Bielefeld pointed out that the Hallmans' newly built 18-stall barn on seven acres in Grand Prix Village was also a factor in the Championship. "The new facility has helped the horse's performance. It has probably the biggest paddocks in a 10-mile radius. The horses are very, very happy and calm there. That's so important. It's helped all the Hallmans' horses."

Samantha Hallman brought five horses to Wellington and her sister Bridget Hallman also brought five. They moved in to the new facility, called Merrylegs South, just one month ago. "If the horses are happy they're going to perform well for you," said Hallman. "I very much believe in keeping the horses happy. We really tried to make it a place for horses. It was about horses first."

Merrylegs South was named not only after the pony in Black Beauty, but also as a tribute to Hallman's grandfather. "He bought Merrylegs Farm on Long Island in the 1950s. We took the original design of that barn and duplicated it with some changes to make it more functional for us."

It's really something to see. It's a special place," added Bielefeld.

Ken Smith And Noir Win First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section B
Later in the day, Ken Smith of Wellington, Florida, riding Noir for owner Mrs. Quentin Alexander won the First Year Green Hunter Championship, Section B. Thirty-nine horses competed in two over fences in this section of the division yesterday, and 42 contested the final three classes today, including an Under Saddle class and two jumping classes. Tim Goguen riding George for Janet Read was the Reserve.

Course designer in the Grand Hunter Field this week is Philip DeVita.

For complete results, visit

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 or call 561-793-5867.

February 11 - 15 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale CSI***
February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
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 Equestrian Center)
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)

February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post, CSI-W
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune



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