Wellington, FloridaFebruary 12, 2002Canadian Equestrian Team veteran Eric Lamaze won the $75,000 Kilkenny Internationale Cup, presented by Insurance Corporation of Hanover, aboard his 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Millcreek Raphael during week three of the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival. It was the second grand prix victory of the season for the 33-year-old who hails from Ontario, Canada.
I felt good warming up before the class, said Lamaze. He was loose and jumping free. That always gives the rider a good feeling.
Only four of 44 entries advanced to the eight-obstacle jump-off course designed by Sydney Olympic course designer, Leopaldo Palacious-Jugo of Venezuela. Lamaze, turning in fastest clear round in the jump off, finished in 53.33 seconds, earning the winners share of $22,500. Meredith Michaels Beerbaum of Germany, the only other rider to finish with double-clear rounds, placed second in 56.75 seconds. She earned $16,500.
The finish in the Grandprix was previewed earlier in the week when Lamaze, up on Millcreek Raphael, blazed his way to victory in the in the $25,000 Kilkenny Challenge Cup. Lamaze bested a field of 67 starters, turning a clean ride and fastest time in the jump-off of 43.24 seconds. Germanys Meredith Michaels Beerbaum finished second that time too as she crossed the finished line with a time of 45.22 seconds. Alice Debany Clero of Paris, France finished in third place just splits behind Beerbaum in 45.29 seconds after turning in the first clear round in the jump-off.
Opening day of the Kilkenny International was highlighted by a win by 2000 US Olympian Laura Kraut of Oconomowoc, WI who edged her way into victory aboard the bay gelding, Allegience in the $7,500 Cosequin 1.45m Jumper Class. Only 18 of the initial 96 horse-and-rider combinations managed clear rounds. Kraut and Allegience cleared the jump-off in a mere 40.527 seconds, edging out Olympic Team Gold Medalist Leslie Howard of Westport, CT. Less than one second slotted Howard in second place with a penalty-free time of 41.109 seconds. Third place went to Olympic Gold Medalist, Joe Fargis after turning in 42.188 seconds.
The AmeriChoice North American League (NAL) Open Speed Competition was highlighted by a win by Francie Steinwedell-Carvin. Steinwedell-Cavin bested a field of 102 starters aboard the12-year-old Oldenburg, Graceland with a clean, fast ride of 64.125 seconds. Only 24 horse-and-rider combinations emerged clean to advance to the jump-off. Alison Firestone of Upperville, VA up on Futile Ardente finished just behind Steinwedell-Carvin turning in the second fastest time of 64.257 seconds. Joe Popely aboard Merifields Star Struck, who had a clear round and time of 64.342 seconds, took the third place slot.
Ramiro Quintana of Argentina jumped into the winners circle aboard the Danish gelding, Lacost in the $10,000 Kilkenny 1.50M Classic. The duo, one of only 9 horse-and-rider combinations of 64 starters to ride clear, raced through the 16-obstacle course with in a time of 76.509 seconds to secure first place. Georgina Bloomberg of New York City had a clear round and time of 77.796 seconds. Third place went to Aaron Vale of Camden, SC who finished with a fault-free round and time of 78.095 seconds.
The 2002 Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival offers 3 million in total prizes during an eleven-week series which runs in Wellington, FL (January 23-March 10) and Tampa, FL (March 13-March 31). The Festival hosts the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday evening, March 30. The series then returns to Wellington for the culminating event-the American Grandprix Association Championship-April 3-7.
Course Designer: Leopoldo Plalacious-Jugo (Venezuela)
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