Wellington, FLFebruary 18, 2002Markus Beerbaum of Germany won his first grand prix of the season, the $75,000 Jaguar/Land Rover Idle Dice Classic Grand Prix at the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.
Beerbaum, aboard Royal Discovery, an 11-year-old Dutch warmblood, earned $22,500 for the victory.
Beerbaum was one of seven entries to advance to the jump-off round after going penalty-free over the first-round course designed by Jose M. Pepe Gamarra of La Paz, Bolivia. In the jump-off, he cleared the eight obstacles in 38.06 seconds to claim the win. Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, riding Rafiki, a 12-year-old Trakehner, finished second with a clear jump-off round in 40.78 seconds. Kappler, who won a grand prix two weeks ago aboard Royal Kaliber, also finished second in this event last year aboard Royal Kaliber. He earned $16,500 for his second-place finish.
Chriss horse is not the fastest, but he was actually quicker than I thought he would be, said Beerbaum. I thought somebody else, like Lauren Hough, could beat me.
Hough, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, placed third, knocking down the final fence, and finishing in 39.16 seconds. Hough, who lives in Wellington, earned $9,750.
Royal Discovery is owned by Bert and Diana Firestone of Wellington and was ridden by their daughter, Alison, until last year when Beerbaum took over. Alison Firestone is based at Beerbaums farm in Germany while competing in Europe.
Alison has a lot of great horses and they (Mr. and Mrs. Firestone) were very generous with Royal Discovery, Beerbaum said.
Kappler, who went second in the jump-off, knew he had to go clean to put pressure on the other riders.
Hes a bigger, slower horse and he went really well for me, Kappler said, but I knew I had fast horses behind me.
2000 Sydney Olympic Team veteran Laura Kraut of Oconomowoc, WI and her mount, Anthem, an 11-year-old Dutch-bred bay gelding owned by Summit Syndicate, jumped into the winner's circle in the $25,000 Jaguar/Land Rover WEF Challenge Cup - CSI-A. The pair, one of 50 horse-and-rider combinations in the class, blistered the track designed by Jose Pepe Gamarra to finish with a fault-free round and time of 66.07 seconds. Second place went to U.S. Equestrian Team veteran Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, aboard the 12-year-old brown Oldenburg gelding, Playboy, owned by YZ Partners of Wellington, FL. They completed their fault-free round just splits behind Kraut and Anthem with a time of 66.89 seconds. Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Aguila, a 10 year-old Dutch-bred bay gelding, owned by Sir Ruly, Inc. of Key Biscayne, FL, were third after they finished their fault-free jump-off round with a time of 68.74 seconds.
Adam Prudent won the FEI Childrens World Jumping Competition on Bellone DIdeale, owned by Colleen Haas. Prudent was in second-place behind Katrina Johnson of Harwood, MD on her mount Slow Ride after Saturdays competition, but he came back strong in Sundays second round to secure the win. Prudent is the son of French Equestrian Team veteran Henri Prudent and U.S. Equestrian Team veteran Katie Monahan Prudent. Johnson ended up in seventh place after the second round of competition.
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.