Winter Equestrian Festival Week 1 Wrap-Up, January
FL - February 2, 2004 - The first week of the 32nd Winter Equestrian
Festival was held January 28 through February 1 at the Palm Beach
Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. The five-day show entitled
Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI*** featured topnotch
hunters and jumpers competing in eight rings. Javier Fernandez of
Mexico was the course designer for the Internationale Arena. Following
eight weeks of back-to-back shows in Wellington through March 21,
the action moves to Tampa for two weeks at the Bob Thomas Equestrian
Center, and caps off with the Budweiser American Invitational on
April 3 at the Raymond James Stadium. Total prize money for the
2004 WEF is three-million-dollars. Produced by founder Eugene R.
Mische and Stadium Jumping, Inc., the Winter Equestrian Festival
is the largest and longest consecutively running equestrian sporting
event in the world.
Lamaze And Tempete Win $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach
The finale event of Week 1 was the $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of
Palm Beach presented by Western Hay, CSI*** on Sunday, February
1. Eric Lamaze, 36, of Schomberg, Ontario, aboard Tempete claimed
victory over a class of 32 entries. Eleven horses went clear over
the 14-fence Round One course with Time Allowed at 114 seconds.
In the eight-effort Jump-Off with Time Allowed at 56 seconds, Lamaze
was the fastest of three clear rounds, clocking in at 45.17, which
bested Georgina Bloomberg of New York, New York, aboard Mila by
just 2/10ths of a second (45.75). Roberto Teran of Colombia riding
Flubber Cocoy placed third (47.09).
"I was not trying to win it. I was just trying to go double-clear
and hopefully get fourth or fifth. I would have been thrilled with
that," said Lamaze. Six riders in the jump-off went faster
than Lamaze, but all had faults and one, Debbie Stephens of Palmetto,
Florida, aboard Cosequin's CEO, was eliminated in a fall. Lamaze
said he was careful over the short course, not wanting to risk running
and confusing his mount, an eight-year-old Belgian-bred gelding
owned by Stacey Krembil. "It's a horse that we want to keep
and try to capture the single spot that Canada will have at the
Olympics this year."
Bloomberg, 21, who was returning to Grand Prix competition after
being sidelined for a year after breaking her back, was riding Mila
in only their second outing at this level. "It's a new ride
with me so I wasn't about to go too fast," she said of the
nine-year-old Dutch mare owned by Gotham Enterprizes that she's
been partnered with since November 2003. "I think I could have
taken a bit more of a shot at 16, but with a new horse, you never
go flat out. She was great out there."
"The 'no-risk' riders won today!" joked Lamaze.
Wednesday Through Saturday
Ward Aboard Quickstar II Z Wins 1.45 Meter
Kicking off the competition on Wednesday, January 28, in the Internationale
Arena, McLain Ward riding Quickstar II Z won the $7,500 1.45 Meter,
Time First Jump-Off, besting 44 entries. Ward put in two clean rounds,
completing the jump-off in 35.119 seconds, edging out Federico Sztyrle
aboard Who Knows Lilly, who had led for most of the class. "It
was nice to start off with a win," said Ward, 28, of Brewster,
New York. "Quickstar is a new horse for me and my sponsor,
Double H Farm and the Harrison family. We've put together a great
partnership and a great string of horses, so this is a great start
to the year." Quickstar II Z is a 10-year-old, 16.2-hand, French-bred,
Welles Aboard Ursa Major Wins 1.40 Meter
In the featured afternoon event in the Internationale Arena on January
28, Jeffery Welles riding Ursa Major won the $5,000 1.40 Meter,
Faults Converted class, topping a whopping roster of 120 entries.
Welles went 50th in the order and posted a clear round in 64.027,
then had to wait for 70 more riders to see if the time held up.
"He was good on the turns and jumped very well at the same
time - the speed didn't interfere with his jump," said Welles,
41, of Pound Ridge, New York. Ursa Major is an 11-year-old, bay,
17-hand, Belgian gelding owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Croft.
Ward Aboard Goldika 559 Wins $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup
McLain Ward and Goldika 559 topped a class of 49 entries in the
Nutrena/Western Hay $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series - Round I,
CSI** on Thursday, January 29, the second day of competition. Nine
horses went clean for the jump-off. Going fifth in the order, Ward
and Goldika blasted over the eight-effort short course in 41.52
seconds, well under the 58-second Time Allowed. The next four riders
chased his time, but Ward could not be caught aboard the 12-year-old
bay Holsteiner German-bred mare owned by Double H Farm. "This
mare's very fast and I knew with the likes of Ian Millar and Margie
Engle behind me that I had to try to lay down a tough time,"
said Ward. "The mare went beautiful so I'm thrilled with her."
Belle And In Disguise Win Regular Conformation Hunter Championship
Highlighting the morning hunter classes on January 29, Shachine
Belle, 30, of South Salem, New York, riding In Disguise won the
Regular Conformation Hunter Championship. Over two days of competition,
the duo won five of six classes, placing first in the Model, third
in the Under Saddle, and first in the four over-fences classes.
It was their debut in the 4' division. "I was a little nervous.
I wasn't sure, even though I never doubt him," Belle said,
who admitted the jumps seemed high to her compared to the 3' 9"
division. "But once we got in the ring, we were all set. Every
class just got better, more relaxed. He's a horse you can count
on. He never lets me down. Today I went in and felt totally confident."
In Disguise is an eight-year-old, bay, 16-hand Dutch warmblood gelding
owned by Ellen Toon and trained by her husband Jim Toon with help
from Rodney Bross.
And Southern Lights Win Second Year Green Working Hunter Championship
In the Grand Hunter Field on January 29, Samantha Darling Conroy,
26, of Colts Neck, New Jersey, and Wellington, Florida, rode Southern
Lights for owner Dr. Sheila Buchbinder to the Second Year Green
Working Hunter Championship. Over two days of competition in five
classes, the duo placed seventh in the Under Saddle class, earned
second and third place ribbons in over-fences classes, and then
won two over-fences classes, scoring 90 and 91. "His first
round was great," said Mrs. Conroy. "He was great even
the first day, but he really tried as hard as he possibly could
in that last class and I felt it was definitely our smoothest class.
All the jumps came up all the same and he jumped beautifully. He
just puts so much effort into it. He's such a winner." Mrs.
Conroy trains with her husband Leo Conroy. Southern Lights is a
seven-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding. "I feel very fortunate
to have the opportunity to ride this horse," said Mrs. Conroy.
"He's certainly the nicest horse that I've ever shown."
Ward And Cinderella Win NAL Acorn Hill Speed Challenge
Last to go proved to be best as McLain Ward aboard Cinderella, the
final duo in a field of 80 starters, won the $5,000 North American
League Acorn Hill Farm Speed Challenge on Friday, January 30. "She
was a little spooky in the beginning of the course being a little
green, baby-ish," said Ward, "but as she went, she warmed
up a little bit and she went very well." Ward's ride was not
only fast, but also lucky - the rails rocked on 6A and 6B, but didn't
leave the cups. "She hit A hard behind. She actually jumped
out really well. So we got away with a lucky rub and I'll take a
little luck any day," said Ward. Cinderella is a nine-year-old
Holsteiner, German-bred mare owned by Double H Farm.
Lindner And Priceless Win Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 Championship,
"My horses are all really good in the mud, actually, they're
used to it. We've been in the mud a lot," said Clara Lindner,
18, of Cincinnati, Ohio, winner of the Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35
Championship, Section A, on Saturday, January 31. Steady rain in
the 'Sunshine State' created soupy conditions, but did not hinder
Ms. Lindner's performances. "It's a little harder. Everything
is a little slower and we get stuck in there sometimes, but my horses
are all generally really good with it." Ms. Lindner brought
six horses from her family's All Seasons Farm and earned the Championship
aboard Priceless, an eight-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding.
She trains with Tom Wright. With 50 entries, the Championship was
divided into two 25-horse sections; each group competed in four
over-fences classes and one Under Saddle class over two days. Ms.
Lindner placed second in her first over-fences class, was out of
the ribbons in the next two classes, but then won the Under Saddle
and her last over-fences class to clinch the Championship. "He's
very dependable for the Under Saddle because he's a really good
mover, so he is usually first or second in that." The championship
was an especially rewarding win for Ms. Lindner as it was her debut
in the Amateur-Owners. "I feel really good about it. It's my
first show in the Amateurs so it's a great way to start."
Starke And Boston Irish Win Children's Modified Jumper Championship
Prior to the Grand Prix on Sunday, February 1, Annie Starke, 15,
of Bedford, NY, was named the Children's Modified Jumper Champion
after two days of competition in which 22 riders participated in
three rounds of jumping in three different rings. Starke placed
fourth, second, and second to earn the overall high score. "I
have the most incredible horse," said Starke, a sophomore in
high school who is commuting from New York to Wellington on Thursday
through Sunday, with her mother, actress Glenn Close. "We just
got him over the summer and I'm totally in love with him."
Boston Irish is an 11-year-old, 16.3-hand white Irish sport horse.
"He jumps every jump like it's a grand prix jump - huge."
Starke trains with Peter Lutz out of his Davenport stable in Bedford,
NY. "She went fast," said Lutz. "She's learning how
to go fast and she did it really well, but she was also really smooth
- that's very important." The victory was Starke's first-ever
championship at WEF. Starke said she would like to compete at Grand
Prix in a few years, but will not pursue a career as a professional.
She plans to follow in the footsteps of her mother. "I want
to do acting like my mom," said Starke. Glenn Close was constantly
ringside with her daughter, actively pitching in with groom duties
and fulfilling her role as proud 'horse show mom'.
complete results, visit www.stadiumjumping.com
SHOWS: February 4 - 8, Bayer/USET Gold Coast Jumper Classic CSI***
February 5 - 8, Wellington Dressage (Qualifier for Olympic Selection
2004 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL TICKET INFORMATION
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 www.stadiumjumping.com or call 561-793-5867.
WEF SCHEDULE OF COMPETITIONS
February 4 - 8 Bayer/USET Gold Coast Jumper Classic CSI***
February 5 - 8 Wellington Dressage (Qualifier for Olympic Selection
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
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)
2004 MILLION DOLLAR GRAND PRIX SERIES
February 8 $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup, CSI***
February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post,
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington
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,
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The