Wellington, FloridaMarch 5, 20021984 Olympic double gold medalist Joe Fargis of Southampton, NY won the $75,000 Tommy Bahama Florida Open presented by RV Sales of Broward during week seven of the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club.
The (first round) course was long and the time allowed was tight, said Fargis. There was no rest on the course. It was one of the bigger courses here in several years.
Fargis, riding Edgar, a 13-year-old Havoverian owned by Mary B. Schwab and OEJI Farms, LLC of Atlanta, GA, made a remarkable recovery midway through the 19-obstacle first round course designed by Arno Gego of Germany. After clearing a red brick wall, Edgar stumbled and almost went down as Fargis lost his reins and right stirrup but regained control right before the next fence.
The stars were together, said Fargis. The horse stayed under me and it all came together. Im 53 years old and Im just happy to still be here doing it.
Eric Lamaze of Ontario, Canada aboard Rosina was the only other rider to ride a fault-free first round to force a jump-off.
Joe played it very smart in the jump-off, said Lamaze, so I had to go for it.
Fargis blazed through the jump-off in 56.11 seconds earning the winners share of $22,500. Lamaze finished second in 57.14 seconds and eight jumping faults. Third place went to Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL aboard Lancer 4. Torano rode without jumping penalties in the first round, but went over the 92-second time allowed and received one time penalty.
Fargis is the Chef dEquipe (coach) of the Argentine team competing in the United States first-ever outdoor Nations Cup on March 8. Other teams represented are the United States, Canada and Ireland.
The finish in the Grandprix was previewed earlier in the week when Fargis, up on Edgar, jumped into the winners circle 1.74 seconds faster than any other horseand-rider combinations in the $25,000 Tommy Bahama WEF Challenge Cup. The duo, one of fifteen to qualify for the jump-off out of 60 starters, mastered the track with a clear round in 39.440 seconds. Mark Leone of Glen Rock, NJ up on his 17 year-old Holsteiner Casino, finished second with a jump-off time of 41.10 seconds. Emily Williams of Wellington, FL aboard Hushabye, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred Cross owned by Cody Williams, finished just splits behind Leone in 41.48 seconds for third place.
2000 US Equestrian Team Olympian Laura Kraut took top honors in the $7,500 Cosequin 1.45m Time First Jump-Off. Kraut of Oconomowoc, WI aboard Allegiance, an 8-year-old, Dutch-bred gelding owned by Pin Oak Farm of Lake Forest, IL, was one of 8 horse-and-rider combinations to advance to the jump-off out of a field of 92 starters. The duo finished with the fastest jump-off time of 34.653 seconds to earn first place. Two-time Olympic Medalist, Leslie Howard of Westport, CT aboard Kenwi, owned by Mr. and Mrs. David Goodwin, turned in clear rounds with a jump-off time of 34.807 seconds, just behind Kraut, putting her in second place. Third place went to Jeffrey Welles up on Penelope owned by Susanne Durst with a jump-off time of 35.00 seconds.
The following day Kraut, on Allegiance piloted her way to victory in the $20,000 Tommy Bahama 1.50m Classic. The pair blistered the jump-off course to finish almost three seconds ahead of the others with a time of 44.625 seconds. Up and coming Grand Prix rider, Georgina Bloomberg up on Rivera placed second. Alice Debany Clero of Paris, France on Crackerjack cleared the 9-obstacle jump-off in 48.655 seconds putting her in third place.
2000 US Equestrian Olympic Team alternate, Todd Minikus blazed his way into the winners circle in the $5,000 1.40m AmeriChoice (NAL) Challenge. Minikus, of Loxachatchee, FL bested a field of 108 starters aboard his mount Pandora, to clear the course with the fastest time of 57.303 seconds. McLain Ward of Brewster, NY up on Galant a 7-year-old gelding owned by Ward and Full Cry Farm, also had a stellar performance as the pair finished with a clear round and time of 59.011 seconds for the second place. Ward was the 1988 AGA Rider Of The Year and is currently in contention for the 2001/2002 AGA Rider Of The Year award which will be decided at the AGA Championships, presented by Budwesier, in Wellington, April 3-7. Third place went to Yann Candele of France, riding for Torrey Pines Stables of Ontario, Canada, up on Jade. The pair finished with a time of 60.755 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.
$75,000 TOMMY BAHAMA FLORIDA OPEN
Wellington, Florida March 3, 2002
Course Designer: Arno Gego (Germany)
Rider________ _ Hometown____ Faults-Time_ Purse
For more information
on the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival and all the exciting events
and activities, please call Stadium Jumping, Inc. at (813) 253-2782 or
in Wellington at (561) 793-JUMP or visit www.stadiumjumping.com.