$20,000 1.50m Classic Winner: Jashar, ridden by Cayce Harrison, owned by Double H Farm

$10,000 Medium Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic Winner: Riane, ridden by Alexa Weeks, owned by Kristen Bates

$10,000 High Junior Jumper Classic Winner: Mon Gamin, ridden by Brianne Goutal, owned by Cloverleaf Farm

Small Junior 16 – 17 Championship Winner: Remember Me, owned and ridden by Kendle Handtmann

Wrap Up For Winter Equestrian Festival Week 5, February 25-29

PDP Capital Wellington Masters

WELLINGTON, FL – March 1, 2004 –

The fifth week of the 32nd Winter Equestrian Festival entitled PDP Capital Wellington Masters was held February 25-29 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Florida. Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela was the course designer in the Internationale Arena. Patrick Rhodes built the tracks in the Grand Hunter Field.

The Winter Equestrian Festival continues in Wellington through March 21, and then the action moves to Tampa for two weeks at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, and caps off with the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational Presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune 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.

Please click on images for enlargements!

All photos: Randi Muster

Kevin Babington And Carling King Win $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***

“Some of the horses that are competing here today will compete at the Olympics and they had as much of a test today as they’d get at the Olympics,” said Kevin Babington, winner of the week’s featured class on Sunday, February 29 – the $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***.

Ireland’s Babington, 35, who now resides in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, topped a class of 50 entries aboard Carling King for owner Kindle Hill Farm. In a two-horse jump-off that pitted Babington and Carling King against Kim Frey, 38, of Virginia and Marlou owned by Windmill Ranch LLC, no one went clean, but Babington managed to log fewer faults in a faster time to take the win.

With 17 efforts to jump in a time allowed of 94 seconds in round one, Frey going 14th in the order posted the only clear trip until Babington’s clear as the 39th rider. Frey said she was not surprised that her new Grand Prix mount handled the round one course. “No, because she can jump anything,” said Frey. “I knew it was hard but I had the utmost confidence in my horse. There’s nothing she can’t jump.” Marlou is a 10-year-old Dutch mare by Jus de Pomme.

“My horse has a lot of experience and it was a course that I thought might suit him because of his mileage, but it was very tough. I definitely felt like I had to ride every step of the way – there was no ‘gimme’ anywhere,” said Babington. Carling King is a 13-year-old, chestnut, Irish Sport Horse gelding by Clover Hill. “He’s been jumping five years in Grand Prix. I’ve had him all over Europe and he’s been to the World Championships and two European Championships, so he has quite a bit of mileage.”

Frey and Marlou led off the tiebreaker, which posed 9 efforts in 60 seconds. They incurred 8 jumping faults including a refusal and 8 time faults for a penalty of 16 in 67.45 seconds. Babington watched Frey go before he tackled the jump-off. “I would much prefer to have Kim in front of me than behind me. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t have her best jump-off day. She’s very, very fast and I was afraid that she’d go in and put a blazing round down. My horse is not the fastest horse in the world,” said Babington. “So it suited me in the position that I was in to go in and try to go slow because when I get fast with him the ride-ability is not so good.” Babington had the first element of the double down and also incurred 3 time faults for a total of 7 faults in 62.09, which was good enough for the win.

Babington said he expected this type of challenge from Mr. Palacios. “He didn’t make the time such a factor today, but for $75,000 and Leopoldo, you expected to jump a very difficult course, and that’s one of the reasons I picked this week.” Carling King has been on the Irish team for the last four years and has been chosen to compete in the Olympics. “We don’t have a selection trial so he’s one of the top picks,” said Babington who has never ridden in the Olympics. ”So just, please God, he stays sound and we don’t do anything foolish between now and then.”

Frey said that she is unsure yet if Marlou will be going to California for the Selection Trials in May. “She’s a little shy on experience but she’s strong on ability,” Frey said. “She is an Olympic horse, she just doesn’t know it yet.”

$75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI*** Grand Prix Winner: Carling King, ridden by Kevin Babington, owned by Kindle Hill Farm


Andrew Dignelli Winner of 2003 Equus Medal with Gene Mische

Highlights Thursday Through Sunday

Beezie Madden And Authentic Win $25,000 PDP Capital WEF Challenge Cup Series Round V

Topping a class of 66 horses, Beezie Madden, 40, of Cazenovia, New York, riding Authentic for owners John Madden Sales and Elizabeth Bush Burke won the $25,000 PDP Capital WEF Challenge Cup Series Round V, CSI*** on Thursday, February 26. Madden was the fastest of seven double-clear performances, claiming victory over a 13-horse jump-off. France’s Yann Candele of Schomberg, Ontario, riding Millcreek’s Sweet Dream for owner Millcreek Stables placed second. Ian Miller of Perth, Ontario, aboard Promise Me for the owners’ syndicate The Bakers Dozen was third. In the tiebreaker, Madden noted that she used different approaches to the fences and took risks that cut time. “From fence one to two, I did six strides and McLain did five on his last one, but I bent the six more so I had more foot speed to one and more foot speed to two and because of the line I used I had a quicker line to fence three. Then particularly down by the ingate I took a big risk at the in of the double combination. I didn’t set him up a lot for it or give him a big chance to eye it up. He just had to come through and he was great there.” McLain Ward with two mounts in the jump-off posted the fastest time at 38.67 aboard his first mount Hurricane but had a rail to take eighth, then tried for the win with Sapphire only to incur a rail in 40.57 for ninth. Authentic is a 16.3-hand, nine-year-old Dutchbred gelding that Madden has brought along since she got the ride on him as a six-year-old.

After two days of competition in the Grand Hunter Field, five hunter divisions wrapped up their Championships on Thursday, February 26. McLain Ward riding Northfields won the Second Year Green Hunter Championship. Scott Stewart riding Tribute won the First Year Green Hunter Championship. Scott Stewart also won the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship with For The Music. Ken Smith in the irons on Storyline won the Regular Working Hunter Championship. Wendy Lewis saddled Forget Paris to win the Adult Amateur Hunter 3’3” Championship.

$25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series Winner: Authentic, ridden by Beezie Madden, owned by Elizabeth Busch Burke and John Madden Sales

Regular Conformation Hunter Champion Winner: For the Music, ridden by Scott Stewart, owned by Crystal Weisman

Regular Working Hunter Champion Winner: Storyline, ridden by Ken Smith, owned by Henrietta Armstrong

Laura Chapot And Sprite Win $5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section A

Jeffery Welles And Octavius Win $5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section B

With 148 horses entered in the $5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge on Friday, February 27, Stadium Jumping, Inc. management split the class into two sections.

Of the 70 horses in Section A, 26 of them went clear over the 11-Fence Time First Round with a time allowed of 81 seconds. Chapot, 30, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey, had two entries. Going 17th in the order, she rode Three Coins for owner Windsome Farm Ltd to a clear trip in 62.046, which was eventually good enough for seventh place. Chapot aboard her second mount, Sprite, went 60th in the order and tripped the timers in the unbeatable time of 59.244. Michael Morrissey, 18, of Palmetto, Florida, riding Dame for owner Simonetta Meisels rode 38th in the order and was the class leader with his time of 59.815 until Chapot edged him into second place. Fabio Da Costa riding Tijuana Domar for Domar Team had gone 33rd in the order and briefly held the lead with his time of 60.291 before Morrissey took him down a peg and he ended up third.

Chapot said she wasn’t sure how she beat Morrissey’s time. “My mare was just jumping phenomenally. I tried to do the best route for her. I’m not sure what Michael’s path was, but I usually go in and ride my own course, my own game plan and hope that that’s going to be good enough. You really don’t have to press her to go much faster. It’s not like I’m kicking and driving every stride. She’s really careful, so it’s mostly just finding the smoothest, most direct route between the jumps.”

Wrapping up the action in the International Arena as dusk fell, Jeffery Welles of Pound Ridge, New York, riding Octavius for International Jumpers LLC topped a roster of 78 horses in the $5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge, Section B. Cara Raether aboard So What owned by Trelawny Farm Inc. placed second. Laura Kraut riding Joyous for Summit Partners was third.

In earlier in the Grand Hunter Field on Friday, Havens Schatt riding Charming for owner Caroline Moran won the First Year Green Working Hunter Championship, Section A. Sandy Ferrell rode Indian Summer owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo to the win the First Year Green Working Hunter Championship, Section B.

Competition continued into the night on Friday as Leigh Healey rode Starlight owned by Mary Alexis Healey to win the $15,000 Solaray Junior Jumper Gambler’s Choice presented by Outback Steakhouse. Healey topped a class of 30 riders in the evening class held under lights in the Internationale Arena. Riders were limited to those aged 18 and under and also included a Junior Exhibitors’ Party with Buffet Dinner provided by Outback Steakhouse in The Jockey Club.

$5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge Section A Winner: Sprite, ridden and owned by Laura Chapot

$5,000 1.40m Acorn Hill Farm Challenge Section B Winner: Octavius, ridden by Jeffery Welles, owned by INT’L. Jumpers LLC

$15,000 Solaray Junior Jumper Gambler’s Choice: Starlight ridden by Leigh Healey owned by Mary Alexis Healey

Cara Cheska And Education Win Adequan High Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship

Highlighting competition on Saturday, February 28, Cara Cheska, 27, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Wellington, Florida, won the Adequan High Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship riding Education, an Australian Thoroughbred that she owns with her husband, Donald Cheska. The championship was determined after three days of competition. Cheska did not contest the first class, the $2,500 Adequan High A-O Time First Jump-Off on February 26; Quinault ridden by Danielle Torano for Laurenzo Torano & Sir Ruly topped the field of 33 horses for the win. Cheska won the second competition, the $2,500 Adequan High A-O Power and Speed on February 27, besting 46 entries. Wrapping up the Championship, in the $10,000 Adequan High A-O Jumper Classic, Cheska and Education placed second; Charlie Jacobs riding Innocence for Deeridge farm was the winner. Based on accumulated scores, Cheska and Education earned 16 points to claim the Championship. Torano and Quinault earned 10 points, and Jacobs and Innocence also earned 10 points, for the Reserve.

“I don’t ever do three classes. Last year I only did one a week. This year just getting going again, I’ve been doing two because he’s 16, “ Cheska said. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. He doesn’t need the practice. It’s just for me. The focus is always on the Classic because that has a $10,000 purse. I pick one class before as a warm- up. I don’t set out saying that I want to be champion. I always want to do well in the Classic and if another ribbon comes along, then that’s a bonus.” Cheska chose the Power and Speed class as her warm-up and picked up the blue ribbon yesterday. “I just went as fast as I could go leaving the jumps up. He’s extremely fast – he flies.” In the Classic, 16 went clear for the tiebreaker. Jacobs and Innocence were the fifth to go and logged a clear round in 37.274, which held up for the win. Cheska and Education were 10th in the order, and clocked in clean at 39.166 for second place, which clinched the championship.

High Amateur-Owner Jumper Championship Winner: Education, ridden by Cara Cheska, owned by Donald and Cara Cheska

$10,000 High Amateur-Owner Jumper Winner: Innocence, ridden by Charlie Jacobs, owned by Deeridge Farm

Clara Lindner And Strapless Win Amateur-Owner Hunter, 18-35 Championship

It was icing on the cake on Saturday, February 28, for Clara Lindner, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio, when she picked up the Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 18-35 Championship aboard Strapless – a sweet topping to this duo’s win a week ago in the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation Hunter Classic Spectacular. Lindner competed in four over fences classes and an Under Saddle class over two days to earn the younger A-O Hunter Championship. Her accumulated scores clearly put her in the winner’s circle – she totaled 30 points. Lee Kellogg aboard her own Gifted was the Reserve with 14 points.

On Friday, February 27, Lindner won the first over fences class, placed second in the Under Saddle, and then was out of the ribbons in the third over fences class. She came back today to place third in the opening jumping class, and then finished up with a win in the final class of the division. “It was her consistency that won the Championship,” said Lindner. “Strapless was in the top three in every class but one. She’s a great jumper and a great mover – she’s the whole package.” Strapless, owned by the Lindner family’s All Seasons Farm, is an 11-year-old, 15.3-hand, Dutch warmblood mare by Leandro. Lindner assessed that of the five competitions in the division she felt her final performance in the ring on Saturday was her best one. “Definitely the last class. She was relaxed and was just amazing. I rode my best and just let her do her thing.”

Amateur-Owner Working Hunter 18-35 Yrs. Champion Winner: Strapless, ridden by Clara Lindner, owned by All Seasons Farm

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.

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)
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 Publix and The Tampa Tribune

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