Winter Equestrian Festival Week 3 Wrap-up, February 8-12, 2006,
Kilkenny/ICH Internationale, CSI- 3*

Kent Farrington and Madison Survive to Win $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup Grand Prix

On an unseasonably cold and blustery South Florida day, it was survival of the fittest during the main event on Sunday afternoon at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club. The $60,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup wrapped up week three at the festival, the nation’s longest running and largest equestrian extravaganza.

Fifty nine starters lined up for today’s 2 p.m. featured event, the second American Grand Prix Association (AGA) class of the 2006 tour. Scoring was under FEI Art. 238.2.2., Time First-Jump-Off. Robert J. Ellis of Great Britain designed Sunday’s challenge.

And quite a challenge it was. Of the fifty-nine that started on Sunday, only two competitors could muster a clean round over the difficult and technical track that featured three double combinations

Seven horse and rider combinations cruised home with only a single knockdown, while another twelve had eight faults. Thirteen competitors had three rails down and seventeen riders had 16 faults or more. Nine duos elected to withdraw or were eliminated.

The first of the two clear rides came twenty-nine deep in the starting order when Kimberly Prince and Marlou from the Windmill Ranch mastered the course.

Kent Farrington and Madison win the $60,000 Internationale Cup Grand Prix at WEF.
Photo: Randi Muster

One horse later, Kent Farrington on the 2005 AGA Horse of the Year Madison, owned by Alexa Weeks, produced the second clear ride of the day.  “She felt great. The round felt maybe a little scrappy, a little rough,” admitted Farrington. “But that was more because of the course. There was never a break. The lines were either short or long, and there was a lot of twisting and turning, so it was hard for that course to feel like a smooth go round.”

In the jump-off, a stumble and a stop for Prince and Marlou at the second fence on the speed course opened the door for Farrington, and he walked right in. He and Madison went on to score their second clear ride of the day, earning the victory and putting Madison back at the top of the charts in the race for 2006 Horse of the Year title. For the record, Farrington was clear in 57.42 seconds.

Sunday’s very difficult course was the main topic of conversation following today’s battle. “When I walked the course, I knew it was going to be very difficult,” said Farrington. “I thought there might be four or five clear. It was really technical, and he didn’t give you a break on the whole course. I thought it was going to be really tough, and it was.”

“I thought the same thing,” agreed Prince. “And with the time allowed being so tight, there was no break or freebie for the horses or the riders. Everything dominoed into the next thing. I had ridden his (Ellis) courses in Hickstead, and they were very, very tough there. So I was sure when I walked the course today, it was going to ride as hard as it looked,” she said. “The Nations Cup course at Hickstead was so unbelievably hard I can’t even begin to tell you, and when I came out here today I was thinking, ‘Here we are, Hickstead all over again.’”

Course Designer Robert Ellis discussed his course after today’s event. “It turned out to be a very difficult course. We put a few distance problems out there, and we also made it very delicate, so it took a lot of riding. I thought we’d get five to seven clear, especially after how they jumped on Thursday,” He added, “I thought the double of verticals (10a and b) to the oxer at 11 would be the real problem spot. It had a very short distance and then either a long four or a short five running towards the in gate as well. I didn’t think the double of oxers would cause as much problems as they did. I’m surprised really.”

Jumper Highlights- Wednesday through Saturday

The third week of action at the 2006 Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off Wednesday morning and the brilliant sunny South Florida sky more than made up for the chilly temperatures that greeted the competitors for the early morning 1.45m feature. Brilliant too was the winning ride by Canadian Eric Lamaze to earn the hard fought win over sixty-seven fellow show jumping competitors.

Telegraph and Eric Lamaze win 1.45m Jumpers Wednesday at WEF.
Photo: Kenneth Kraus/ PhelpsSports.com

Of the sixty-eight starters that took the field on Wednesday, twenty-nine produced first round clears. Eighteen of those competitors went on to be double clear. Twenty-three others accumulated four faults while another fourteen duos had eight faults or more.

Close to the halfway point of today’s large class, Jeffery Welles and Abigail Wexner’s Sampras took over the lead, shaving a razor thin 5/10ths of a second off of Momrow’s time, clocking in at 32.818 seconds.  Welles held off a challenge by Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, who just missed with Orlandi’s Cantate Z. Pessoa tripped the timers in 32.987 seconds, just 1/10th of a second shy of Welles’ top time.

Laura Kraut and Panic, owned by the Panic Partnership, also came close, but slid into the eventual third spot, with a time of 33.146, just fractions faster than Momrow.

Out of the sixty-third spot in today’s field, Steve Cohen’s Telegraph and Canadian rider Eric Lamaze were the ones that were finally able to knock Welles from his spot at the top of the leader board.  “The 1.45m class on opening day is always such a fast class. You have to just go as fast as your horse can handle the course,” said Lamaze. “There’s really no strategy involved in winning this class. You know what you’ve got to do, you go as fast as you can go, and hope to beat all the great riders and great horses in this class.” 

Lamaze clocked in 7/10ths of a second faster than Welles and Sampras, breaking the beams in 32.109 seconds for his third victory of the 2006 WEF tour. 

Lamaze talked about the strong Canadian squad in Florida this year. “It’s great to have Mario (Deslauriers) back on top horses, he’s a world class rider, and having Ian (Millar) here for the whole circuit is great. I think every Canadian rider is here, and from what I’ve seen so far, it has been a real strong Canadian showing so far from everyone,” he said.

The third $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup of the young show jumping season produced the second largest jump-off field in Winter Equestrian Festival history on Thursday, and saw the red hot Canadian contingent add yet another win to their growing list of victories on the 2006 winter tour. 

It was the second largest starting field in WEF Challenge Cup history as eighty-four competitors went to the post in Thursday’s 1p.m. main event. The afternoon marathon of show jumping action took nearly five hours to complete.

Twenty-three horse and rider combinations negotiated the first round track fault free, creating the second largest jump-off field since 1992 in Tampa when twenty-four riders advanced to the tiebreaker.

Beezie Madden returned first for the jump-off and set the pace with Abigail Wexner’s Desilvio. Madden tripped the timers in 36.95 seconds. Her lead however, only lasted until Eric Lamaze and Hickstead, owned by Torrey Pines Stable, returned two horses later. Lamaze managed to slice 1.66 seconds off of Madden’s time to gain the lead in 35.29 seconds.

There wasn’t another serious challenger until twelve horses later when Great Britain’s Nick Skelton and Lisa Hales’ Russel, riding out of the sixteenth spot in the jump-off order, came oh so close. Skelton, who just arrived in Wellington this week, flew through the finish in 35.88 seconds, just 5/10ths of a second shy of Lamaze’s leading time.

Chris Pratt and Rivendell win Round Three of $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series.
Photo by Randi Muster

Lamaze lost the lead to fellow Canadian Chris Pratt and Susan Grange’s Rivendell, riding twenty-first in the twenty-three horse jump-off field. Pratt left out a stride from one to two and that secured the victory as he clocked in at 35.24 seconds, a mere 5/100ths of a second faster than Hickstead and

Lamaze. “I know his horse is faster across the ground and faster in the air, so I think I got him doing the seven strides from one to two,” Pratt detailed following his win. “I watched Beezie Madden do the seven, so I knew it could be done. That’s where I think I got ahead, and then I took a shot to the second last jump and he handled that just fine, so I think that was part of it as well.”

 “Anytime you’ve got a class with that many in the jump-off, you know it’s going to be a fast, fast paced jump-off,” Pratt explained. “I’ve grown up with Eric Lamaze and I know he’s one of the fastest riders in the world. I was just chasing his time from the beginning. I think I was just a little bit faster between the first two jumps, and that’s exactly where it was won.”

Pratt talked about today’s huge win over a huge starting field of international stars. “This is certainly my biggest win in Palm Beach,” said a beaming Pratt. “I’ve been coming here for a lot of years, under a lot of different circumstances, either with a business of my own or riding for different professionals. This is a big milestone for me, to be at the top of the international field like this, at least for today,” he said with a smile.

The amazing success of the Canadian squad continues and Pratt spoke of it following his victory. “We’ve got a great group of horse and a great group of owners right now in Canada,” said Pratt. “It’s been slowly building the last couple of years, and we’ve got a great bunch of riders that can pilot them around there. I really think we’re on a serious upward swing with the Canadian team as far as international results go. We’ve got some great depth of horses. There are six or eight people that are well mounted and could represent Canada at anytime, so I’m excited.” said Pratt.

“Like Chris said, we’ve got a strong field of Canadians that this year, have come for the whole circuit,” agreed Lamaze. “In the past, many riders only came for a few weeks but this year with everyone here it is really showing up in good Canadian results. It’s all gearing up towards that Nations’ Cup which we won once and would like to win again this year.” And he added with a smile, “It’s a World Championship year and this is as strong a Canadian team as I’ve ever seen or been a part of. When you compete at this level, you’re only as good as what you ride. It all comes down to horses. It takes years to bring riders and a good team of horses and owners together, especially in Canada, and it’s all coming together at the right time. I think there are some good things to come.”

Friday’s feature was the Acorn Hill 1.40m Speed Challenge, divided into two sections because of the huge turnout.

On a day in which he made headlines in the sports section of La Palma, Palm Beach County’s Spanish language newspaper, Ramiro Quintana of Argentina went wire to wire to win the first section of the Acorn Hill Challenge, topping a field of fifty-six competitors.

Fourteen starters produced clear rounds in the speed class with Quintana and Carousel, owned by Mary B. Schwab, setting an unbeatable pace as the first to go. Quintana clocked in at 61.815 seconds and everybody tried to play catch up from that point on. But try was all they could do as not one of the remaining fifty-five riders could actually gather in that blistering pace.

Carousel and Ramiro Quintana Win Acorn Hill Challenge at WEF.
Photo: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com

“I was lucky,” said a smiling Quintana. “Everything from the first fence on came right out of stride. I did the right numbers that I had planned to do. I did eight from one to two, then the seven to three and I did five to four, but I was very lucky that everything showed up right out of stride.”

Then he spoke of his long time speed partner. “I know my horse Carousel very well. She’s a great horse, she’s very fast, and I have tremendous confidence in her. I’ve had her since she was eight years old and she’s fourteen now, so I know her inside and out,” Quintana asserted.

Coincidentally, Quintana was featured on the front page of the Sports section of the Friday edition of La Palma, Palm Beach County’s Spanish language newspaper. “That was perfect timing,” laughed Quintana. “The paper wrote a very nice feature about me and it appeared in today’s paper, and said some very nice things. I was glad I could come through following that,” he said.

In the B section of the Acorn Hill Speed Challenge, Scott Lenkart and Impulsive got by Laura Chapot and Sprite for the victory. For three-time WEF Circuit Champion Sprite and Chapot, this was their third consecutive second place finish on the 2006 tour.

On a beautifully sunny but windy South Florida Saturday, the folks from north of the border continued to pile on the victories. In the long history of WEF, no one can remember a better start for the riders and horses from Team Canada than what they’ve had to begin the 2006 campaign in Florida.

Although they have yet to lead the victory gallop in one of Sunday’s main events, Canadian riders have now won the $25,000 WEF Challenge Series and the $20,000 1.50m Classic for two weeks in a row. Today, Eric Lamaze was perfect over two rounds to take the Saturday feature, the $20,000 1.50m Classic.

Canada’s Frankie Chesler Ortiz, on the Sher Al Stable’s Ranville, rode out of the second spot in the order, put up the first clear round of the afternoon, and made it look easy. Looks are sometimes deceiving as twenty-two horse and rider combinations followed before the second clear round of the day was added to the leader board. It was then that Cara Raether and Pedro, owned by the Trelawny Farms, toured the Ellis course without penalty to qualify for round two. Immediately following Raether, 16 year-old Addison Phillps and her Trezebees tossed their hat into the ring for the jump-off.

Another nine went by before Kim Prince and Alice Lawaetz’s Cinnamon became the fourth duo to master the first round track.

With two major WEF wins this season, Leslie Howard, one of the few riders who has been able to slow down the Canadian express, followed Prince’s clear round with a clear ride of her own. She was up on Jeans Glove de Varnel owned by the Blenheim Farms.

Another six went by before another youngster, 17 year old Brianne Goutal, qualified Onira for the speed phase. Then two veterans, Eric Lamaze of Canada on Ramiville, owned by Stacey Krembil, and Laura Kraut on Panic, owned by the Panic Partnership, rounded out the eight horse field for the encounter against the clock.

To start out the timed tiebreaker over the short course, Chesler Ortiz had a refusal and a time fault to finish with five faults in a time of 54.214 seconds. Then, two rounds of eight faults for Raether and for Phillips left Chesler Ortiz on top with five to go.

Kim Prince took over the lead with a single knockdown on Cinnamon, cruising home in 40.852 seconds. Before Prince could catch her breath, she lost her lead to the speedy Howard, who had a rail down at the final fence but trimmed 3.9 seconds off of her time, crossing the finish line in 36.878 seconds. Goutal followed, and she too had the final fence down. With her time of 37.553 seconds, she moved ahead of Prince but trailed Howard for the top spot.

Ramiville and Eric Lamaze win $20,000 1.50m Classic at WEF.
Photo: Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com

Lamaze and Ramiville produced the first and only clear ride in the jump-off, tripping the timers in a very careful time of 42.479 seconds, leaving the door open for Kraut. Kraut however could not take advantage, knocking down the first fence and sealing the deal for Lamaze.

“He’s not a horse that has a lot of experience going fast,” explained a smiling Lamaze following his win. “So at that point, with nobody clear in the jump-off, it was great for me to walk in with a horse like him that’s careful. I gambled on leaving the rails up and was going to be very happy to settle for second place, but you never know what’s going to happen. Then Laura had some bad luck at the first fence,” he said. “I’m happy. The jump-off played out just right for me and for that horse. He’s a great stallion that we purchased as a six year old. He’s a little bit difficult in the mouth, and I still have a lot of work to do with him on the flat,” Lamaze admitted. “He’s so careful over the jumps that it’s important for him to ride well between the fences. We’ve been working with him on that since we got him. We don’t run him that often in a jump-off situation just for that reason. But he’s got good scope, and he’s careful. I think he’s a horse of the future for me,” he said.

And what about the Canadian winning streak? “I love it! You gotta love it. It’s great to have the Canadians winning,” said Lamaze with a grin. “We’re here with a very strong team of horses and riders, and we’re competing. It’s great. We hope to just keep this streak going and going for Team Canada.”

Hunter Highlights- Thursday through Sunday

At the Winter Equestrian Festival, there are horses of every age, shape, and skill level. In the hunter divisions, there are multiple divisions offered for young horses that are in their first year of showing. One of these divisions is the Pre-Green 3’ Hunters, which are defined by the height of the jumps and by the experience of the horse.

The Pre-Green 3’ Hunters were split into three sections this week, and the winner of two out of three sections was Wellington resident Holly Orlando. In section B, she piloted the charming Bolero to the tricolor. Reserve champion in the division went to Glory Road, ridden by Tim Goguen and owned by Carol Cone.

Bolero and Holly Orlando, section B champions in the Pre-Green 3’ Hunters.
Photo: Randi Muster

Bolero, owned by Mary Evangelista, won both over fences on Wednesday and jumped to a third place ribbon on Thursday. Orlando won the third over fences class with Vespucci, owned by Scott Hakim.  “I think we got the recipe right this week,” Orlando concluded. About Bolero, she said, “He jumps all of his jumps the same. He picks up a lick and goes. You don’t ever have to touch the reins. He jumps great, and he’s just appealing.”

In Section C, Orlando and Pin Up received the championship. Pin Up, owned by Hilary Scheer Gerhardt, was fifth and first over fences on Wednesday and fourth under saddle on Thursday. Pin Up racked up a win in the final jumping class. Reserve champion in Section C was Nori Lietz’s Say It and James Lala.

DeLovely lived up to his name in Section A. Ridden by Ken Berkley and owned by Pala Mostoller, the young horse has also lived up to early success. As the overall winner in the under saddle for Young Hunters at Devon last year, Berkley had high hopes for the 16.3 hand five year old gelding. “It’s literally his second show jumping ever,” Berkley mentioned. “He’s just a lovely five year old. He’s got a wonderful mind and is easy, straight, and direct. He walks the lines and doesn’t spook. He rides like an old pro.”

Tied with DeLovely for the Pre-Green 3’ Section A champion was Chop Chop, ridden by Morgan Thomas and owned by Norgan Inc. They received first, third, and fourth place ribbons. Chop Chop is a seven year old that just recently arrived in the United States after an early education in dressage. “I bought him in partnership with my business partner in Europe,” Thomas clarified. “We left him with her in Germany up until three weeks ago. This is his first show and he won his first class, so it’s always exciting when that happens.”

“I keep waiting for him to get more difficult, but he’s not,” Thomas concluded. “He’s just very easy and very straightforward. My business is importing horses, making them up, and reselling them, so I really thought he would be a very commercial horse. He may even be nicer than I thought initially.”

Lavari and Havens Schatt, champions in the First Year Green Hunters
Photo: Randi Muster

The First Year Green Working Hunters were split into two sections this week due to a high number of entries. There were still over 30 horses in each section. In Section A, the tricolor went to Lavari, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Tracy Scheriff.

Lavari jumped to third and fourth place ribbons on Thursday and finished Friday with a win in the under saddle and in one of the over fences classes. Consistency was key for the young horse, and it led to the championship. “He was more consistent this week,” Schatt noted. “He got two ribbons on the first day instead of one.” Schatt added with a smile, “This week he came back a little proud. He’s pretty much got a routine already. He just comes to the ring and does his thing.”

In Section B, the champion was Mimosa, ridden and owned by Addison Phillips. Reserve champion went to Sports Fan, ridden and owned by Scott Stewart.

At the world’s largest and longest running equestrian event, there are some people that stand out. In the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions, the two section champions’ names are synonymous with success. In the third week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunter division was split into two sections due to high entries, but that did not make the competition any lighter.

Pave and Caroline Moran, Amateur/Owner 36 & Over Hunter Champions.
Photo by Jennifer Wood

In Section B, Caroline Moran and the delicate bay gelding Pave won the tricolor. They jumped to first and second place ribbons on Friday and came back Saturday for a fifth over fences and a third under saddle. Reserve champion was Trout Line with Teri Kessler.

In drastic contrast to her previous horses, Pave is smaller and more typey. “He’s totally different than my other horses. They were very, very sturdy!” she said with a laugh. “You have to be a little more delicate with him than the other ones.”

In Section A of the division, the championship was awarded to Attache and Ellen Toon. Toon, who won the division in the first week of WEF on her other horse, In Disguise, was very pleased to do well with “Donald.” Attache and Toon were first and second over fences on Friday, and they returned on Saturday for third and sixth over fences and eighth in the under saddle. Milan and Caroline Clark Morrison were reserve champions in the section.

The Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division is always very competitive with many of the nation’s top young riders on very fancy horses. A new name to this age group, although not a new name to the winner’s circle, is 16 year old Addison Phillips of New York, New York. On her two mounts, Who’s On First and Socrates, Phillips swept the championship ribbons.

Socrates and Addison Phillips, reserve champions in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters
Photo: Jennifer Wood

Who’s on First scored two firsts and a second place over fences while Socrates finished with the top call in two over fences classes. Who’s On First finished with the championship and Socrates was reserve champion. Who’s On First improved on the first week’s finish of a reserve championship. Phillips also piloted L’Azure to the reserve championship in the Small Junior 16-17 Hunter division. Champion in that division was Cool Blue, ridden and owned by Alexandra Stathis.

In a similar situation today, Megan Schall of Minnesota moved up into the Amateur-Owner 18-35 division for the first time. After success in the junior ring, Schall and her equine partner Jazz competed at WEF for the first time this year. A big difference for Schall was the daily schedule. “It was definitely weird at first, going first thing in the morning after being in the last class last year,” she noted. “It’s been fun and it’s a good division. Everyone’s really nice.” After her win, she commented, “This is my first week showing here. I flew in late Thursday night from school. I was just hoping to ride well and be consistent. We were trying to prepare for next week and hoping to do well for that. It was a great surprise.”

Jazz won an over fences class on Saturday and came back on Sunday to receive first and second over fences and second in the under saddle class. The reserve championship went to Double Cinco, ridden by Rowlanda Blue Stephanos and owned by Pamela Allardice.

In Section B of the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunters, North Country and Avery Dimmig scored their second straight championship after an amazing performance over the past two days. North Country jumped to three first place ribbons and a second place for the championship. Reserve champion was Roundabout, ridden by Morgan Trexler and owned by Windswept Inc.

Additional Championships:

Small Junior 15 & Under Hunter:
Champion – Tobasco, Jennifer Waxman, Dunwalke LLC
Reserve Champion – Folklore, Alexandra Arute, Olympic Dreams

Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter:
Champion – Saloon, Jennifer Waxman, Whitney Roper
Reserve Champion – Swept Away, Amanda Cohen

The 34th Annual Winter Equestrian Festival continues next Wednesday through Sunday, February 15-19 in the Bainbridge Florida Classic presented by the Palm Beach Post. Hunters take the main stage with competition on the big grass field of the Internationale Arena. 

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