Argentina’s Federico Sztyrle Wins $20,000 Classic at WEF
WELLINGTON, FL, Jan. 26 -
Federico Sztyrle of Argentina was unbeatable on Saturday, taking the top two spots in the $20,000 Absorbine Myoplast 1.50m Classic during week two of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Six clear rounds were produced over the track set by course designer Richard Jeffrey. As the first to return for the jump-off, Sztyrle guided Ambra 47 to a clear round in a time of 35.90 seconds. None of the next four riders were able to leave all the rails in the cups, and finally it was Sztyrle’s turn again with Charming Girl. Knowing he had already won the class, the 43-year-old rider opted for a slow and steady clear round, stopping the clock at 41.63 seconds and taking the top two spots for owner Christian Wolffer of Sagaponack, N.Y. Although Sztyrle represents Argentina in competition, he is based on Long Island.
Hilary Dobbs was the fastest four-faulter, racing over the course with Corlett. Her time of 32.68 seconds was impressive, but she left a rail on the arena floor in her wake. Amy Momrow also incurred four faults to finish fourth with Summer Storm while Andrew Welles and Cadanio Z rounded out the top five.
In the $15,000 Dutta Corp. Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Amateur-Owner Classic held earlier in the day in the International Arena, Natalie Johnson of Greenwich, Conn., topped a 10-horse jump-off to emerge the winner. Her victory was impressive considering that it was only her second week showing Tokade de Kalvarie, a horse that Dutch Olympian Emile Hendrix found for her in Belgium in December.
“The course looked pretty hard at first but then I think that, just from watching, people starting figuring out how to ride it,” noted Johnson, 21, a junior at New York University. Johnson had the advantage of riding her other horse, Rodenburgh’s California, earlier in the class, incurring four faults. “You learn the track the first time and get a feel for it,” she noted.
Making the win even more special for Johnson, a rider ambassador for JustWorld International, is the fact that she donates all of her winnings, including Saturday’s first place prize check of $4,500, to the non-profit organization.
Week Two of competition, which is rated a CSI2* by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), continues through Sunday, January 27, when the $40,000 Grand Prix will begin at 1 p.m. A total of 2,572 horses are competing during week two of the competition, an impressive number rarely seen in North America.
Results of Class 1001 - $20,000 1.50m Classic
1 302 AMBRA
47 FEDERICO SZTYRLE 0.00 83.083 0.00 35.902 CHRISTIAN WOLFFER
Results of Class 1025 - $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Classic
1 3529 TOKADE
DE KALVARIE NATALIE JOHNSON 0.00 76.560 0.00 33.349 NATALIE JOHNSON
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com