Ward and Rothchild Speed to Victory
Wellington, FL – March 18, 2011 –
McLain Ward (USA) took the win today in the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic with Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farms. The class was the feature event on Friday at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, which is in its tenth week of competition.
The G&C Farm 1.45m Classic is part of an initiative to increase FEI ROLEX ranking classes at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Thanks to the support of G&C Farm, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, the FTI WEF was able to add eight new FEI ROLEX ranking classes to the schedule. There are now 27 ranking classes during the FTI WEF. G&C Farm has kindly sponsored the 1.45m Jumper division, which adds five of the additional FEI ROLEX ranking classes.
The FTI WEF’s tenth week of competition, sponsored by Artisan Farms, continues through Sunday, March 20. On Saturday, the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic will run at 1 p.m. followed by the $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races at 7 p.m. Sunday will conclude week ten at The Stadium with the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix at 10 a.m. and the $78,000 Pennfield Feeds FEI CSI 2* Grand Prix at 2 p.m., each held on the grass field at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Stadium. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC, is the course designer in the International Arena this week. Today’s class was a Time First Round format where riders went for speed. There were 35 entries in the class, and eight were clear to lead the top of the ribbons. McLain Ward and Rothchild were extremely quick throughout the course and took the win in 70.83 seconds. The early leader was Pablo Barrios (VEN) on G&C LaGran, who stopped the timers in 74.22 seconds. Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) and Uno were third in 74.49 seconds. Barrios and his second mount, G&C Flash, were fourth in 75.12 seconds. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Amaretto D’Arco were fifth in 76.44 seconds.
Ward was very pleased with Rothchild, who has been a steady performer throughout the circuit. “He’s naturally a very fast horse, which makes it nice to go against the clock because you don’t have to do anything extra. You just almost ride a normal round. We had a plan and he has a big step, so we did a few leave-outs. I kept a neat track,” he explained.
Ward went earlier in the class on Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve, so he was able to figure out what would work when he went for time on Rothchild. He noted, “I rode earlier in the class, just a quiet round to get Pjotter ready for the grand prix on Sunday. I had a feeling for the course. I saw a couple go around Pablo’s time that had faults, so I knew the pace. I knew the plan was quick enough if I didn’t have any jumps down.”
Final Results: $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic
2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L’Ile - MCLAIN WARD (USA),
Sagamore Farms: 0/70.83
The 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 12 through April 3. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $6 million in prize money will be awarded.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.