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FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Ten Wrap-Up:
March 16-20, 2011

Wellington, FL - March 21, 2011 -

The tenth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has come to a close at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The FTI WEF hosts the best that the sports of show jumping, hunters, and equitation have to offer in 12 rings of competition. In addition to competition, the FTI WEF hosts many exciting activities.

Nick Skelton and Big Star Continue to Shine in
$78,000 Pennfield Feeds Grand Prix, CSI 2*

Week 10 of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded with two great events at The Stadium, the grass field venue at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Nick Skelton (GBR) and Big Star, owned by Beverly and Gary Widdowson, notched another big win this circuit by taking the top prize in the $78,000 Pennfield Feeds Grand Prix, CSI 2*.

Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC, was the designer for the classes at The Stadium. There were 43 entries in the grand prix, and seven of those went clear to advance to the jump-off. The first entry in the class and the first to return was Hector Florentino (DOM) on Stransky's Mission Farm's Ultimo. They had a rail at 8b, the oxer out of the double combination, for four faults in 46.50 seconds. They finished in seventh place.

The early lead went to Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Urico, owned by Jane Clark. They sped around the shortened course with no faults in 42.60 seconds, which would hold up for second place.

Spanish rider Sergio Alvarez Moya rode next on Uno, owned by Mileworld Limited. They finished just off the winning pace in 42.85 seconds and placed third. Keean White (CAN) and Celena Z had a rail at the last jump for four faults in 44.69 seconds for fifth place.

Skelton and Big Star were next in, and they made easy work of the course, powering out of the double combination and galloping steadily down to the final oxer. They stopped the timers in 41.39 seconds with no faults to take the lead.

Skelton said of riding the double combination, "It was a big stretch going out, but he's got the scope. He's careful and he knows where the poles are. You just give him a bit of a kick and he's gone. He reacts very quickly. He's quick away from the jump also. Once he hits the floor, he's ready for the next one."

Quentin Judge (USA) and HH Radco, owned by Double H Farm, had a rail at fence 9 for four faults in 46.01 seconds for sixth place. With the fastest time of the class in 40.35 seconds, Scott Brash (GBR) and Intertoy Z gave it a great go in the jump-off, but a rail at fence 8a after a very tight rollback cost them four faults. They placed fourth in the final standings.

Big Star jumped up to win early in the circuit in the week 2 grand prix. He returned to the winner's circle in the Suncast 1.50m Classic in week 5. For Skelton, having his young talented horse rise to the occasion again made him break into a big smile as he left the ring.

FTI WEF Week Ten Jumper Highlights:
Wednesday through Sunday

The tenth week of competition at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival began on Wednesday morning with a victory for Kent Farrington (USA) and Uceko, owned by R.C.G. Farm, in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers held in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Scarface, owned by Tony Weight and ridden by Nick Dello Joio (USA), followed in second with a jump-off time of 34.479 seconds. The first competitors of the morning, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) and Candlelight Van De Warande owned by BG Retanage Rewide R. Kunce, jumped double clear in 35.865 seconds to eventually finish in third.

Mario Deslauriers (USA) had three horses in this morning's class and advanced to the jump-off with all three to finish fourth through sixth. Deslauriers rode Cella, owned by Jane Clark to a clear round in 38.124 seconds to place fourth, finished clear with Clark's Urico in 39.045 seconds to place fifth, and rode his own Diablo to a four-fault jump-off round in 37.182 seconds to place sixth.

After missing the beginning of the 2011 show circuit due to a shattered collarbone, Todd Minikus (USA) made his return to the winner's circle at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) today riding Pavarotti to a victory in the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 10. This was the pair's second time back in the ring this season and they made it look easy with two fast and faultless rounds.

Canada's Ian Millar and Star Power, owned by Team Works, were the first pair to jump double clear and stopped the clock in 46.80 seconds to finish in second place. Samuel Parot (CHL) and Al Calypso followed with a time of 47.35 seconds to finish in third place. Minikus and Pavarotti were the final pair to jump double clear and bested Millar's leading time by over four seconds in 42.48 seconds to take first place.

Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and HH Ashley had four faults in the jump-off to place fourth. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner's Mademoiselle had eight faults in 44.87 seconds to finish fifth and Scott Brash (GBR) and Liz McTaggart's Bon Ami had eight faults in 45.19 seconds to earn sixth place. Ashlee Bond (USA) and Little Valley Farm's Apache had 12 faults in the jump-off to finish in seventh.

McLain Ward (USA) took the win today in the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic with Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farms. 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.

Following behind Wolff, Scott Brash (GBR) rode Liz McTaggart's Bon Ami slotted into second place with a time of 38.826 seconds. Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) rode What's Next through the timers in 38.968 seconds to finish third. Ken Berkley (USA) piloted Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, to a fourth place prize with a time of 40.153 seconds. Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Diablo finished in 40.362 seconds to place fifth, and Darragh Kerins (IRL) rode S&L Slingback into sixth place with a time of 40.874 seconds.

Thirty-five competitors showed up on Saturday afternoon with the hope of taking home the top prize in the $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic, but it was 21-year-old amateur rider Ali Wolff and her 18-year-old veteran horse Lanoo that were able to best the field for the win. Six were able to jump the first round course without fault and then all returned to jump double clear over the short course, making it a race against the clock. Wolff (USA) and Lanoo, a Dutch Warmblood gelding by Herbie x Caruso, had the fastest time of 38.703 seconds for the win.

Earlier in the day the International Arena hosted the junior and amateur-owner riders in their classics for week ten. Kalvin Dobbs rode Ultimate VDL, owned by Treesdale Farms, to victory in the $10,000 EquiFit High Junior Jumper Classic to begin the morning. Charlie Jacobs then earned his fourth victory of the circuit in the $15,000 ECB Equine Spa High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic riding Leap of Joy, owned by Deeridge Farm.

It was a fun night of competition with a highlight event, the $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Advancing through five rounds of races, it was Richard Spooner (USA) and Lady Like, owned by the C&S Partnership LLC who finished as the winners. In the final round, they topped Daniela Cordero of the Dominican Republic and T Cavalier.

The 2011 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix Series came to a conclusion on Sunday afternoon with its fourth and final event, the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix, held on the grass field at the The Stadium of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Thirty-seven riders came out to try their hand at the course and 11 made it to the jump-off. Catherine Pasmore, of Charlottesville, VA, rode Pasmore Stables' Vandavid to the fastest clear round over the short course to earn top prize.

The class was the final of four qualifiers for the EY Cup Finals, which will be held at the FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig, Germany. The top three riders in the series will have the opportunity to travel to Germany to compete and today's class finalized those standings. Through their sponsorship, The Dutta Corporation & International Horse Transport will be shipping the winning horse to the Finals and covering travel expenses for the highest scoring rider in this series. At the completion of today's class, 16-year-old Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY, 16-year-old Charlotte Jacobs, or East Aurora, NY, and 21-year-old David Arcand, of Montreal, Canada, were the top qualifiers. Although she finished first in today's class, Catherine Pasmore was ninth in the overall standings.

FTI WEF Week Ten Hunter and Equitation Highlights:
Thursday through Sunday

The Second Year Green Working Hunters hosted nine entries this week, but Havens Schatt came out the victor with her mount Humor Me. Schatt and Humor Me had a very successful week, winning four out of five classes to take the division's championship in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. The winning pair was third in one over fences class, and took the blue ribbon in the under saddle, and also in the remaining over fences classes.

A close second to Humor Me's tricolor win was the reserve champion winner. Casallo, a seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding, was ridden to the reserve championship by owner Robert Crandall. Crandall owns Casallo in partnership with John Jedakis. The pair secured their prize by being awarded two seconds, a third, and a fourth over fences, and a fourth under saddle.

There was not a cloud in the sky on Friday as the 3'3" Adult Amateur Hunters took center stage in the Rost Arena. They awarded Chiara Parlagreco and Paris North the championship Friday morning among a starting field of sixteen horse and rider combinations.

Paris North, a sixteen-year-old warmblood gelding, is an entry of Michael Smith from Winchester, Virginia. The winning pair secured the championship by winning one class over fences, placing second in the under saddle, and getting one more second and two thirds in the remaining over fences classes.

Only four points behind Paris North and Parlagreco was Samurai and Alexa Weisman. Samurai, an eight-year-old Sachsen-Anhalt gelding by Samba Hit, is an entry owned by Carolyn Newton of Haverford, Pennsylvania. Samurai and Weisman secured the reserve championship this week by winning the under saddle and also one over fences class. The duo went on to win one other over fences class to take home the reserve tricolor honor.

The 4th Annual George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championships, Presented by Artisan Farms, were held on Friday evening in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. A feature event for the junior riders at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, the class saw an exciting win for 16-year-old Elizabeth Benson of Whitehouse Station, NJ, trained by Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables.

After two rounds of competition, the top four returned for the final round and switched horses. Chase Boggio, of Canton, GA, rode his horse Massimo to scores of 83.50 and 93 for a total of 186 returning for round three and then jumped the final course aboard Allison Fithian's Lucky D'Etenclin. Fithian, of Monterey, CA, scored an 86 and a 92.5 for a total of 178.5 aboard Lucky D'Etenclin and then returned for round three aboard Boggio's Massimo.

Molly Braswell, of Ocala, FL, and Lizzie Taylor's El Campeon's Danish scored a 95.5 and an 88.5 for a 184 going into round three. Braswell then jumped Elizabeth Benson's San Remo VDL over the final course. Benson rode her horse San Remo VDL to scores of 90.5 and 96 in the first two rounds of competition for a two round total of 186.5 and then returned for the third round aboard Braswell's mount El Campeon's Danish to complete the class.

After a final deliberation from the judges, Benson was deemed the class winner, her horse San Remo VDL also earning an award as Best Equitation Horse. Chase Boggio finished in second, Molly Braswell in third, and Allison Fithian in fourth. Fithian's horse Lucky D'Etenclin was awarded a prize as well as Best Turned Out Horse of the night.

Rounding out the top twelve were Michael Hughes in fifth, Schaefer Raposa in sixth, Samantha Schaefer in seventh, Liza Finsness in eighth, Catherine Tyree in ninth, Caitlin Ziegler in tenth, Christina Kelly in eleventh, and Victoria Colvin in twelfth.

With a whopping forty-two entries in the THIS National Children's Medal 14 & Under, Ring 8 was packed full of competitive young riders. However, Katherine Strauss and her mount Debonaire, owned by Gustavo Mirabal, managed to win the blue ribbon and take home the top honor. While there were so many entries in the THIS National Children's Medal 14 & Under, the top four riders all gave their best, making the final pinning a close one. Liana Cohen came in second with her mount Allura, owned by Robert Russel. In third place was Cyara New riding her own horse, Julianna. The fourth place rider was Ashton Clancy on the Deeridge Farm entry Jouet.

The Coldwell Banker Children's Hunters 15-17 were among the many divisions that awarded a championship to close the competition for the week. Victoria Leiweke, from Tampa, FL, was the champion in the older section of Children's Hunters presented by Coldwell Banker. Leiweke was aboard her own horse, Van Gogh, a nine-year-old Royal Dutch Warmblood by Jetset-D. While the competition was close, the winning combination of Leiweke and Van Gogh secured the championship with one win, a second, two thirds, and a fourth in the division's five classes.

The reserve champion in the Coldwell Banker Children's Hunters 15-17 was awarded to Emily Dupont, from Wilmington, DE. Dupont was aboard her own mount, Coeur De Lis, a seven-year-old Bavarian Warmblood. The duo secured the reserve championship by winning an over fences class and the under saddle. They also received a fourth place ribbon in one of the division's remaining over fences classes.


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.



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