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FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Week Nine Wrap-Up:
March 9-13, 2011

Wellington, FL - March 14, 2011 -

The ninth 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.

Rodrigo Pessoa and Let's Fly Soar to Victory in $231,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI 4*-W

Saturday Night Lights at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival brought a crowd of over 4,200 spectators out to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center last weekend to watch Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa and Let's Fly jump to victory in the $231,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix CSI 4*-W Presented by Bainbridge Companies. Pessoa earned the winning cut of prize money after an exciting jump-off of many of the top horses and riders in the world.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed the course for a field of 42 starters. Eight jumped clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. Six of those eight were the top women riding for the United States followed up by two of the world's best men from Great Britain and Brazil. The men were able to best the ladies tonight, taking the top two places with the only clear rounds over the short course.

Rodrigo Pessoa and Double H Farm's Let's Fly went last in the jump-off and were double clear in 51.57 seconds to take home top prize. Nick Skelton (GBR) and Beverly Widdowson's Carlo 273 finished double clear in 55.23 seconds to place second.

Following the men, the ladies rounded out the top eight places. Lauren Hough (USA) and Laura Mateo's Quick Study had the fastest four-fault round in 49.50 seconds to finish in third. Candice King (USA) and Skara Glen's Davos had four faults in a time of 50.36 seconds to place fourth. Laura Kraut (USA) with Happy Hill Farm's Cedric and Beezie Madden (USA) riding Abigail Wexner's Danny Boy each had eight faults to finish in fifth and sixth respectively. Christine McCrea (USA) riding Candy Tribble's Romantovich Take One and Kate Levy (USA) riding Vent Du Nord placed seventh and eighth.

Class winner Let's Fly is a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Lordanos x Forrest. Pessoa described his mount, stating, "Let's Fly has good basics. We bought him as a young horse from Peter Wylde and we have had him now for three or four years. He has won a lot of great classes for our stable. He's sharp (and) a little suspicious, but he always tries. He has great heart and he never gives up, but he has to be ridden."

"He is a nice horse to compete - a good, quality horse," Pessoa continued. "I was lucky to go last and see everything that happened in the jump-off. This is Let's Fly's third time in the jump-off this circuit, and I thought 'I really have to get it right this time or I never will.' I was really lucky to go last, to be able to know exactly what to do and to stay out of his way. He jumped really well both rounds."

FTI WEF Week Nine Jumper Highlights:
Wednesday through Sunday

Jumpers competed in the International Ring on Wednesday and the first class was the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) rode Take Off for Artisan Farms LLC to victory. The opening class of the week had 31 entries, and four were clear to advance to the jump-off. Three of those were double clear, and it was Lamaze and Take Off with the fastest second round time in 34.339 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) and Oh' D Eole were second in 34.758 seconds, while Kent Farrington and Haity McNerney's Valhalla were third in 35.089 seconds.

Eleven teams made up of top young riders showed on Thursday evening in the $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Team Competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Coached by Tiffany Foster, Team 4 jumped to victory with just four faults as their two round total. Riders Christina Kelly (IRL), Caitlin Ziegler (USA), David Arcand (CAN) and Quentin Judge (USA) had five clear rounds among them and Arcand was one of just three riders to jump double clear through both rounds of competition.

The teams were close after the first round of competition, but it was Team 4 that led the way through both rounds to come out in first place. With four faults from Christina Kelly and Diamond Edge Farm's Creata Van Ten Biesen, and clear rounds from Caitlin Ziegler and Artisan Farms' VDL Groep Camara and David Arcand riding Santo's Utopia, the team finished with just four faults in round one. Three clear rounds from Kelly, Arcand, and Quentin Judge riding Double H Farm's HH Manrique Z left the team with zero faults in round two and kept the team in the lead.

In second place, Team 6 made up of Meg O'Mara, Katherine Dinan, Charlotte Jacobs, and Reed Kessler finished with eight and nine faults for a two round total of 17. Team 7 - Catherine Pasmore, Katherine Newman, Alise Oken, and Kaitlin Campbell - finished in third place with a total of 20 faults.

Three horse and rider combinations were able to jump double clear through the two rounds of team competition to make a big move up in the individual series standings. Sarah Tredennick rode Wood Run Farm's Vigaro to two clear rounds for Team 3. Luis Larrazabal and Anabel Simon's Sacramento jumped clear in both rounds for Team 9, and David Arcand rode his own Santo's Utopia to two clear rounds for Team 4.

Following tonight's class, Reed Kessler holds a steady lead at the top of the series standings. Charlotte Jacobs sits in second and Arcand moved up into third place after his fantastic showing.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Valhalla were the fastest on Friday in the $31,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Classic. 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.

In today's 1.45m FEI class, there were 60 entries. Thirteen were clear over the speed track designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. Farrington and Valhalla, a nine-year-old Dutch mare by Voltaire x Calvados-Sable Rose, took up a speedy gallop and finished the course in 62.92 seconds. Second place went to McLain Ward and Vocas, owned by Louisburg Farm, who were just off the pace in 62.98 seconds. Third place went to early leaders Pablo Barrios and G&C Sinatra, who finished in 65.00 seconds.

On Saturday, Charlie Jacobs and Leap of Joy won the $15,000 ECB Equine Spa High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center today as Richard Spooner and Molly Ohrstrom's Billy Bianca jumped to victory in the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's week ten $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic. Forty-seven entries jumped in the first round and seven were clear to return for the jump-off. Billy Bianca and Spooner (USA) had the fastest of four double clear rounds in 36.663 seconds to earn top honors.

Great Britain's Nick Skelton finished second and third with his two jump-off mounts. Skelton and Big Star, owned by Beverly and Gary Widdowson, jumped clear in 37.190 seconds to take the reserve prize. With Caetano, owned by Monarch International, Skelton was clear in 37.641 seconds to finish in third. The final clear round belonged to Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Jane Clark's Cella, who stopped the clock in 37.854 seconds to finish fourth.

The remaining three horses and riders all had four faults in the jump-off. McLain Ward (USA) and Oh' D Eole had one rail down in 36.931 seconds to place fifth. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Flash had a rail in 38.692 seconds for sixth place, and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm's Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve had one rail in 46.209 seconds to round out the top seven.

Class winner Billy Bianca is a ten-year-old Warmblood mare by Vechta x Iroko. Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Kraut rode and trained the mare up until last year and then Spooner took over the ride in September. He smiled after his win, stating, "I am just so excited about Billy. She is very fast. I have been having problems with her going faster than I am actually able to control. She and I were not really seeing the jump-offs eye to eye, but today I made a strong commitment to take all of my risk to the second jump and then after that try to cool my jets. I had a different bit, a different set up with boots, and I think it paid off."

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

Photo Shoot, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, was awarded the championship ribbon today in the First Year Green Working Hunters. Photo Shoot is owned by Bill Schaub and shown by professional Molly Sewell. The points in this week's division of First Year Green Working Hunters were very spread out. Thus, Photo Shoot was able to secure the championship by winning one class over fences and placing third in two other classes.

The First Year Green Working Hunter reserve championship was awarded to Waterford. No stranger to the winner's circle, Waterford secured the reserve championship by winning one class, placing third in another class, and receiving two sixth place ribbons in two more classes. Waterford, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico, is owned by Becky Gochman of New York, NY, and was shown by Scott Stewart.

Among the exciting classes this week was the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search equitation class. Elizabeth Benson, from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, took home the blue ribbon and top prize today in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. Benson was aboard her own mount, San Remo VDL, an eleven-year-old Latvian Warmblood gelding by Sudanas.

With 42 entries and only twelve called back to flat, the class could have been pinned in numerous ways. Sydney Shulman was aboard the Millcreek Stables entry, Eli, to take the second place ribbon. Christina Kelly was awarded the third place ribbon. Kelly was aboard the Wudina Group entry, Kennzo De Conte.

The Amateur-Owner 18-35 3'3" Hunters opened up the morning competition on Saturday in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, and her horse Macallan were awarded the championship in the division that is sponsored by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties. Scheriff-Muser purchased Macallan, an eight-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Carentino, six weeks ago. This week, the pair was first and second over fences on the first day, third in the under saddle, and then first and second over fences again today.

The Adult Amateur 36-50 Hunters saw a large group of twenty-one entries this week. The winning pair of Robert Prant's Corsair and Nancy Hooker secured the championship over all the other entries with two wins, a second, and two sixth place ribbons in the division. The reserve championship this week was awarded to French Kiss, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding owned and shown by Tina Furey, from New Canaan, Connecticut. The duo was fifth in today's under saddle, won one over fences class, and placed third in two more of the division's 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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