All posts by Associate Editor

Laskano Takes Top Spot in $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby 2*

Jimmy Torano and Laskano © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 6, 2022 – Hunters were the highlight on Friday, January 7, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), as Jimmy Torano and Isalou Inc.’s Laskano took the top spot in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby 2*.

After securing the second spot in round one with a score of 182 out of 26 entries, Jimmy Torano piloted Laskano around a twisty second round with bold and precise execution to finish top of the field with a second-round score of 211 and a total of 393.

McLain Ward Notches First 2022 WEF Win

Four-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward (USA) notched his first win of the 2022 WEF circuit on Friday in the $6,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Speed Challenge on Bonnie M Z over 44 other entries. The pair sped to victory in 60.780 seconds over the Eric Hasbrouck-designed course. Finishing just off the pace in second place were Laura Chapot (USA) and Out of Ireland, owned by Chapot and The Edge, who stopped the timers in 61.304 seconds. Catherine Tyree (USA) and Newton van het Krekelhof were third in 65.324 seconds.

Ward and Bonnie M Z showed on Wednesday and improved to a winning performance in Friday’s 1.40m class. Ward got the ride on Bonnie M Z two weeks ago through the Holtgers family of Gut Einhaus LLC. Ward has started a new partnership with them and will train Ansgar Holtgers Jr. Gut Einhaus entered into ownership of the horse in 2018, and he has been ridden by Olympic champions Eric Lamaze of Canada and Jeroen Dubbeldam (NED).

“They asked me to ride the horse and see what I thought he could be,” said Ward of the 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Bentley Van De Heffinck x Berlin. “He’s done up to three-star grand prix. The Holtgers have owned him for a few years, and now we’re getting started with him.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Hector Florentino and ABC Quantum Cruise Capture First Adequan WEF Challenge Cup

Hector Florentino and ABC Quantum Cruise © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 6, 2022 – The series of Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup classes began on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. Olympian Hector Florentino (DOM) took the win in the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round with ABC Quantum Cruise, owned by Wyndmont.

In a 35-horse field, Florentino and ABC Quantum Cruise were one of five that advanced to the jump-off over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). First into the jump-off were Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Centriko Volo, owned by Celtic Park LLC, who had a rail for four faults in 38.289 seconds for third place. The only other double clear round for second place came from Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) and Cornet’s Cambridge, owned by The Berry Group LLC. They finished the jump-off in 41.001 seconds. In the final spot in the jump-off, Florentino and ABC Quantum Cruise brought the winning time down to 40.495 seconds with a clear round.

For Always and Scott Stewart Rise to the Top in Green Hunter 3’9”

The Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9” division came to a stylish finish Thursday in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring.

With an almost perfect clean sweep, Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL rode Betsee Parker’s For Always to the championship title with four firsts (including a division high score of 92) and one second place ribbon.

Stewart was quite pleased with the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Nick Skelton’s famous Olympic show jumper Arko, noting, “He felt great, jumped great, the courses rode nice, and he felt fresh again.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Grant Seger Opens Up the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival with 1.45m Jumper Victory

Grant Seger (USA) and Dr. J. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 5, 2022 – The 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the world’s largest and longest-running horse show circuit, is underway with competition beginning on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. The 13-week circuit features top jumper, hunter, and equitation competition until April 3.

In the opening class of the 2022 WEF, the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers, Grant Seger (USA) and Dr. J, owned by Grey Fox Crossing, used their final position in the order as an advantage as they sped to the win in the two-phase format class in 35.827 seconds. This week’s International Arena course designer is Eric Hasbrouck (USA).

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Two-Time Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner, Da Hoss, Dies at 30

LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 4, 2022) – Two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner, Da Hoss, died Sunday, January 2, at the Kentucky Horse Park where he had retired after a successful five-year racing career. At the age of 30, the gelding passed away due to infirmities of old age.  Da Hoss had been living at the Kentucky Horse Park since January 2000.

“We will miss Da Hoss greatly. He was a fan favorite as he proved that spirit can triumph over adversity,” said Nicole Rivera, Interim Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “I would like to extend a special thank you to Rob Willis and the Hall of Champions staff for the great care and affection they showed Da Hoss during his time here at the park.”

Sired by Gone West, out of Jolly Saint, Da Hoss was foaled on January 18, 1992.  Wall Street Racing bought the lowest priced Gone West foal, Da Hoss, as a Keeneland September yearling for $6000 that same year.  After racing as a two-year-old for trainer Kevin Eikleberry and Wall Street Racing, an 85% interest in Da Hoss was sold to Prestonwood Farm.  He was immediately shipped to Fair Hill training center to start training with Michael Dickinson and Joan Wakefield.

Da Hoss is one of only five horses to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile twice, and the only horse to win twice in non-consecutive years.  Between the 1996 and 1998 Breeders’ Cup Races, Da Hoss was injured three times and did not race for nearly two years. His inspiring finish in the 1998 Breeder’s Cup Mile produced one of Tom Durkin’s most memorable race calls, as he exclaimed: “The greatest comeback since Lazarus!”

“He was our horse of a lifetime,” said trainer Michael Dickinson of Tapeta Farm.  “We all loved him.  He brought us so many highs, even with his problems; we knew he would never let us down. He gave his all and loved to win.  He was spoiled but deserved to be.  He loved going out in one of his grass fields with his best friend Boomer for two or three hours every day.  He knew he was special. It was comforting to know he was always well looked after by everyone at the Kentucky Horse Park where he enjoyed a wonderful retirement.”

Da Hoss shared the Kentucky Horse Park Hall of Champions with other Champion horses including Thoroughbreds Go for Gin, Funny Cide, and Point Given, Standardbred pacers Western Dreamer and Won the West, and Standardbred trotter Mr. Muscleman.

Like the other great Hall of Champions horses that died in retirement at the park, Da Hoss will be buried in the Memorial Walk of Champions.

To learn more, visit www.kyhorsepark.com.

Contact: Kerry Howe
kerry.howe@ky.gov
859-259-4224

Erynn Ballard Lands Double Grand Prix Wins at ESP Holiday Finale

Erynn Ballard and Nanini Van D’Abelendreef. ©Anne Gittins Photography.

Wellington, FL – Jan. 2, 2022 – It was a celebratory weekend for Erynn Ballard (CAN) during the ESP Holiday Finale at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center thanks to wins in two separate grand prix classes, which closed 2021 on a high note and began 2022 even better. In one of the first classes of the new year, Ballard and Nanini Van D’Abelendreef, co-owned by Ilan Ferder and Esperanza Imports LLC, galloped to the top of the leaderboard in the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix as the fastest over designer Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) courses. On New Year’s Eve, Ballard navigated Comedia De Talma, owned by Esperanza Imports LLC, to first prize in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix.

Prior to the start of the class, Filip de Wandel (BEL) was awarded with a $1,000 check as the winner of the Assets Risk Management National Grand Prix Rider Bonus.

Additionally, two Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider Awards were presented. Ballard earned the distinction for the ESP Holiday Finale week, and Catherine Tyree (USA) was honored as the Martha Jolicoeur Overall Leading Lady Grand Prix Rider thanks to her series of showings that earned her enough points for the top of the leaderboard.

Twenty competitors vied for the lion’s share of the prize money in the $5,000 Laura King – The Power to Win 1.35m Jumper Stake on Saturday. Eleven pairs made it into the jump-off, where Tony Cadet (FRA) and Etonemoi Del Cabalero, owned by Shore Acres Farm LLC, led the pack with a double-clear time of 37.03 seconds to win the class.

Thursday featured the Bainbridge Companies 1.40m Open Stake, which saw nine pairs out of the field advance to the jump-off. Of those, seven finished the class without faults and only four seconds separated them in the standings. Leading the way, Thomas McDermott (NZL) and his own Alpha Activity earned first place in a fault-free time of 41.15 seconds.

On Sunday in the High Junior/Amateur Jumper Stake, presented by Noltrex®Vet, just two pairs advanced to the jump-off, and two more kept all the rails up but were kept out of contention by time faults. Though they incurred four faults, David Oberkircher (USA) and Southfields Farm LLC’s Vulkato were the quickest over the 1.40m fences with a time of 41.93 seconds to take the win.

Immediately following, the Gochman sisters of Mimi and Sophie dominated the $2,500 Medium Amateur/Junior Jumper Stake, presented by Palm Beach Equine Clinic, by claiming all three podium spots. Finishing the 1.30m course in the swiftest time, Mimi Gochman (USA) piloted Dolores BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horses LLC, to first place in a double-clear time of 38.29 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Crowns Season with Successful Record-Breaking Event

Kim Burritt and Do You Have a Winner, Cody Parmenter Photography.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 31, 2021 – The 2021 Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit culminated a successful season with another record-breaking event showcasing the nation’s top Quarter Horses and riders from all over North America. Under the show management services of An Equine Production, more than 500 exhibitors and 20,000 entries competed in the renowned horse show at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center from December 27-31.

Competitors at the five-day event enjoyed beautiful weather and ideal conditions while earning significant year-end points and phenomenal awards. High Point winners in 15 divisions received sought-after Porta Cool Coolers and Reserve High Point received a comfortable sling chair. The overall third place in each division received a backpack, useful for riders of all ages.

Kim Burritt of Murfreesboro, Tennessee was the Select High Point Award Champion with her horse Do You Have a Winner. This was her first appearance at the Gold Coast, making it memorable by walking away with the Porto Cool cooler. Competing at the Gold Coast has been on her bucket list for years, and she felt that the time was right to compete this year.

The Youth 14-18 High Point Award Champion was Alexa Black of Springfield, Ohio riding Huntin a Hot Cowgirl. The 18-year-old was third in the division last year and was very happy that it all came together at the 2021 Gold Coast. The week was especially important for Black as she is nearing the end of her competing as a Youth rider.

Rachel Trebesh of Fairhope, Alabama also walked away with a coveted award after riding No Doubt I Shine to the Senior High Point Award Champion and Amateur High Point Reserve Champion. The pair moved up in the standings during Friday’s competition to close out the show. Trebesh spoke highly of her horse, noting how much he loves his job and enjoys competing.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Canadians Trek 37 Hours to Compete at Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit

Blair Woodley and Mister Wise Guy, Cody Parmenter Photography.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 30, 2021 – Circuit Awards were presented in several divisions on the fourth day of the highly anticipated Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit. With riders traveling from across North America to compete at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, the Woodley family from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada showed their dedication after traveling 37 hours for a chance at the ribbons. Blair, Judi, Justin, and Tanya drove with three horses in tow to the Florida State Fairgrounds, leaving temperatures of -21° Celsius at home, approximately -6° Fahrenheit, to enjoy a balmy 80° in Tampa, Florida.

“We were more than happy to leave the weather at home behind,” Judi said. “We love this show. The weather is beautiful and the organization, the facility, and the people make it worth the trip.”

“This is our second visit,” added Blair. “We came in 2018 but could not come again until this year because our borders were shut down due to COVID-19. We had to be double vaccinated just to hit the border this time. We’ll need to fill out more paperwork and get tested before we cross the borders to get back home, but it is worth it. We love to show our horses here.”

Unlike his parents, Justin is showing at the Gold Coast for the first time. He said, “It’s fantastic here, an excellent change from our cold weather up north. It’s nice to be able to come here and do what we love in such a beautiful environment and beautiful facility.”

Blair will compete in the Open Trail and Western Riding, while his wife Judi will participate in the Select Amateur Trail and Select Amateur Showmanship. Their son Justin will ride in Amateur Trail, Western Riding, and Horsemanship. Justin’s wife Tanya also made the 37-hour trek to cheer the Woodley family on and offer added support.

As a highlight to Thursday’s competition, Circuit Awards were presented to top competitors. Jayna Lagace, 16, of Higganum, Connecticut won the Level 3 14-18 Youth Trail on Huntin Hotty Tottys. She has been competing at the Gold Coast since she was three years old and believes this is her best year yet.

Trainer Jamie Dowdy of Marshfield, Missouri made her first appearance at the Gold Coast. She brought five horses and students with her to show, and so far, she has already earned Champion or Reserve in three different Circuit Award divisions, including champion in the L2 Junior Western Pleasure riding Bestseatnthesouth and the L1 Green Western Pleasure Reserve Champion with Southern Decadence.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Amateur Riders Make Time to Shine at Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit

Jeanie Presler and Lovies Lil Rey, Cody Parmenter Photography.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 29, 2021 – Unlike professional horsemen, amateur riders need to make a plan in order to take time away from their careers and attend the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit. Throughout the week they come to Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds to enjoy what matters the most to them, spending time with their families and riding their horses in one of the most prestigious Quarter Horse shows in the country.

Kaleena Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois is a part-time graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom. Weakly has a lengthy and successful show record at the Gold Coast. She took a four-year break to care for matters at home, and now she and her family use the five-day event as a holiday vacation. Weakly won the Amateur Hunter Seat Equitation class with her horse Definitely a First, making the family vacation a memorable one.

Jeanie Presler of Nokomis, Florida is a Mixed-Animal General Practitioner. She returns to the Gold Coast after a 20-year hiatus due to a demanding school and career schedule. The VRH Amateur Ranch Horse divisions were new to Presler and her Reined Cow Horse Lovies Lil Rey. It worked out well as she and her eight-year-old birthday present finished on top in the VRH Amateur Ranch Horse Reining class.

Leah Roehl of Ruther Glen, Virginia is busy as a government worker and a mother of five children. It took a great deal of planning for Roehl to make it to the Gold Coast. The support she receives from her family and friends makes the herculean effort to compete all worthwhile. Roehl and her gelding AlDoWhatYouLove won the Senior Pleasure Driving and L1 Novice Amateur Working Hunter classes.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Rodger Call Is Super at the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit

Rodger Call, Cody Parmenter Photography.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 28, 2021 – The Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit is renowned for hosting Quarter Horse competitors of all ages at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center vying for the coveted year-end awards. This year, the five-day event includes a unique participant, Rodger Call of Midway, Utah, the only Super Select rider out of the more than 500 exhibitors and 20,000 plus entries at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

“To be a Select rider you have to be 50 years old, and to be a Super Select rider you need to be at least 70 years old. I am the only Super Select rider at this show,” Call said proudly. “I turn 80 years old next month.”

Call has been competing at the Gold Coast for decades, even though it means taking two flights in two different airport terminals to arrive in Tampa.

“This show is one of my favorites. I have been coming here for years,” said Call. “I can remember when the hedges around the arena were really short and now, they’re huge! Years ago, there were elephants in the barns behind the arena that were part of the parade.”

Call will be competing in the driving and hunter divisions. He has been training with Chuck Briggs since 1989, although he receives additional support both in and out of the arena.

“We’re like family here; we all encourage each other,” said Call. “Trainer Linda Crothers rode my horse, Go Big Sky, to High Point Horse of the nation and Sandy Vaughn coaches me when I compete in the pleasure driving. Even though I don’t have my horses at her barn, she offers to help. We have a good group of people. Sometimes we go out to dinner after the show and have a great time.”

Horses have always been a family affair for Call. He grew up in Northern California where his father imported some of the first King Ranch Quarter Horses. On Friday nights, he and his dad would enjoy competing in team roping jackpot classes. When his son Robert wanted to ride in the jumping events, Call changed from riding Western to English.

Call added, “I also used to compete at the Gold Coast with my wife Ann before she passed away in 2007. We would always have both a junior and senior horse to show. Next year, my junior horse becomes a senior, so Chuck found me a junior horse that has a lot of potential. That is what keeps me going: potential and having fun. That’s what riding does. It keeps me active, happy, and looking forward to tomorrow.”

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.

Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Competitors Enjoy Ideal Conditions on Opening Day

Kyla Jackson and Cadillac in Black. Cody Parmenter Photography.

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 27, 2021 – Beautiful weather and top showing conditions greeted the nation’s best Quarter horses and riders on the opening day of the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Monday. Showcasing two “in-hand” divisions at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center, the first day of the five-day event featured classes in showmanship and halter at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

The Gold Coast is considered a significant stop in the Quarter Horse Circuit. Under the direction and show management services of An Equine Production, the Florida Gold Coast Horse Circuit was awarded the coveted distinction of top American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) quarter horse show in 2020. This renowned event continually attracts competitors from across the country to vie for coveted circuit awards and valuable year-end points.

One of the competitors traveling from coast to coast was Kyla Jackson. The 17-year-old trekked all the way from Vacaville, California to claim the circuit award championship in L3 14-18 Showmanship at Halter with her horse Cadillac in Black. It was her first time competing at the Gold Coast and her mother, Maureen, appreciated her dedication. It took all day to make it to the Sunshine State, arriving just a few hours before her class.

Another first-time competitor, Penni Himes, captured two circuit awards. After watching her daughters Grace and Isabella ride in the Gold Coast for the last four years, Penni felt it was finally time for her to take a turn in the arena. The Bristol, Indiana resident was named circuit award champion in both the L1 Novice Amateur Showmanship and the L2 Select Showmanship with Grace’s 10-year-old gelding Essentially Good.

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit flgoldcoastcircuit.com.