Alex Granato and Zenith Dance.
Wellington, FL – March 18, 2015 – Today was a stunning day at The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour, where competition heated up in the 1.30-1.35m classes on the field at the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). Claiming the top prize was Alex Granato, riding Zenith Dance for Page Tredennick.
Granato has been consistently successful at The Ridge, winning the same class during the first and fifth weeks of the tour on Zenith Dance and racking up the ribbons as the circuit has progressed on several mounts. While Granato has been busy competing with his other rides at different venues, he came back with a vengeance this week to clinch the top spot.
“[Zenith Dance] is pretty fresh today. We haven’t shown him in a few weeks; I’ve been back and forth between here and Ocala, splitting time with the Grand Prix horses. I wanted to show this week with Cesario 15 and Zenith Dance here, before the Finals next week. They both felt good. Zenith Dance jumped really well, so he just did the one course – he was super and didn’t need to do more.”
He continued, “I’m a little tired because we’ve been hitting the road a lot! It’s been nice to travel though; it’s broken the winter up and we have a couple horses that are doing each different venue. So it’s been a nice break for the horses, to split their time and not do a lot, but compete at several good venues. It’s been wonderful for us to jump fresh courses in new places; it keeps it more fun and entertaining, rather than the same mundane ring day after day.”
There was a bit of a distraction at the horse show today, which stole a bit of the spotlight from Granato and Zenith Dance. Peeps, the dwarf miniature mare, accompanied Granato and Josh Dolan to the show in order to raise awareness about animals in need of rescue. The two rescued the mare, along with about 34 others, from a farm in Kentucky that had once been a breeding farm for some of the top miniatures in the country. The farm had fallen on hard times, and the pair knew they had to do something to help the horses.
The day after first contacting the owner, they were able to remove 19 from the property and get most of them placed in great homes, with keeping five for their own farm. In total, they’ve saved 35 miniatures from starvation and neglect. This incredible rescue effort has led to Granato and Dolan investigating the possibility of creating a nonprofit in order to help out other minis like Peeps.
Peeps was certainly a hit at the show, nimbly hopping over the polo field perimeter, imitating her fellow barn-mates. “She’s kind of become a local celebrity. The girls in the barn made her an Instagram page and she has almost 5,500 followers. People come up to us. We took her over for the Nations Cup night, and now people are emailing us and coming up to us at shows. We went up to Ocala and people we didn’t even know came up to us to ask if we brought Peeps.”
Debbie Stephens was the first rider this morning to test out the course designed by Nick Granat. Riding Centennial Farm’s Swagger, she blazed a fast pace around the track, leaving all of the rails up to finish on a time of 33.407. Stephens has been a huge supporter of the Turf Tour throughout the circuit and is consistently in the ribbons aboard her unmistakable white steed. Stephens enjoys challenging herself and her mounts by varying the location where she competes.
“I love WEF, but I also think it’s nice to change things once in a while and I would consider this a great change. Coming over here offers different jumps, different course designers and a different atmosphere. I think that it keeps the horses very well rounded. I think that also as a rider, it keeps me well rounded. I enjoy both venues; I think top competition is in Wellington and I think these places really bring the best out in the horse and the rider. I think it gives you a really good perspective of where you are.”
Stephens’ time would have her finish the day in the third spot, behind Granato and second placed Aaron Dixon, riding Peninsula Vertigo for Marilyn Dawson-Dixon. Christine McCrea would finish in fourth on Candy Tribble’s Ronaldo De La Pomme. Veteran of the Turf Tour Conor Swail would pick up the fifth place ribbon on Blue Hill Farm’s Tahiti Island, and Mario Deslauriers rounded out the top six with Henrik.
In the second class, Matthew Metell walked away with the victory. He sped around the course to finish in a time of 31.785, riding Cyon Z for Wolver Hollow. In doing so, he flew past the last team to go double clear, Laura Kraut riding Nick Skelton’s Cash. She had finished in a time of 35.30 seconds and would finish the day in second place.
Metell and Cyon Z have been successful during the Turf Tour, claiming the top prize in the same class last week. Metell is pleased with the progress his mount has made over the winter circuit.
“He’s a young 8-year-old and he’s been coming along really nicely. He’s growing into himself well. We’ve had a lot of fun showing here the last few weeks with him. He’s been a good boy. He jumped some high schooling rounds over at WEF earlier in the circuit, and then we’ve been bringing a group of horses here, so it’s easier for us to show them all in one place and he likes the grass, he’s been good here.”
Mario Deslauriers claimed third and fourth aboard Peyton and Rosalind Schaefer’s Cherrypop, respectively. Conor Swail picked up a fifth place ribbon on Susan Grange’s Fortis Fortuna, and Nina Fagerstrom rode Cover Girl to round out the ribbons in a field of 28.
The second ring saw plenty of action today with both the young jumper and schooling jumper classes. Marshall Field VI claimed the top spot in the 6-year-old Young Jumper Championship (YJC) Qualifying class with Click for Quality. Paul O’Shea finished in second on Virtuoso de Talma, and Jennifer Ramsey rode Diabolo D’esquelmes for Ronda Stavisky to the third place finish.
Paul O’Shea garnered the top ribbons in the 7/8-year-old YJC Qualifying class, with Gatsby 165 bringing home the blue and Skara Glen’s Presence the red. Mario Deslauriers finished in third on his own Can Cun 2.
The Ridge at Wellington Horse Show Series Fast Facts
The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour offers their popular 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix for its third year, with an open in gate format taking place once a week at beautiful venues throughout Wellington. The Ridge at Wellington Grand Prix Finale will take place March 27, 2015.
The Turf Tour also will host 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers every Wednesday beginning January 7, 2015 and running until March 18, 2015.
Young Jumper Classes and both Children’s/Senior Jumper Classics will find their home intermittently throughout the Wellington Turf Tour, running concurrently with the 1.30-1.35m and 1.40m Jumpers.
The Ridge at Wellington offers Equitation Shows every Tuesday of the month from January 6 – March 23, 2015. There will also be a series of schooling shows at the Ridge at Wellington for all experience levels.
Two USHJA International Hunter Derbies will take place February 6, 2015 and March 20, 2015.
The Ridge at Wellington series includes several weeks of competition throughout the Winter Season with USEF Rated Equitation Shows. This winter will also feature five two-day schooling shows. The Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour will offer 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers, 1.40m Invitational Grand Prix, Young Jumpers, Children’s/Adult Classics, Masters Jumpers, Junior/Amateur Classics, two hunter derbies and the Pre-Green Incentive Stake.
Before Show – (561) 791-1471, Email: RidgeShows@aol.com
During Show – Telephone: (561) 791-1471, Fax: (561) 791-1543
Text: (908) 500-0996
14415 Palm Beach Point Blvd. East
Wellington, FL, 33414
(561) 791-1471 (show office)
(908) 839-3859 (show cell)
(561) 791-1543 (show fax)