Christine McCrea and Zerly. Photo © Sportfot.
Team of Porter, Pasmore, Garza and Reid Wins $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event; Lucador and Peter Pletcher Victorious in Fumero Law Pre-Green Level 2 Hunters
Wellington, FL, March 7, 2013 – Christine McCrea (USA) and Candy Tribble’s Zerly beat an all-star international field in Thursday’s $125,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 9 during the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival’s (FTI WEF) CSI-W 5* week sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. McCrea and Zerly won the largest portion of prize money in the richest purse ever offered in the 24-year history of the WEF Challenge Cup series over Olympic Gold Medalists Nick Skelton (GBR) and Big Star. Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour finished third.
Week nine runs March 6-10, 2013. The week will feature the $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m on Friday, the $300,000 FEI World Cup CSI-W 5* presented by The Bainbridge Companies on Saturday evening, and the $82,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday afternoon. The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition running from January 9 – March 31, 2013, and will be awarding almost $7 million in prize money throughout the circuit.
Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, is the course designer in the International Arena at PBIEC for week nine. In Thursday’s Challenge Cup competition, Stephens saw 84 entries jump his first round course and 31 competitors make it through to the jump-off. Twenty-eight riders representing six different countries returned for the tiebreaker after three entries opted out of the final round.
The USA’s Christine McCrea and Zerly raced to the win in 31.10 seconds, the fastest of 14 double clear rounds. The top five places were all separated by hundredths of a second.
Placing second, Nick Skelton and Beverly Widdowson’s Big Star finished in 31.25 seconds. Daniel Deusser and Cornet d’Amour, owned by Stephex Stables and Pedro Veniss, clocked in at 31.43 seconds to place third. Daniel Bluman (COL) and Sancha LS completed the course in 31.44 seconds for fourth place honors and Laura Kraut (USA) and Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc.’s Cedric were right behind them in 31.46 seconds to finish fifth.
Class winner, Zerly, is a nine-year-old KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago. McCrea got Zerly last August and explained that she had watched the mare show a lot in Europe with her previous rider, American Andrew Ramsay. When Zerly came up for sale, McCrea jumped at the chance to buy her.
“Honestly, she is like a dreamboat,” McCrea praised. “She has a big stride, but she can make it very small. She can jump a really careful jump and she can jump the hugest jump. For me, she is everything.”
Commenting on this afternoon’s class, McCrea noted, “I never thought there would be 31 clear, but I think this is a big week and people have geared up for it. Everybody knows that this is the biggest money of the circuit this week, so I think everybody is coming here with their ‘A’ game. There are so many good horses and riders; you can’t underestimate anybody.”
“The course didn’t ride easy,” McCrea added. “I didn’t think it was small. I think the horses just jumped really well and the footing is good and there are really good horse and rider combinations here.”
Nick Skelton and Big Star were holding on to the lead in the jump-off when McCrea and Zerly entered the ring and just edged out their time. “I saw Nick go in the jump-off and I thought there was no way I could beat him, but she is very fast,” McCrea acknowledged. “I have no idea how I made the time. I flew from one to two. That is the only thing. The rest I am not really sure.”
McCrea was excited to get her first big win with Zerly, especially in Thursday’s big money class. “It is fantastic that they had this much prize money, especially when you have so many in the class,” she stated. “It is inspiring and we appreciate it.”
“I am thrilled,” she concluded. “She is only nine and this was my first big win with her. I just started in the grand prixs (with her) down here, so I am really excited.”
In addition to the winning check for $37,500 for the class, McCrea was also presented with $6,000 for the SSG “Go Clean for the Green” promotion. A $3,000 bonus is offered each week if the winning rider of the Challenge Cup class is wearing the SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible. The bonus went unclaimed during week eight, so McCrea won two weeks’ worth of bonus money. Zerly was also honored with the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award.
Team of Porter, Pasmore, Garza and Reid Wins $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event
Thursday’s competition concluded in the International Arena at PBIEC with the $20,000 Artisan Farms Young Rider Grand Prix Team Event, held in a Nations Cup format shown over two rounds of competition. With five teams of four competing, Team 5 was the winner. The team, made up of Wilton Porter riding Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Paloubet, Catherine Pasmore riding Freddy Star, Eugenio Garza riding El Milagro’s Bariano, and Chloe Reid riding Damascus, was coached by Kim Prince.
After the first round, each team dropped their highest score. In the second round, all five teams returned in order of highest to lowest total faults. The winner was determined by the lowest total of each team’s top three riders from each round.
For the winning team, Wilton Porter and Paloubet had the drop score of 19 faults in round one, but redeemed themselves with the only clear trip of the competition in the second round. Catherine Pasmore and Freddy Star had eight faults in round one and four faults in round two. Eugenio Garza and Bariano had four faults in round one and the drop score of 12 in round two, and Chloe Reid and Damascus had 15 faults in round one and eight faults in round two. The team finished on 39 faults total for the win.
From the winning team, Catherine Pasmore has the most team experience with senior Nations Cup performances. Pasmore rode her horse Freddy Star, an eleven-year-old Westphalian gelding by Lancer III x Polydor. Commenting on her rounds, Pasmore noted, “I went in fairly early and I had a foot in the water and four time faults, so a total of eight. I was a little disappointed, but as the class went on, the course definitely got the better of all of us today, so I was actually pleased with my round at the end.”
“For the second round they did make a few things slightly easier and they lengthened the time allowed, but I still wanted to make sure that I did not have time fault; that’s one of the worst things you can have in a Nations Cup, so I really jumped one, got right over to two, got right over to three. I really tried to make the time up a little bit early so that by the end when they got a little bit careful, I could take my time.”
“Freddy Star is a fairly new ride for me,” Pasmore said. “I jumped him a little bit early on and he did really well and I brought him out today basically to see what he would do with two rounds. He was really good, so I am pleased with that. I hope that he’ll come along and be a nice second horse for me to some of my other horses.”
Although Pasmore has had top Nations Cup experience, she counts all team experience equally. “Any Nations Cup to me is important,” she declared. “It doesn’t matter if its young riders or a senior team, you just really have to go in and give it 100%. Even if you have one down, you just can’t let your guard down and you can’t have another one.”
Although Wilton Porter had a little trouble in round one, he came back to jump a clear round even with an equipment malfunction.
“After the first round we decided to change the bridle to a hackamore so that he had less interference with his mouth jumping and then the hackamore actually ended up breaking in the second round about six jumps in,” Porter explained. “I did the second half of the course with a broken bridle. He is already pretty strong as it is, and I pretty much had no brakes, but I almost never have brakes anyway, so I just sort of steered him and he jumped great in the second round. It all worked out in the end.”
His horse Paloubet is a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Voltaire. “I’ve had him for a little over a year now. Katie and Henri Prudent helped find him for me,” Porter detailed. “He is a great horse and we have done some big classes. I have a great team helping me with him. John Roche is training me and I am extremely grateful to my parents and the sponsors of this class for helping me and providing us with the opportunity to do this.”
“It is a great experience,” Porter said of the series. “The team event helps get us ready for the young rider championships in Kentucky and the individual competition really tries to enforce consistency so that you can be right up there at the top at the end. It is a big class and an important class, so anytime you get the chance to do a class that is more important than a normal class, it helps you practice and gives you experience. I try to use those opportunities for my horses and then there is good prize money too. It is a lot of fun.”
Eugenio Garza rides for Mexico and was aboard his twelve-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding Bariano (Jetset-D x Skippy).
“He is a great horse,” Garza expressed. “This is maybe my fifth month riding him. He has all the scope in the world and he is really careful. He has personality, everything. I just love him.”
Garza commented on the course, stating, “When we walked the course I thought it was good, but as people started going it was obvious that it was hard and we were going to have to work to get a good score. It was a hard course actually.”
Chloe Reid and her horse Damascus, an eleven-year-old KWPN mare by Cardento x Corland, have been working on their partnership since joining up last spring. Reid noted, “Right from the beginning we had a really strong connection and I really learned how to ride her well. Recently she has been really learning to become my horse and really listening. Today in the first round, the time was really tight and my trainer told me to go in and just try as best as I could. By the second round I already knew that we were going to win, but I still wanted to go in for the individual. I am happy with my round. I am disappointed that I had a few down, but I am happy.”
Reid also appreciated the team experience. “Being on a team is a lot of fun,” she smiled. “It is mostly an individual sport where you don’t have a lot of opportunities to compete on a team. This is my second week now; I did the junior Nations Cup last week and every time it is just a lot of fun rooting with other people and just the excitement of it all.”
Team 3 from Zone 2 finished second on a 47 fault total. The team included Charlotte Jacobs and Candy Tribble’s Promised Land, Gabrielle Bausano and Ubico H, Mattias Tromp and Beyaert Farm, Inc.’s Casey, and Lillie Keenan riding Chansonette Farm LLC’s Londinium.
Team 1 with riders from Colombia and Venezuela had 50 faults to place third. The team included Mario Gamboa and Stransky’s Mission Farms’ Unico, Emanuel Andrade riding Hollow Creek Farm’s ZZ Top VH Schaarbroek Z, Nicolas Herrera and Concorde, and Luis Fernando Larrazabal riding Anabel Simon’s G&C Sacramento.
Lucador and Peter Pletcher Victorious in Fumero Law Pre-Green Level 2 Hunters
Peter Pletcher and Lucador claimed victory for the second week in a row in the Fumero Law Pre-Green Level 2 Hunter division during week nine of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The five-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by Brian and Sophie Baldwin of Sagamore Farm, dominated day one of competition, winning the under saddle and both over fences classes. Pletcher and Lucador wrapped up the division on day two with a second place finish over fences. Reserve champion honors went to 21-Gun Salute, ridden by Christina Serio and owned by Kendall Sharkey. Serio and 21-Gun Salute were fourth under saddle and sixth and second over fences on day one before finishing day two with first and fifth place ribbons over fences.
Lucador began his show career at the 2013 FTI WEF with Pletcher and has proven his potential as a top competitor. “He’s come into his own these last few weeks. He’s been champion the last two weeks he’s shown in the Pre-Greens,” Pletcher commented. “He’s a super horse and a talented athlete with a beautiful jump.”
Pletcher has helped the gelding settle in to life at the showgrounds, which is no small feat when starting out at the massive grounds of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). “At first, he was a little ADD and looked around a bit. Now that he’s been here a few weeks, he’s really gotten it. He can be looking around but then focus in on the jump and give you an amazing jump, seemingly out of nowhere,” Pletcher described.
Lucador’s inexperience showed briefly when he jumped a shadow on day two of competition for the division, but overall Pletcher couldn’t be happier with the young horse’s performance. “He was really good today. The second round he went around really nicely so we were happy,” Pletcher smiled.
Pletcher looks forward to continuing to ride Lucador this year.
“He’s amazing. He’s such a good horse and very, very talented. He jumps as well as any horse at [the FTI WEF]. He has a wonderful jump and is lovely across the ground. He’s a gorgeous mover and is beautiful to look at too,” he remarked.
Sophie Baldwin was also thrilled with Lucador’s early success and is happy to have Pletcher in the irons. “They’re two peas in a pod! Peter does such a good job with him. Peter is very smooth and just lets [Lucador] do his thing. He’s so fancy and special; he just shines. Peter is the perfect match for him, so we’re really happy with the both of them!” Baldwin stated.
The Fumero Law Pre-Green Level 2 Hunter division kicked off week nine of competition of the FTI WEF, sponsored by The Bainbridge Companies. Week nine will continue Friday with Section A of the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 division, hosted in the Rost Arenaof the PBIEC. The $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m will be featured in the International Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival
The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 9 through March 31. The FTI 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 $7 million in prize money will be awarded. For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
About FTI Consulting
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 3,800 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.56 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2011. More information can be found at www.fticonsulting.com.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations