Kaely Tomeu and Gentille. Photos copyright Sportfot.
Lisa Goldman Captures $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic; Claudia Freeman, Emily Aitken, and Kat Fuqua Top “Give a Buck” Pony Hunter Derby Classics
Wellington, FL – March 11, 2016 – The $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Semi-Final, presented by Seabrook LLC, was the feature event on Friday night during week nine of the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The class had 48 entries with a four-horse jump-off and a win for Kaely Tomeu (USA) and Gentille competing under the lights in the International Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic was also held in the International Ring on Friday morning with a win for Lisa Goldman (USA) and Morocco.
WEF 9, sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, runs March 9-13, 2016, featuring CSI 5* jumper and ‘AA’ rated hunter divisions. Saturday night highlights the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5*, and Sunday concludes the week with the $86,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The 12-week WEF circuit runs through April 3 offering more than $9 million in prize money.
Alan Wade (IRL) set the course for the Under 25 riders competing under the lights on Friday night. The difficult track yielded just four clear rounds and a competitive jump-off to determine final honors. Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Serenity Equestrian Ventures’ Chamonix H were first to jump-off and cleared the track in 40.52 seconds to finish second. Kaely Tomeu and Siboney Ranch’s Gentille followed with the winning round in 36.96 seconds. Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) had one rail down in 38.53 seconds aboard Alejandro Zendejas’ Hector V. D. Papendijk to finish third. Last to go, Wilton Porter (UAS) and Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Patriot dropped two rails in 37.32 seconds to finish fourth.
Tomeu (20), of Wellington, FL, trains with Shane Sweetnam and Michael Delfiandra at Sweet Oak Farm and just purchased Gentille in January. The new partnership has gone great, and Tomeu was especially excited to get the win Friday night with her father in the crowd, who does not often get to see her compete.
“I just got her, and she has been nothing but amazing,” Tomeu said of the ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Heartbreaker x Kannan). “I won our first time doing the Highs (Amateur-Owners), and was champion and won the classic three weeks ago. Then we did the U25 team event with Lacey Gilbertson, Brett Burlington, and Noelle Barry, and we were third and she was double clear. I was so excited because that was my first real show with her. We imported her in January, so I just started showing her the last week of January.”
“She is a little crazy, but not out of control. She is fun crazy, and when she goes in the ring she just knows her job and she is on top of it. She is way easier in there,” Tomeu said of the ride.
Speaking of the course, she commented, “Walking the course, I thought it seemed pretty straight forward and my trainer said it would be no problem, and we just went over it a lot. Then it appeared that a lot of people had a lot more problems than I thought. I think (it was) because it was under the lights and it was spooky and everybody gets more nervous, but she handled it well. I got a little too fast because my hands were slippery, but she was perfect. I liked the course a lot.”
Tomeu has been competing in the U25 Series for the last couple of years and has gained great experience from doing the different classes.
“It teaches you to definitely stay humble,” she stated. “I am not going to go out thinking I am going to win them all. My new horse, I owe it all to her, and Shane Sweetnam who found her. It worked out for us tonight. It was definitely tricky, but I liked it. It was her kind of round.”
Kelli Cruciotti (18), of Parker, CO, was aboard her longtime mount Chamonix H for her second place finish Friday night. Trained by her mother, Cindy Cruciotti, and Peter Lutz, Cruciotti guided the 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Equest Carnute x Caletto II) to double clear rounds and was happy with her night.
“When I walked the course, I thought it was definitely going to be hard,” Cruciotti admitted. “It was big and it was under the lights, which adds another element. It was pretty technical, and the time allowed was tight enough that you were thinking about it. I had in my head six clear, and it ended up being four, but I thought it was an amazing group of four. The horses jumped amazing, and I knew the jump-off was going to be really fast.
“My horse is not naturally very fast and I knew I had to try a little bit, but go on the safe side going first,” Cruciotti said of her jump-off. “I think I was a little conservative in a couple places, but going first you have to kind of gamble with how fast you want to go. [I watched] Kaely’s round. It was amazing and huge congratulations to her.”
Cruciotti also spoke of the experience that she has gained competing in the U25 Series, stating, “It is obviously a great experience no matter what horse you have. A young horse can gain invaluable experience under the lights, or I have the pleasure of riding a very seasoned horse. For her, it adds a little more element, so she is a little bit more impressed. I thought it was a great class with a lot of fantastic horses, and I am lucky to be here.”
Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (22), of Wellington, FL, was aboard Hector V. D. Papendijk, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor Van De Mispelaere x Rabiat Z) for his third place finish. The rider, originally from Mexico, trains with Ilan Ferder and is competing in the series for the first time this year.
Speaking of his mount, Salgado detailed, “He is a young horse. He is a little bit green, and I am very happy with how he jumped today under the lights. It is very hard sometimes; the horses get very spooky. The first round he did amazing; he was jumping great. In the jump-off, I took the risk. I got pressured by the girls and I had the rail, but I am very happy and congratulations to the girls.
“I used to live in Mexico and I just moved here,” the rider explained. “It is my first year doing the Under 25, and it is a very good experience because it is a whole series. This was the semi-final; it was a pretty tough course, and I think jumping under the lights is a great experience for us.”
Presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series will have its final event during WEF 11, the $50,000 CSI-U25 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Final, presented by Equiline, held on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Saturday, March 26.
Lisa Goldman Captures $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Classic with Morocco
The $35,000 Illustrated Properties 1.45m Jumper Classic was held at the Winter Equestrian Festival on Friday morning with a win for Lisa Goldman (USA) and Morocco. There were 52 entries over Wade’s one-round speed track with 15 clear trips.
Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm’s Cyklon 1083 set the early pace in 57.29 seconds to eventually finish third. Andrew Ramsay (USA) and The Doodle Group’s Cocq a Doodle finished the track in 58.81 seconds to place fourth. Goldman and Morocco took the lead in their time of 54.84 seconds. Ramsay later jumped into second place with his second mount, Shalanno Farms’ Welfare, in a time of 56.44 seconds, and Abdel Said (EGY) completed the fifth place round in 59.44 seconds with American Equestrian Association II’s California.
Morocco, also known as Cowboy, is a 13-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (American-bred by Nancy Whitehead’s Roc USA). The fiery chestnut has been a longtime winning mount for Goldman, and the pair has already had great success in the 2016 season. They showed the first five weeks of the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit and won four grand prix classes there. This is now their first week competing at WEF and the winning ways continued.
“Wednesday we were a little slow; nothing quite came up, and we ended up fourth,” Goldman detailed. “It was his first time out in that ring this year, and I think he was a little excited to be out here again. Then today he was just unbelievable; he was so good.
“The course was great; I love Alan’s courses so much,” Goldman added. “It was challenging, but the strides suited me because I have a little-strided horse, so I can run really fast and be quick.”
Morocco will have next week off and then return to compete in the FEI speed classes again in week 11. Meanwhile, Goldman will show her horse Centurion B and hopes to get more grand prix experience.
“Centurion is getting this week off. He showed last week in the big classes, and I am going to show him the 3* and 4* weeks,” Goldman explained. “I hope to get into the Saturday night classes and start getting 1.60m experience because I do not have very much of it. I would also love to start getting involved with some of the team competitions. I just want to be more competitive at the 1.60m level, and I have some great young horses that are stepping up, so we will see how that goes.”
Also competing in the International Ring on Friday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Speed Challenge was held in a California Split with a win for Ronan McGuingan (IRL) and Capall Zidane in Section A, and Denise Vusckovic and Americo Simonetti’s A S D Farfala in Section B.
Claudia Freeman and Dreamland Top $5,000 “Give a Buck” Large Pony Hunter Derby Classic
Pony hunters took to the grass field at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Friday to jump for ribbons and prize money in the $5,000 “Give a Buck” Large, Medium, and Small Pony Hunter Derby Classics. Beginning with large ponies, 17-year-old Claudia Freeman and Dreamland, owned by Linda Evans, took top call over 12 fellow competitors in the $5,000 “Give a Buck” Large Pony Hunter Derby Classic.
The top ten large ponies from the first round returned in the second round to determine the final placings. Freeman collected the best scores from both rounds, an 86 and an 89, for a total 175 and the win. Adam Edgar and Real Steel, owned by Brass Ring Farm Sales, were second on scores of 83 and 78 for a final of 161.
Hannah Hoch and her own Dreamsicle jumped to third with scores of 76 and 77 for a 153. Sophia Marino and All the Best, owned by Katherine Strauss, LLC, placed fourth with a 147, while Edgar also rounded out the top five aboard Fox Creek’s Anthony Quinn, owned by Dianna Orona, with a total score of 144.
Freeman, who trains with Gary Duffy and the team at Little Brook Farm, is a regular competitor in the junior hunter divisions, but got the catch ride on Dreamland during WEF Week 9.
“I started riding him at Lake Placid and then here and there when his other rider isn’t available,” said Freeman. “I’m happy I got to compete today because I love this venue – it’s fun to be out on the grass because it’s so big that you can really gallop.”
Dreamland is no stranger to pony hunter derby successes after carrying Emma Kurtz to a fourth-place finish on the grass field in 2015 and a win in 2014.
“He’s a pretty straight-forward ride,” said Freeman. “He’s kind of ‘kick and go’ pony and has won so much because of it.”
Emily Aitken and Woodlands Stevie Ray Capture $5,000 “Give a Buck” Medium Pony Hunter Derby Classic
In the $5,000 “Give a Buck” Medium Pony Hunter Derby Classic, 12-year-old Emily Aitken scored first and third place ribbons. She and Woodlands Stevie Ray, owned by Hannah Bernstein, were welcomed into the winner’s circle. After earning an 85 in round one, Aitken and the pony she calls “Stevie” returned with the top 12 to post the highest second round score of 84 to take the win on a total of 169.
Aitken trains with Kristen Carollo and topped a field of 30 medium ponies with her victory. Kat Fuqua and her own Hillcrest Leading Lady claimed second place behind Aitken with scores of 83 and 81.5 for a 164.5 total. Aitken jumped to her third place honor in the irons of her own Cleverist with scores of 84 and 80 to finish a half point behind Fuqua on 164.
Hannah Hoch and her own Anisette finished fourth with a score of 163, and Farah Rizvi piloted Show Me Love, owned by Clear Ride, LLC, to fifth on a 160.
Aitken has had the ride on Woodlands Stevie Ray since September and admits she was battling some nerves earlier in the day on Friday.
“I was a little nervous, but mostly excited because I knew it was going to be fun,” she said. “I like how [Stevie] is very consistent and jumps really well. He is so much fun to ride.”
Aitken competed in the small pony hunter derby classic last year and has big plans for the three weeks that remain in the 2016 WEF season.
“I want to be winning on both my ponies [Woodlands Stevie Ray and Cleverist] by the end of WEF,” she said. “They are both really fun and good ponies.”
Kat Fuqua and Goldhill’s Arresting Charm Win $5,000 “Give a Buck” Small Pony Hunter Derby Classic
After her second place ribbon in the medium classic, Kat Fuqua bested 26 riders to win the $5,000 “Give a Buck” Small Pony Hunter Derby Classic with her own Goldhill’s Arresting Charm.
Fuqua boasted the top scores in both rounds with an 80 and 82 for a 162 total. Zayna Rizvi and Canterbrook Prince Charming, owned by Kathryn McCarthy, rode to second place with scores of 78 and 80.5 for a 158.5 total. Mia Green was third with Farmore State of the Art, owned by Nicole White, after scores of 76 and 81 landed them a 157.
Fourth place was presented to Kyla Sullivan and Secret Love, owned by Jill Shulman, on a 151, and Alexa Elle Lignelli rounded out the top five riding her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep to a 147.
Eight-year-old Fuqua trains with Jenna Weinfurt and only got the ride on Goldhill’s Arresting Charm a few months ago.
“He’s a new ride for me and he’s only six years old, but really easy,” said Fuqua. “He has a really big stride, and I liked riding him on the field today. We had a good day.”
With her “Give a Buck” Small Pony Hunter Derby Classic win behind her, Fuqua will now turn her attention to her next goals, which include pocketing some tricolor ribbons in pony competition over the next few weeks at WEF.
WEF 9 continues on Saturday featuring the $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5* in the International Ring at 7 p.m. In the morning, the Osphos® Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3″ 18-35 division will award championship honors in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For more information and full results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
Lauren Fisher and Lindsay Brock for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.