Lucy Deslauriers and Hester. Photos © Sportfot.
Eugenio Garza Wins Under 25 Grand Prix; Jimmy Torano Tops 1.45m Jumper Classic; Taegan Long Prevails in Equitation 15-17 3’3″
Wellington, FL – March 4, 2017 – Seventeen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers (USA) topped a line-up that included Olympians and some of the fastest riders in the world on Saturday, March 4, to win week eight’s $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic with Hester at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.
Course designer Ken Krome (USA) set the track for Saturday night’s 1.50m competition, which featured 49 entries jumping under the lights in the International Arena at PBIEC and yielded a nine-horse jump-off. Seven entries cleared the short course without fault, and it was the youngest of the pack that jumped to victory in the fastest time of 37.06 seconds.
It was the biggest win of a blossoming show jumping career for Deslauriers, who has been extremely successful in Under 25 events throughout North America over the last several seasons. She was aboard Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester, the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) that she has ridden to success for almost five years.
“It was incredible!” Deslauriers beamed following her victory. “Hester definitely felt the atmosphere tonight, and he really thrives on that sort of situation. He feels a crowd. He knows it is under the lights, and he knew it was time to perform.”
Remarking on the group of riders in the jump-off, Deslauriers admitted, “It was pretty intimidating. I knew there were a bunch of really fast combinations behind me and even that went before me. I am lucky my horse is super quick, and he has a huge stride. I just tried to use that to my advantage and not slow down.”
Deslauriers jumped in two 1.50m events in 2016, but it was her first time competing at that level with Hester in a major night class.
‘It was definitely a step-up,” she said. “It really just felt like a grand prix under the lights. I tried to think about my plan, and not really worry about how big it was, and just ride the best that I could.”
Darragh Kenny (IRL) finished second, riding Kerry Anne LLC’s Bolero III through the timers in 37.28 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) placed third aboard veteran partner Mark Q in 37.48 seconds, and Alex Granato (USA) guided Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W to fourth place honors in 37.94 seconds.
Eugenio Garza Wins $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Series Grand Prix
It was a win for Mexico in Saturday’s $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Series Grand Prix at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival, as Eugenio Garza and El Milagro’s Victer Finn DH Z topped a field of 49 starters jumping a course set by Ken Krome (USA).
Seven entries advanced to the jump-off, where only two were able to clear the short course without fault. Garza and Victer Finn DH Z cleared the track in 31.10 seconds. Jennifer Gates (USA) placed second in 33.21 seconds aboard Evergate Stable’s Pumped Up Kicks. Alex Matz (USA) completed the fastest four-fault round in 30.55 seconds to place third riding D. D. Matz’s Cashew CR.
Garza (20) was aboard a special horse in the nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Va Vite x Stakkato) Victer Finn DH Z, which he purchased from Belgium’s Jos Verlooy in May of 2016.
“He is actually the son of the first grand prix mare I ever had named Seagull,” Garza stated. “That mare was pretty much the one that got me into riding, but she was plagued with injuries. She never really got to do anything, but her son Victer is an amazing horse. He has so much heart and so many good qualities just like his mother. He is a really special horse for us.”
Speaking of his winning ride on Saturday, Garza detailed, “I was fortunate to go the later side of the jump-off. We knew that there had been a fast clear from Jennifer, so we just tried to be efficient in the turns and everything came up really nicely. I almost did one less (stride) than I was supposed to going to the last jump, but thankfully Victer helped me out there. He tried his heart out today, and I could not be happier with him.”
Remarking on her round with the 14-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Levisto x San Juan) Pumped Up Kicks, Gates noted, “I did this week in preparation for the five-star next week with Kix. After the four-star a few weeks ago, he has had a little bit of a break, which is nice.
“Going into the jump-off, I wanted to try to work on my turns,” Gates explained. “I am usually really slow in jump-offs. I was just glad to have a clear round, and I knew somebody would probably catch me. I was really happy; I feel like I worked on what I wanted to in preparation for next week.”
Third place finisher Alex Matz was aboard Cashew CR, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Quinar) that he got last summer.
“He is relatively new, and he is just sort of coming into his own right now,” Matz said of his mount. “It has taken a while for us to mesh, but he has tried tremendously every round for me. He has all the ability in the world, and he has been really a great new horse.”
While Matz was competing in only his third Under 25 event, Gates and Garza each have more experience in the series. For Garza, this is his third year competing in the classes and a great opportunity for both horse and rider.
“We really like the series, and the grand prix is a great class for us,” Garza stated. “Even more so this year now that the grand prix are ranking classes [in the U25 Series]. That is unbelievable. Usually at WEF, you go up against not only amazing riders, but the top, best riders in the world. It is really nice for the under 25 riders to be able to get some ranking points, and it is very generous for the sponsors to put that extra money for us.”
Victer Finn DH Z was also presented the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award for week eight by Laura Fetterman.
The Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Series, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, was developed as a bridge to the international level of grand prix competition. The series gives athletes, both human and equine, an opportunity to compete under a myriad of conditions, including jumping on grass, under the lights at night, and in team competition, all important elements that competitors will face as their international careers progress. The series concludes with a $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final, which the top 30 riders in the point standings will be invited to contest on Sunday, April 2.
Jimmy Torano Tops $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m
USA’s Jimmy Torano aboard Missy Clark and North Run’s Betagravin won Saturday’s $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Classic during week eight at WEF. Forty entries showed, and nine jumped clear over the Ken Krome (USA) designed speed course. Torano and the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Quasimodo Z x Grandeville) clocked the winning time of 64.53 seconds.
Markus Beerbaum (GER) set an early pace aboard Michaels and Beerbaum’s Charmed 2 in 67.15 seconds to eventually finish fourth. Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock LLC’s Böckmanns Lazio placed second in 66.61 seconds, and Richie Moloney jumped into third at the end with a time of 66.77 seconds aboard Equinimity LLC’s Ypaja Yando.
Torano began riding Betagravin at the start of the winter and has had numerous wins with the speedy mare, including Friday’s $10,000 Griffis Residential CSIO Speed Stake.
“She really started out great,” the rider noted. “The first class I rode her in she won. That was just a 1.30m class. Then she won a 1.40m. She won yesterday, now again today. She is just a real winner. She is very fast, she has a very big stride, and to win two days in a row is always nice.
“One of the good things about her is that you can go fast with her in every class, and she does not seem to get flat, and she does not seem to care,” Torano continued. “I went pretty much full tilt yesterday, and she came back today and she was still sharp, and she was still trying. She was just as good today, if not better, than she was yesterday.”
Remarking on his winning track, Torano added, “The lines were kind of long and leaving out strides, but her stride is just so big, they actually got a little bit short. I think that is where she is so fast. I cut back right on the double by the in-gate within one stride, and going into the last line, I turned right back on it. I don’t really know her that well; I have not been riding her that long, but I can trust her 100%. So far there is not anything I have asked of her that I feel like she has not done.”
Also competing in the International Arena on Saturday, Eve Jobs and Charleville were victorious in the $15,000 SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Engel & Völkers. The Kate Nash Boone Style Award was also presented to Canada’s Ian Millar.
Taegan Long Prevails in Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 3’3″
Taegan Long of Medford, NJ and Angelique bested a field of 35 competitors to capture the championship ribbon in the Alessandro Albanese Equitation 15-17 3’3″ division on Saturday afternoon. Long piloted her own 2008 mare by Amadehus to first and second place ribbons over fences, as well as third place in the flat phase. The pair also competes in the 3’6″ equitation classes.
Long purchased Angelique while the mare was competing in the Six-Year-Old Jumpers and has spent the last two and half years transitioning her into an equitation horse.
“The transition from the jumpers to the equitation was difficult for her,” Long explained. “She was slow and not very careful in the Six-Year-Old Jumpers. I think she was pushed past her limits doing that division. She wants to perform and do well for you, so when she would have a rail she’d get scared. When she first made the switch to equitation, she was confused as to what was being asked of her.”
Speaking fondly of her mare, Long continued, “She tries her heart out for me and has been so good recently. I’m so proud because she’s come so far with me.”
Christina Rogalny of Wellington, FL and Cool Boy settled for reserve honors, winning an over fences class. Cool Boy, an entry owned by Treesdale Farm, is a 2003 Oldenburg gelding that Rogalny has ridden since the start of 2016.
The eighth week of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival concludes on Sunday with the $216,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4*, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, in the International Arena. The Palm Beach International Academy Children’s Hunter 15-17 will determine championship and reserve honors in Ring 7. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.