Richard Spooner and Lady Like Race to Finish in $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races

Richard Spooner and Lady Like won the $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races. Photo © Sportfot

Ali Wolff and Lanoo Lap the Pros in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic

Wellington, FL – March 19, 2011 – It was a fun night of competition with a highlight event, the $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Advancing through five rounds of races, it was Richard Spooner (USA) and Lady Like, owned by the C&S Partnership LLC who finished as the winners. In the final round, they topped Daniela Cordero of the Dominican Republic and T Cavalier.

The FTI WEF’s tenth week of competition, sponsored by Artisan Farms, continues through Sunday, March 20. Sunday will conclude week ten at The Stadium with the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix at 10 a.m. and the $78,000 Pennfield Feeds FEI CSI 2* Grand Prix at 2 p.m., each held on the grass field at The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Stadium. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.

There were 32 combinations in tonight’s Match Races. The course was set by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC, and it featured a race down the middle of the ring over the final line on the mirror-image courses. The class was held in bracket format with head-to-head competition.

In the first round, Spooner won over Karina Aziz. His second round saw a tough opponent in Todd Minikus, and he beat Irishman Paul O’Shea in the third round. Another Irishman lost to Spooner in the fourth round when Jonathan McCrea finished slightly slower.

Cordero beat the likes of Jordan MacPherson, Danielle Goldstein, Reed Kessler, and McLain Ward to make it to the final round. The 19-year-old amateur rider was very excited to ride under the lights in a Saturday Night Lights event.

“The class was awesome; it was a good experience for any rider. It is fun and you just go for it. You don’t even get nervous, you just get excited!” she said.

Cordero has owned T Cavalier, an 11-year-old KWPN gelding by Cavalier, for three years. “I kind of grew up with him, and we just kind of built up together,” Cordero noted.

Spooner and Lady Like, a 1999 Holsteiner mare by Limbus x Caretino, gave it their all in every round. Spooner chose Lady Like out of his string of great horses. “Choosing a horse for this class is easy. They have to be able to just run and be very careful. I am very impressed with Lady Like. She did all five rounds and I think she just had the one rail,” he said.

Spooner has competed in match races before in Spruce Meadows and other events. He remarked, “It is great for the audience and it is good for the sport because it brings people to the sport and shows it to them in an exciting manner. It is nice to see everybody let their hair down and go out and have a good time. It was kind of like horse racing, people really enjoy going fast with their horses from time to time, and I think people like to see that sort of thing.”

Talking about his victory he said with a laugh, “I am very happy to win obviously and I think that is financially the biggest class that I have won here! And we got a wonderful new Nespresso machine.”

Ali Wolff and Lanoo Lap the Pros in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic

Thirty-five competitors showed up on Saturday afternoon with the hope of taking home the top prize in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic, but it was 21-year-old amateur rider Ali Wolff and her 18-year-old veteran horse Lanoo that were able to best the field for the win. Six were able to jump the first round course without fault and then all returned to jump double clear over the short course, making it a race against the clock. Wolff (USA) and Lanoo, a Dutch Warmblood gelding by Herbie x Caruso, had the fastest time of 38.703 seconds for the win.

Ali Wolff and Lanoo won the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic during week ten at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot

After her win, Wolff explained that this was Lanoo’s second biggest class in a year after he was injured in Florida last season. She was very proud of her experienced mount of nearly seven years and stated, “I was hoping to go clean and just hoping for him to jump well, so it is really special that he actually won. He is 18 now, so he really made a good comeback.”

“We are not always the quickest in the field, but we do have a pretty big gallop and our turning has gotten a lot better, so some days he just really pulls it off,” Wolff continued with a smile. “He has really developed into a great horse for me over the years and I know him really well it, so it worked out here.”

Following behind Wolff, Scott Brash (GBR) rode Liz McTaggart’s Bon Ami slotted into second place with a time of 38.826 seconds. Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) rode What’s Next through the timers in 38.968 seconds to finish third. Ken Berkley (USA) piloted Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, to a fourth place prize with a time of 40.153 seconds. Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Diablo finished in 40.362 seconds to place fifth, and Darragh Kerins (IRL) rode S&L Slingback into sixth place with a time of 40.874 seconds.

Wolff is currently finishing college and would like to eventually become a professional, but for now she will maintain her amateur status. “Being an amateur, it kind of feels like I am an underdog going into these big classes and it is really fun,” she acknowledged. “I did the WEG Selection Trials last year and those were really big, so that gave me a lot of experience to be able to come back in here and do what I am used to. It just makes me feel more confident as an amateur knowing that I could actually move up and be a professional.”

Other than Lanoo, Wolff has some nice young horses that she is bringing along and hopes to have success with. She explained, “I started getting into the younger horses this year. I have one seven-year-old and two eight-year-olds. I am going to try to develop them a little bit while I still have Lanoo since he is getting older now. The young ones are fun to play with, but it is really fun to just get on your old wise, experienced horse and just go!”

Earlier in the day the International Arena hosted the junior and amateur-owner riders in their classics for week ten. Kalvin Dobbs rode Ultimate VDL, owned by Treesdale Farms, to victory in the $10,000 EquiFit High Junior Jumper Classic to begin the morning. Charlie Jacobs then earned his fourth victory of the circuit in the $15,000 ECB Equine Spa High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic riding Leap of Joy, owned by Deeridge Farm.

Week ten of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will conclude tomorrow at The Stadium with the $15,000 Artisan Farms Young Riders Grand Prix at 10 a.m. and the $78,000 Pennfield Feeds FEI CSI 2* Grand Prix at 2 p.m., each held on the grass field.

For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com and for more information, visit www.equestriansport.com.

Final Results: $50,000 Vita Flex Match Races
1 Lady Like, Richard Spooner, C&S Partnership LLC
2 T Cavalier, Daniela Cordero, Daniela Cordero
3 Starburst, McLain Ward, McLain Ward
3 Victor VDL, Jonathan McCrea, Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables
5 Chin Chon, Ronan McGuigan, Eduardo F Cepeda
5 Flight, Reed Kessler, Reed Kessler
5 Primo Level, Paul O’Shea, Michael Hayden
5 Jason De Carene, Santiago Nunez Riva, Santiago Nunez Riva
9 Libertina, Gemma Paternoster, Julia Harrison-Lee
9 Serval, Nicole Bellissimo, Far Niente Equine LLC
9 Caprifol, Jimmy Torano, Palm Meadow Farm LLC
9 Lady Carthago, Danielle Goldstein, Starwyn Farm
9 Allisson, Vincent Byrne, Spy Coast Farm LLC
9 Little Big Mama, Todd Minikus, Todd Minikus Ltd
9 Logan de Noblat, Katherine Dinan, Grant Road Partners
9 Wiloma III, Shane Sweetnam, Spy Coast Farm LLC
Final Results: $25,000 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic
1 LANOO ALI WOLFF (USA) BLACKLICK BEND FARM: 0/0/38.703
2 BON AMI SCOTT BRASH (GBR) LIZ MCTAGGART: 0/0/38.826
3 WHAT’S NEXT SERGIO ALVAREZ MOYA (ESP) MARTA ORTEGA PEREZ: 0/0/38.968
4 AX-CENT KENNETH BERKLEY (USA) RIVERS EDGE: 0/0/40.153
5 DIABLO MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA) MARIO DESLAURIERS: 0/0/40.362
6 S & L SLINGBACK DARRAGH KERINS (IRL) S&L FARM: 0/0/40.874
7 BILLY BIANCA RICHARD SPOONER (USA) MOLLY OHRSTROM: 4/79.838
8 CANDLELIGHT VAN DE WARANDE NICOLE SHAHINIAN-SIMPSON (USA) BG REITANAGE REWIDE R. KUNCE: 4/82.145
9 CELESTA RODRIGO DIAZ (COL) RODRIGO DIAZ: 4/83.006
10 UTAH LESLIE HOWARD (USA) THE UTAH GROUP: 4/84.485
11 CELLA MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA) JANE F. CLARK: 4/86.527
12 AD SIMONE METODO MARCOLAB LOISSE GARCIA (VEN) LOISEE GARCIA: 4/86.986

Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC
14440 Pierson Rd., Wellington, FL 33414
561-793-5867 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Media Relations
803-240-7488
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Clara Belden
Public Relations and Marketing
561-793-5867
clara@equestriansport.com

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