Parkland and Lillie Keenan Are an Unstoppable Force in Small Junior 16-17 Hunters
Wellington, FL – February 16, 2013 – Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ were victorious on Saturday night in the $125,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix, CSI 3*-W presented by Spy Coast Farm, during week six of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) in Wellington, FL. Madden beat out an impressive roster of top riders and finished in first place over Katie Dinan (USA) and Nougat du Vallet and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) aboard Amaretto d’Arco, who finished second and third respectively.
Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge set the track for 46 entries in Saturday night’s grand prix with nine jumping clear to advance to the jump-off. Four were able to complete the short course without fault, with the fastest time of 41.50 seconds belonging to Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ took top prize.
Watch an interview with Beezie Madden!
Margie Engle (USA) and Elm Rock, LLC’s Royce were first to clear the jump-off course in 45.69 seconds and eventually placed fourth. Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm, LLC’s Amaretto d’Arco cleared the jump-off track in 42.56 seconds to place third. Up next, Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners, LLC’s Nougat du Vallet upped the ante with their time of 41.84 seconds to place second. They were immediately followed by an even faster clear round from Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ in the winning 41.50 seconds. Week four grand prix winners Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Cella had the fastest time of the night in 40.46 seconds, but had one rail down in the short course to place fifth.
Spy Coast Farm owners Robert and Lisa Lourie were thrilled with the success of the evening and the great class along with a third place finish for their horse and rider. Lisa Lourie commented, “I think it was an extremely exciting grand prix. It was very competitive and you could not have asked for a better lineup for the jump-off. It was a world-class event and we were happy to be a part of that jump-off. As they say, anytime you lose to Beezie when she is riding at her best, that is not a bad thing. We are very pleased with how it went and very happy to do it.”
Madden’s winning mount for the evening, Cortes ‘C’, is an eleven-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Randel Z x Darco that Madden has now had for three years. Madden describes Cortes as a horse with fantastic ability. “He can jump the moon,” Madden stated. “He’s a bit of an internal worrier and I think he is just starting to come into his own. If he can relax like he did tonight under the lights in a big atmosphere I think he’s going to be fantastic.”
This was the first big grand prix of the year for Cortes and Madden was happy with his performance. “He felt fantastic,” she smiled. “Last year he was a little inexperienced under the lights and he was very tense when he came up here each time. This time he started out very relaxed and he felt terrific.”
“He felt very relaxed in the first round; very rideable and jumping well,” Madden continued. “I saw Katie go right before me. I was lucky to go right behind her so I could see how fast she went, so the strategy became try to pull out all the shots you can and it worked.”
In addition to the grand prix win, Madden was named the Leading Lady Jumper Rider, an award presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
“I’d just like to thank Spy Coast and the Louries,” Madden said. “They are great enthusiasts of the sport and without people like them we wouldn’t be here.”
Second place finisher, nineteen-year-old Katie Dinan, has grown up with Beezie Madden as a riding idol and was excited to finish in the top of the class with her. Dinan’s horse, Nougat du Vallet, jumped two great rounds as well. “He felt great,” Dinan smiled. “He jumped so well in the first round and we had a good school before the jump-off. I knew he wasn’t going to try to touch any of the jumps. It was just up to me to go fast. He can do most things for me, but I have to tell him when we need to go fast. He felt really good.”
Shane Sweetnam was pleased to finish in the top three for Spy Coast Farm with their top stallion Amaretto d’Arco, and had a great night.
“I was very happy with my horse tonight,” Sweetnam stated. “Obviously, the Spy Coast Grand Prix, I would have liked to have won it, but I was very happy. It is his first grand prix of the year and I’m just happy to be here.”
“Guilherme did a good job with the course,” Sweetnam said. “I think nine is a good number for clear rounds. No one got hung up anywhere, so for the young riders it was good experience for them as well as a good class for the public.”
Also showing in the International Arena on Saturday, Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Vindicat W won the $15,000 RCG Farm SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Lucas Porter and Mill’s Georgia, owned by John Roche, won in the Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumpers. Alvaro Tejada Arriola and Isabel Tejada’s Velinta Palo Blanco won in the Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and Diederique Van Der Knaap and G&C Con Air won in the Griffis Residential High Junior Jumpers.
Parkland and Lillie Keenan Are an Unstoppable Force in Small Junior 16-17 Hunters
Parkland and Lillie Keenan continued their domination of the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division during week six of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. The pair has taken home championship honors every week they have competed in the division, making this win their fourth tricolor victory. Keenan and Parkland, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jennifer Gates, were a force to be reckoned with throughout the two days of competition for the division. They placed third and first over fences on day one and won both over fences rounds day two before wrapping up the division with a fourth place on the flat.
Reserve champion was Romance, ridden and owned by Spencer Smith. Smith and Romance were sixth over fences on day one and placed second in both over fences rounds day two. The pair edged out Keenan and Parkland under saddle, placing third in the final class of the division.
Romance and Smith were also honored with the Owner/Rider championship title for the division. The award recognizes riders in junior divisions competing on their own horses and is tallied separately from overall division championship awards. Reserve Owner/Rider champions were MTM U Call It and Cloe Hymowitz.
Keenan, of New York City, and Parkland began their partnership during week one of the FTI WEF, when the pair first took home the tricolor prize. Since then, the two have proven that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck that earned them top honors.
“He’s a really special horse. He’s really fancy and it’s nice to have [a horse] in the division that you can trust to do his part. He’s a great mover and his strongest quality is how beautiful he is across the ground. His owner, Jennifer Gates, is so nice and comes to see him all the time, so it’s nice to have a lot of support behind you with a horse as special as Parkland,” Keenan stated.
“We’ve gotten closer as circuit has gone on,” Keenan continued. “He’s really part of the [Heritage Farm] family. When he first came, I’d never ridden him before he got to Florida but we’ve gotten to know each other very well. We can rely on each other in the ring.”
Keenan attributes much of her success with Parkland to the gelding’s incredible natural talent, but the bond the two shares is an undeniable factor. “I know what he likes and I know what to expect. He’s a very reliable horse. The style I ride is very similar to the way he wants to go. It’s a lot easier to match up with a horse that goes the way you like to ride. We naturally have a connection and we’ve worked on it a lot,” Keenan described.
“He’s dead brave and he moves and jumps well, which is a great foundation to work from. I just have to hold him together and keep him in a solid rhythm. It’s really just monitoring his pace and that’s all it takes,” Keenan continued.
Keenan and Parkland will aim to continue their winning streak over the remaining six weeks of the FTI WEF. Keenan is eager to return for week seven of the FTI WEF for the World Championship Hunter Rider Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, hosted in the International Arena next week.
Week six of the FTI WEF concludes Sunday with the La Mundial Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 Section B division, which will determine its champion in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena. The $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic will conclude jumper competition 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