Thirteen-Year-Old Lillie Keenan Victorious in WIHS Equitation Finals
Washington, D.C. – October 30, 2010 – Tonight’s $100,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix presented by Washington Convention and Sports Authority, CSI 3* was an exciting example of the sport of show jumping and a qualifier for the FEI World Cup Finals in April. Two-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, and Sapphire, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, came away with the win in the highlight class of the 52nd Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). Earlier in the evening, 13-year-old Lillie Keenan of New York, NY, won the WIHS Equitation Finals.
The WIHS continues through Sunday, October 31 with the best hunter, jumper, and equitation riders in the nation competing for top prizes at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C.
Sapphire and Ward repeated the success that they had in 2008 in the grand prix at the WIHS when they were the fastest clear round in a jump-off of seven. There were 24 entries in tonight’s grand prix class, which was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC.
AMERICANS TAKE THE LEAD AS JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIP GETS UNDERWAY by Louise Parkes
Lexington, 4 October – The host nation took a firm grip on both the team and individual leaderboards as the Jumping Championship got underway at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA today. Mario Deslauriers steered the powerful gelding Urico into pole position in the exciting Speed event, which is both the first individual qualifier and the class that decides the rankings for tomorrow’s team competition. And he had the best back-up around in the shape of fellow-American McLain Ward who steered the great mare Sapphire home just a little slower to slot into runner-up spot.
As expected, the US riders, who are strongly tipped for medals this week, came out with all guns blazing. But there were plenty of surprises throughout the day and the biggest of these was the spectacular performance of Hungary’s Sandor Szasz who slotted into third place. Riding Moosbachhofs Goldwing the relatively unknown 39 year old stormed into the lead with a clear round in 71.79 seconds as the first half of the competition was coming to a close. But, with just four left to run before the lunch-break, Deslauriers and Urico raced through the timers in 71.25 seconds to re-set the target.
Lexington, Ky., Oct. 4, 2010 — U.S. riders Mario Deslauriers, on Urico, and McLain Ward, on Sapphire, set the pace in the first leg of the team competition at the Jumping World Championships, presented by Rolex. Their performance led the U.S. team to the top of the team rankings, with two more days of team jumping to go at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Deslauriers and Urico stopped the clock after a clear round in 71.25 seconds. Ward and Sapphire, riding almost five hours later in the field of 121 horses, fell just short, in 71.79 seconds.
Sandor Szasz of Hungary, who is competing in his first international championship and has never placed in a major international competition before, surprised his competitors and the roaring crowd in the Rolex Arena by urging Moosbachhofs Goldwing through the finish in 73.24 seconds.
Canadian Silver Medalist Jill Henselwood calls Pfizer Course “Most beautiful course in North America”
SAUGERTIES, NY (September 14, 2010) — Two-time US Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward of Brewster, New York and his majestic, “million-dollar” mare, Sapphire, owned by McLain Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, won the inaugural Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix on Sunday, September 12 at HITS-on-the-Hudson in Saugerties, New York.
The legendary duo of Ward and Sapphire proudly added their names to the show jumping history books once more when they bested a field of 43 High-Performance riders before an energetic and enthusiastic crowd of thousands that lined all four berms surrounding the Strongid Stadium. Sunday’s line-up featured some of the best and most promising athletes and horses in the sport, including some of America’s brightest up-and-coming stars and several American and International Olympians.
SAUGERTIES, NY (July 27, 2010) — Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward and Goldika 559 won the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Pfizer Animal Health, on Sunday, marking the third Grand Prix victory for the duo this year in the Strongid® C 2X Stadium at HITS Saugerties.
Ward, of Brewster, New York and 18-year-old mare Goldika 559, owned by McLain Ward & Blue Chip Bloodstock, were one of 27 horse-and-rider combinations to take the field on a course designed by International Course Designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico, which saw just four pairs advance to the jump-off.
Hernandez’s first-round course proved challenging, as the first six competitors pairs failed to go clean, with a majority of faults coming in the two double combinations. The time allowed, at 83 seconds, was tight as well and caused many to incur time faults over the course.
July 5, 2010 – The North American Riders Group believes to advance the sport of show jumping, all decisions related to its future must put the sport itself above all else. This is an example of that.
McLain, the USEF and the FEI could have continued a prolonged legal battle, but the additional gains on either side would have been for personal gain or pride. Instead, a positive resolution has been forged that publicly recognizes the decision was INCORRECT and, importantly, has resulted in a revised protocol for hypersensitivity.
Details of the revised protocol will be issued before the Aachen CHIO, but from what we understand already they will require more checks and balances which should eliminate any misuse of the protocol either by mistake or abuse of power.
Everyone in show jumping should benefit from this resolution.
We applaud those involved for this resolution while we still recognize that McLain can’t get back the World Cup he lost in Geneva!
2 July 2010 – After a full investigation into the facts surrounding the disqualification of Sapphire (McLain Ward) at the FEI World Cup Final in Geneva, the FEI has determined that the horse was incorrectly eliminated from the second round on 16 April 2010, however, Sapphire’s disqualification from the final round of the World Cup remains in place.
McLain Ward will immediately be awarded all ranking points and prize money related to his second place finish in the second round of the FEI World Cup Final. This will not affect ranking points and prize money awarded to other riders in the competition.
As a result of this investigation, the FEI has also decided to issue mandatory guidelines to be applied by the Veterinary Commissions appointed for FEI Events in order to strengthen the hypersensitivity protocol that was applied in Geneva. These guidelines will be communicated to all National Federations prior to the CHIO in Aachen (GER).
The USEF, McLain Ward and Tim Ober have stated that they do not agree with the FEI on the question of whether Sapphire displayed a level of sensitivity that justified her disqualification from the third round of the World Cup and also disagree with the process followed however, in the best interest of the sport, they have dropped their legal case against the FEI and will not challenge this disqualification.