Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo © SusanStickle.com.
Wellington, FL – February 9, 2020 – Victory in the $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase went to Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous on Sunday, February 9, at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Little and RF Scandalous vaulted to the lead in the opening dressage phase on Saturday and held it through Sunday’s show jumping and cross-country phases.
From a starting field of 40 horse and rider combinations, 33 advanced to the morning’s show jumping phase, held on the beautiful grass derby field. Maintaining her lead from dressage, Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous added four faults in the show jumping phase and stood on 23.4 penalties.
With a clear round in show jumping, Buck Davidson (USA) and Carlevo moved from fourth place to second and had 28.6 penalties going into cross-country.
Six-time Olympian Phillip Dutton (USA) rode Z to a clear jumping round and sat just behind Davidson in third place following show jumping with 28.7 penalties.
Heading into the cross-country phase, which was designed by Capt. Mark Phillips, 28 combinations contested the track that included a two-stride “triple-brush arrowhead” combination, a water feature, and corners.
Little and RF Scandalous ended with 4.80 time penalties on the cross-country course, but despite that, her early lead gave her the buffer to hold onto the victory with a total of 28.20 penalties.
“I’m disappointed that the performance in the cross-country wasn’t better, but this is a three-phase event, and she also did put in two wonderful performances,” said Little. “Although she did have a rail this morning [in show jumping], the score wasn’t indicative of the performance because she’s just come so far. To me, to know what she was dealing with out there on course, I have so much respect for her.
“I wish that this afternoon had gone better, and yet, in sports sometimes we have wonderful days. We deserve to have a great placing and it doesn’t happen,” Little continued. “I was disappointed in the performance this afternoon, but the horse still deserves all of the accolades and all of the credit because her heart was so huge. It was just a rough day out there. But she still came in and she still stood in the stall very proud of herself. That is what sports are about.
“I’ve been so blessed to have the ride on a horse that just goes out there, and she tries every time,” said Little of the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia x Lario) owned by Jacqueline B. Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders. “For me, in many ways, this is a hometown show. It’s just really one of the greatest honors of my life to ride a horse for Mrs. Mars, who I think of as one of the greatest horsewomen this country has ever known and certainly one of the greatest sportsmen and supporters of our national program. I’m so grateful that Mars Equestrian took on the sponsorship here, because I do think it’s an important event and a very meaningful one for me. I’m glad that Scandalous could be the winner of her event. It means a lot.”
For more information on the MARS Eventing Showcase and full results and scores, please visit https://pbiec.coth.com/article/50000-mars-eventing-showcase.