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Tampa Equestrian Festival Week 2 Wrap-up, March 25-29, 2009, Tampa Bay Classic

Written by: Rebecca Walton and Lauren Fisher
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2009-03-30

Tampa, FL - March 30, 2009- Never before in the history of the Grand Prix of Tampa has there been a tie for winner, but yesterday that all changed when both Darragh Kerins riding Night Train, owned by Double H Farms, and Kent Farrington riding Up Chiqui, owned by Alex Boone, Craig Dobbs and Kent Farrington, emerged victorious after the $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, when both pairs completed clear jump-off rounds and crossed the finished line in the exact same time, 32.63 seconds.

Yesterday's grand prix was the final FEI World Cup Qualifier for the Rolex FEI World Cup finals in Las Vegas and Pierre Jolicouer designed a very technically difficult course that tested all 45 riders that competed. The most difficult parts of the course included fence 5, a deceptive triple combination, fence 10 to fence 11, a liverpool bending line to a large vertical, followed by a tight turn to fence 12, a delicate plank vertical, and finally fences 13 "a" and "b", an oxer to oxer double combination going towards the end of the ring. The triple combination's middle element, a large oxer, and the last oxer of the final double combination, was where many riders found faults and lost their bid to the jump-off.

It was 17 rounds before Christine McCrea and Promised Land, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables, managed to be the first pair to complete a clear first round. The pair had a hard rub at fence 5a and fence 11 that had the crowd holding their breath, but the fences stayed up and she took over first place. McCrea held the lead for nine more rounds before McLain Ward and Phillipa, owned by Sagamore Farms, stepped up to challenge by completing the second fault-free round and assuring the crowd of a jump-off. Up Chiqui and Farrington were one of the last six rounds of the class and also completed a clear first round despite a great deal of bucking throughout the course on the part of Up Chiqui, who came into the ring feeling fresh. Darragh Kerins and Night Train were the last entry to leave all the jumps standing. The crowd cheered as he had a long approach to the final combination and still made it across the final oxer without bringing down any rails.

The crowd was prepared for a very exciting jump-off, knowing that the four participants would be trying their best and going all out to win today's class. Promised Land and McCrea entered the ring first, setting a very high standard when they managed to leave all the rails in their cups and crossed the finish line in a fast 33.25 seconds to eventually earn the third place ribbon. Ward and Phillipa were next and came into the ring with a plan, but in an attempt to make a very tight inside turn the pair had a rail down at fence 7, a tall vertical. They tripped the timers in 31.69 seconds, the fastest time of the day, but their four fault score landed them in the fourth place position. Up Chiqui and Farrington stepped into the ring next and this time Up Chiqui was focused on the job at hand. The naturally fast horse was clear in a time 32.63 seconds without taking the inside turn but managed to takeover the lead. Kerins knew he would need to take the inside turn with Night Train and be clear to win the class, but despite his best efforts a slight bobble meant that he would not be able to make up the time. The pair stopped the clock at 32.63 seconds, the exact same time as Farrington and Up Chiqui, creating a tie for first place.

"It is great, we're both thrilled with how our horses went " smiled Farrington. "These two horses compete against each other a lot and kind of battle back and forth. They're both similar types, fast and careful, so when they're both in a jump-off it's always exciting."

Kerins has qualified for the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals and will be representing Ireland with Night Train during this year's event. After today's win Farrington became the leader of the East Coast World Cup standings. He will be representing the East Coast along with McLain Ward, Christine McCrea, Todd Minikus, Hillary Dobbs, Beezie Madden and Michelle Spadone.

The Tampa Equestrian Festival will continue this week with its third and final week of competition, the Tournament of Champions. The first major event will be the $35,000 Grand Prix of Florida CSI on Wednesday, April 1, the final qualifier for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational. The grand finale of the Tampa Equestrian Festival is the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, which will be held Saturday, April 4, beginning at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. This event features the world's top equestrians competing for one of the richest purses during one of show jumping's most historical events.

For more information please visit

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday through Saturday

Wednesday's top riders were Lauren Hough and McLain Ward. Hough won the 1.40m class aboard 13-year-old Prziosos S, while Ward took home the first and second place honors in the 1.35m class with Cover Girl and Gentleman.

Wednesday's courses, designed by Pierre Jolicouer, winded around and had twelve obstacles featuring many bending lines, a double combination, and a triple combination. During the 1.40m class eight horse and riders combinations completed the first course without any jumping penalties, but because of time penalties did not advance to the jump-off.

Lauren Hough and Preziosos S were the one of the few horse and rider combination to complete a clear first round. Hough cut the turns and Preziosos S left all the jumps standing. The duo raced through the timers in 28.128, passing McCrea to take over the lead and win the class. Mario Deslauriers would attempt to challenge Hough's time with his second mount Tigger, but their time of 28.313 seconds was only fast enough to earn them second place honors.

"It's always good to win," smiled Hough. "He's a really good horse and he's won a lot at this level. He has a lot of experience so he was able to go in and be competitive on the first day. This is a big change in venue after being at WEF for so long but he can accommodate to whatever is in front of him."

The 1.35m competed earlier in the day where Ward garnered the top two ribbons. Margie Engle set the jump-off pace after being the first rider to go double clear with her mount Hidden Creek's Campella. The pair managed to leave all the jumps standing and tripped the timers at 28.377, which held up for the third place prize. Ward and Gentleman entered the ring next and also advanced to the jump-off. The pair breezed past Engle's time, stopping the clock at 25.857 seconds and capturing the second place award. Ward and Cover Girl were the next combination to go clear and Ward managed to top his own time by a fraction of a second, flying across the finish line in 25.707 seconds and winning the class.

The last class of the day was the 1.45m where Andres Rodriguez and Secret captured the top spot after a double clear effort in a time of 28.556 seconds.

Thursday fifty-eight riders competed in the $35,000 Welcome Stake in the Covered Arena. Seven riders were able to complete clear rounds and advance to the jump-off, but it was Hillary Dobbs and Marlo who completed the fastest double clear round of the day and took home the blue ribbon.

"This is a really important, special win for me today," smiled Dobbs after her victory lap. "Marlo is my newest horse and we had a period where we were getting to know each other this circuit. Today's win solidifies that we're making great strides and getting to know each other better. I'm really happy with the way she went; she was unbelievable today and I couldn't be happier with her."

The jump-off course was designed by Pierre Jolicoeur and included nine jumping efforts. Riders began over a bending line from fence three, a large oxer, to fence four, a difficult vertical plank, followed by fence ten which was a skinny vertical. Riders then continued to fence 11, a large oxer, and then to the vertical-to-vertical double combination, 12ab, followed by a tight turn to fence nine, a large oxer. Finally riders raced home over fence number one, a very wide yellow and black oxer.

Hillary Dobbs and Marlo were second to last to compete in the day's jump-off but they were prepared to win. Dobbs took off towards the first fence, leaving strides out and cutting turns where she could. The duo left all the fences standing and raced through the finish line in 38.920 seconds, passing Michael Morrissey and Crelido to garner the win. Leslie Howard challenged Dobb's lead with her second mount, Raimond W. She also went double clear, but her time of 41.950 seconds would not be enough to pass Dobbs and the pair earned the third place prize.

Friday jumper riders competed in the Covered Arena in the 1.40m class, where Beezie Madden garnered the top two prizes, earning the blue ribbon with Exclusive, owned by Elizabeth Busch Burke and John Madden Sales, and the red ribbon with the Neopolitan Holding entry, Prima.

The first course was difficult with 15 jumping efforts that included many challenging bending lines, a triple combination, and an oxer to vertical double combination. Only six riders advanced to the jump-off, which included very sharp turns and rollbacks, the double combination, and finished over a large oxer going away from the gate.

Madden followed Kent Farrington into the ring with her first mount Prima, posting a clear effort and beating his time by stopping the clock at 38.611 seconds to earn the second place prize. Madden entered the ring last with Exclusive and didn't hold back in the jump-off, allowing the mare to cut the turns and fly through the timers in a clear 38.202 seconds to capture the day's win.

"The first round was a little difficult; there weren't very many clear," explained Madden. "I was a little conservative with my first horse, Prima, because she's done a lot of running. She's kind of my main speed horse, so I didn't want to let her go in and just be fast the whole time. When we went in and took over the lead being conservative I knew that if I let Exclusive slip around at her own pace she'd probably be a little bit faster to win."

Saturday in the Covered Arena junior and amateur riders competed in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper High Power and Speed class and the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low class, with the top awards going to Erica Pritz riding Ad Fundum, and Marque Cincotta riding Chappie.

Erica Pritz and Ad Fundum were the last to qualify for the speed phase and Pritz knew she was going to have to be fast and accurate to win the class. The pair cut all the turns and left out all the right strides, flying through the timers in 44.554 seconds and capturing the blue ribbon.

"I'm pretty excited," expressed Pritz after receiving her ribbon. "This is my first high win on him, I only moved him up the last week we were in Palm Beach; I had been originally doing the lows and the mediums when I bought him in December."

She continued, "My plan with him was to try and make up for my mistake at the triple combination with my other horse earlier in the class, and really try to not over think and just go for it. The biggest concern was that first fence in the triple, I had it with my first horse, and a lot of others did as well. It was hard, especially coming off of a bending line with a triple bar. Today I just had to stay with my horse and turn; he jumps amazing!"

Next to compete in the Covered Arena was the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Low class. Seven riders were able to advance to the jump-off, which became a battle of the clock when they all managed complete clear short-courses. Sarah Kerins was the first to set a very fast time of 34.647 second with Allie, but it would not be enough to hold up against Marque Cincotta and Chappie, who beat them by fractions of a second after crossing the finish line in 34.244 seconds and winning the class.

Hunter Highlights: Thursday through Sunday

The Regular Working Hunters showed in the Main Hunter Ring Thursday, and after two days of competition, the division’s championship honors were awarded to Abel, owned by Megan McGuire, and ridden by Amanda Steege. Abel and Steege won two first place ribbons and three second place ribbons in the division’s individual classes for the tricolor win. Reserve champion of the Regular Working Hunter division went to Gamaliel, owned by McNeel H.J. Inc., and ridden by Clair Kellner. Kellner and Gamaliel won both classes over fences Wenesday and were second, second and third Thursday.

Abel, is an eight year-old Belgian Warmblood. Megan McGuire has owned the horse for two years and shows him in the younger Amateur-Owner Hunters. Amanda Steege of Bedminster, NJ, showed the horse today and was very happy with his brave performance.

Steege showed all winter in Ocala, and is enjoying the change of scenery here in Tampa. “I think this is my fifth year coming to Tampa and I love it here,” she smiled. “We have been talking to people all week and everyone keeps saying how happy they are when they are here. The weather is perfect, the ring is beautiful, the footing is perfect, the jumps are nice, and I just think that Stadium Jumping puts on a really classy event. We always look forward to coming here. I have some new clients who are showing here for the first time this year and they are totally hooked on Tampa now. We will definitely have it on the schedule for next year.”

The Green Working Hunters showed in the Main Hunter Ring earlier in the day, with Like Wize and Kate Conover winning the division’s championship tricolor after two days of competition. Like Wize and Conover placed first in all three of the division’s classes yesterday and were second in both classes today to win the championship honors. Black Pearl and Mary Eufemia won the reserve championship tricolor, placing second, second and fourth Wednesday and first and second Thursday.

The ASCPA Maclay Horsemanship Medal kicked off mid-afternoon Friday in the Jumper Annex with 14 horse and rider combinations competing over fences for the first round. The top pairs then showed under saddle for the final judging.

Following the flat phase it was 14 year-old Shawn Casady of Tennessee who took top honors in the class. Casady showed Don Stewart, Jr.’s horse Piece of Art and walked away with the blue ribbon. Later in the day Casady also placed third in the Pessoa USEF Hunter Seat Medal riding Piece of Art.

“Piece of Art is a great horse; she is a really easy ride and really easy to do these courses on,” Casady commented after his win. “She has a big stride and she really takes you around the course. I thought it was a nice course today; it flowed nicely and was pretty open.”

Following Casady in the class standings was Chelsey Zulia, who finished in second place riding Arcadia Farm, Inc.’s Convent 8. After Zulia, Bailey Hughes placed third in the class riding The Insider, owned by Gillian Sciaretta. Fourth place honors went to Hasbrouck Donovan showing Sag Harbor’s Lucky Star, owned by Paige Dekko. Fifth place honors went to Rachel Griffin showing her horse Simplify.

The Amateur-Owner Hunters concluded their second day of competition Saturday afternoon and presented championship awards to the division’s top finishers. Player and Penelope Ayers placed first and second in Saturday's classes over fences and were second and sixth Friday to take the championship win. Templeton and Darby Toben won the reserve championship honors after placing second Saturday and first, third and sixth Friday.

Penelope Ayers has owned nine year-old Player since last April. Ayers is from Burnettsville, NJ, and trains with Sandy Lobel, who she has been riding with for nearly 25 years.

“He has been an amazing ride for me,” Ayers said of Player after her win. “My trainer Sandy has always found me fabulous horses. He is really easy; he has a lot of scope and a huge step. He is also very forgiving, so he is a wonderful amateur horse and he has a great sense of humor. He just likes you to stay off his mouth and let him do his job.”

Both the Small and Large Junior Hunters 15 and Under competed in the Main Hunter Ring Sunday morning at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center. After showing under saddle and in two classes over fences Sunday, it was Taylor Ann Adams who took both championship and reserve championship honors in the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under division. Adams showed Eloise to the championship tricolor, placing fourth in the under saddle and first in both classes over fences Sunday. Eloise was also first and third over fences Saturday. Adams rode Ferngully to the reserve championship honors, placing third under saddle and second, second, first and sixth over fences.

“Eloise is the best horse ever and she always does her job,” Adams smiled. “She has the best personality; she just went out there in the pouring down rain today no problem.”

Eloise is ten years old and Adams has been riding her for about six months. The pair showed in Ocala together, and about halfway through the Ocala circuit, six year-old Ferngully came along.

This was Ferngully’s second week in a row being reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under division, and the young horse just started showing for the first time five weeks ago. “He is a baby,” Adams stated. “He is so great; he is going to be the next big thing. We just love him and he has the best personality.”

The Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division competed following the Smalls. Junior rider Samantha Schaefer rode Garfield to the championship tricolor for the second week in a row. Schaefer also had the ride aboard the division's reserve champion, Lazy Sunday.

The Small and Large Junior Hunters 16-17 also competed Sunday morning. The Small Junior Hunters 16-17 were the first to compete, with Laura Pfeiffer riding Manchineel to the championship win. The reserve championship honors went to last week’s champion, Lyle, ridden by Abby O’Mara.

Next to compete were the Large Junior Hunters 16-17. Earning the championship honors was Practicial, ridden by Laura Pfieffer. Saving Grace and Evy Carroll took home the reserve championship tricolor.


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