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Tampa Equestrian Festival Week 1 Wrap-up, March 31- April 4, 2010, Tampa Bay Classic

Written by: Rebecca Walton
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2010-04-05

Tampa, FL –April 5, 2010 – There were no rabbits this Easter at the Tampa Equestrian Festival during the $50,000 Grand Prix of Tampa CSI 2*-W. When four riders were unable to complete Sunday’s jump-off round without bringing down a rail Margie Engle and Indigo were determined to have a steady, clear ride. The pair left all the jumps standing, and despite accruing two time faults, Engle and Indigo claimed the day’s top prize.

Canadian Hugh Graham was the first to attempt the shortened course with Executive Privilege 3E, owned by King Ridge Stables. The pair had a difficult time making the inside turn to the double combination and pulled a rail off of the second fence. They also picked up faults at the tall vertical and the final oxer for a 12-fault total in 46.76 seconds. Their effort would earn them the fifth place honors.

Next on course was Pablo Barrios with G&C Quick Star, owned by G & C Farm and Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. They also had a difficult time coming to the double combination, earning a fault at the B portion, and then also pulling the top rail off of the tall vertical. Their eight fault score in 43.30 seconds would take home Sunday’s fourth place award.

Leslie Howard tackled the jump-off course next with Lennox Lewis II, which was her first of two mounts that she qualified. After a sharp inside turn following the second fence, Lennox Lewis II stopped at the third fence. The pair quickly gathered their momentum again and made their way through the rest of the course, but with four jumping faults and eight time faults they would wind up in the sixth place position.

Richard Spooner was aboard S&B LLC’s Ace when he made his way into the Covered Arena for the short course. They also took the sharp turn to the double combination and with an extra kick Ace was able to make it through without fault. The duo was not as lucky at tall vertical though, and took home the third place finish with a four fault score in a time of 44.15 seconds.

When Margie Engle entered the ring with her newest mount, Gladewinds Farm Inc’s Indigo, she knew that all she had to do was complete a clear round to go to the top of the leader board. The pair opted not to make the more difficult turns and found each fence easily. They crossed the finish line with all the jumps intact, but with a time allowed of 50 seconds they earned two time faults when they stopped the clock at 51.71 seconds.

Leslie Howard and Raimond W were the last pair to compete over the jump-off course. Howard described her mount as, “a herd of turtles” and when they also chose to make the easier turns the duo was not able to catch Engle. They crossed the finish line in 52.27 seconds, earning three faults. Howard and Raimond W garnered the second place award, while Engle and Indigo won the day’s blue ribbon.

Engle worked hard not to push the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood on Sunday. She has only had the horse for six weeks, after purchasing him from a couple in Australia. “I was just so thrilled he went clean the first round that I didn’t want to be tempted to go fast with him,” she explained. “He just started and he already wants to be a little quick. This was his first World Cup class; I’ve only been showing him for about four weeks.”

Next week the Tampa Equestrian Festival will host the Tournament of Champions from April 6-April 10, 2010. The 2010 $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational presented by G & C Farm will be held on Saturday, April 10. This is the highlight event culminating the two weeks of the Tampa Equestrian Festival. The top horses and riders from around the world are invited to compete during this special event under the stunning lights of Raymond James Stadium.

For more information please visit

Jumper Highlights: Wednesday through Friday

Wednesday marked the first day of competition during the Tampa Bay Classic, being held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. It was a beautiful, sunny day as the jumpers competed during the 1.35m and 1.40m classes in the Covered Arena.

The day’s top prize went to Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis II after they completed a double clear effort during the 1.40m class. Earlier in the day, Penny Brennan and Troubador, owned by DC Sales, were awarded a blue ribbon for their fault-free effort in the 1.35m class.

Leslie Howard and Lennox Lewis II successfully completed the first round to advance to the day’s jump-off round. The duo easily cleared each obstacle and raced through the finish line in a time of 33.060, winning Wednesday’s class and beating Barrios by just 4/10ths of a second.

Howard was proud of her mounts performance Wednesday, and was looking forward to competing during Thursday’s $30,000 Tampa Bay Welcome Stake, CSI 2* with Lennox Lewis II. “This was a warm-up for the grand prix class tomorrow,” she commented. “I was just trying to get him in there, give him a nice ride, and let him get comfortable. As it turned out he ended up winning, but it wasn’t like I came in there thinking this is one I have win. “

Earlier in the day, the 1.35m class was held in the Covered Arena with six riders advancing to the jump-off. Pablo Barrios and G&C Quickstar, owned by Pablo Barrios/Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal, were the first pair to complete a double clear effort, but their time of 32.677 would only hold up for the third place ribbon.

Hugh Graham and Airbone, owned by Julie Firestone, also completed the short course without any faults, stopping the clock at 31.127, but their lead was short lived. Brennan and Troubador advanced to the jump-off after a clear first round. The pair wanted the win and zipped around the course without any errors in a time of 29.217 to take home the blue ribbon. Norman Dello Joio qualified three mounts of the jump-off, Antares 110, Notre Star De La Nutria, and Navare D’Oriolles, but he would place fourth, fifth, and sixth after bringing down the top rail at the liverpool with each horse.

Margie Engle was the top finisher with Hidden Creek’s Pamina L during the $30,000 Tampa Bay Welcome Stake CSI 2* at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. The pair led the way by scoring the first clear round during round one, and then went on to be the only horse and rider combination to produce a double-clear effort. Thursday marked the second day of competition during the Tampa Bay Classic, held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Engle and Hidden Creek’s Pamina L were the first to compete over the final test, and with five very fast combinations coming behind them the duo was ready for a race. Engle picked up a fast gallop to the first fence and easily made a quick trip to the next fences. After the liverpool, Engle tried to take the inside option to the next oxer but her horse slipped and they lost some time. The pair easily cleared the rest of the fences and stopped the clock in 32.72 seconds.

The final combination on course was Pablo Barrios and G & C LaGran, owned by Pablo Barrios and Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. The crowd thought the duo would take over the top spot as the pair easily made it down the first line in a stunning six strides. They took a different inside route, which proved to be smoother and faster to save more time. The crowed held their breath as they made it to the difficult final fence, but the top rail came down. Barrios and G & C LaGran bested Engle’s time after crossing the finish line in 30.83 seconds, but their four fault score would earn them the second place prize and seal Engle’s victory.

“Pamina is a very quick horse, kind of winds herself up with her tail, and she’s almost better when I go in the jump-offs,” commented Engle after her winning round. “The faster you go to the jumps the more careful she gets. She was really good at the beginning, very fast, but then we slipped just a little bit when I rolled back to the skinny oxer before the in-and-out. I thought I lost a little time there. Other than that she felt great and she was very quick at the beginning.”

Friday was another beautiful day at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds, where the first week of the Tampa Equestrian Festival was being held. The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers had the opportunity to compete for top ribbons in the Covered Arena. Blue ribbons were awarded to Joy Slater and Shindig for their stunningly fast double clear effort during the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and to Darby Toben who rode Princeton in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

Joy Slater and Shindig, owned by Fat Chance Farm, were the first to compete during the Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers and they easily completed the first round without fault. The pair then geared up for their jump-off round. They quickly galloped to the first fence and continued their fast pace throughout the course, leaving each rail in its cup. Slater and Shindig blazed through the finish line in 33.771, setting a pace that no other riders would be able to catch, winning the top prize.

“Shindig is a fast horse,” noted Slater. “He jumps very accurately and he wastes no time in the air. He fit one stride too many between four and five during both the first round and the jump-off, but Shindig is such a star that he can deal with it.”

Earlier in the day the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers showed over the course in the Covered Arena. Michael Murphy and All Star, owned by Centennial Farm, led the way by completing a clear first round. They then repeated their fault-free effort during the jump-off, setting the pace at 37.995 seconds, which would hold-up for the second place prize.

Darby Toben and Princeton, owned by Doreen Toben, was the next pair to qualify for the short-course. The duo raced over the fences and was able to squeak by Murphy’s time. They had a fault-free effort in a time of 37.682, winning the class by just 3/10ths of a second. Meg O’Mara was the final rider on course with Sinatra IV, owned by Thinks Like a Horse, and they also made it to the short course, but an unfortunate rail during the bending line gave them a four fault score to earn the third place honors.

Toben has ridden 17-year-old Princeton for five years and the pair knows each other very well. “He’s very simple, he’s got the perfect mouth, definitely very scopey, and easy to turn,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll keep doing the Highs and then I would like to find one just like him. I am hoping he’ll show for another year or two.”

Hunter Highlights: Saturday

The highlight event this Saturday evening at the Tampa Bay Classic was the $5,000 WCHR Handy Hunter Classic. The class began at 5 p.m. and was held in the Covered Arena at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds. The top professional, amateur, and junior hunter riders turned out to participate. Samantha Schaefer and Bishonen led the event from start to finish, taking home the top prize with a two round total score of 171.

Schaefer and Bishonen, owned by Mariana Wade, was the second pair to enter the ring during the first round, and after a flawless trip the judges awarded them a score of 86. Schaefer’s score topped the leader board going into round two, and earned them the right to go last.

When Schaefer entered the second round with Bishonen she was decided to be more aggressive, taking two of the more difficult inside options. The choice paid off and a score of 85 was announced for the second round, giving the pair a two round total of 171 and the winning title.

Schaefer was thrilled with her win during Saturday night’s exciting class. “Bishonen is really easy and you can always count on him,” she said. “His owner is an amateur and she shows him as well, so he is very straightforward. I started showing him towards the middle of the year last year and I showed him through Indoors.”


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