February 25, 2005 -- The five-week hunter-jumper Gulf Coast Winter Series began Feb. 9. The series will host almost 1000 competitors each week at the Harrison Country Fairgrounds in Gulfport, Miss.
The winner of the Bayer-Legend $25,000 Grand Prix on Feb. 13 was I.Z's Lifetime, owned by Bjorn and Clara Ikast of Laredo, Texas, ridden by Bjorn. I.Z.'s Lifetime, an 11-year-old Russian stallion won $7,500 with two clear rounds. Second place was CR Fantasia, owned and ridden by Paolo Tropia of Houston, and a close third was Rubens Z, owned by Courtney Jones and ridden by Holly Shepherd of Mobile, Ala.
In the first week of hunters, First Year Green Champion was Lionheart ridden by Mike Rosser of Southern Pines, N.C., for owner Barnes Brooks. In the Second Year Green and Regular Working, Champion was Sequel, owned by Showcase Ltd and ridden by Terry Brown of Atlanta, Ga. The first Small Pony Champion of the series was All Aroan, owned by Tustin Farm and ridden by Leah Curtiss of Mobile, AL. The Large Pony Champion of week one was Woodland's Silver Creek, owned and ridden by Lindsey Davitt of Wakefield, R.I.
David Wright and Step Right Up won the Gulf Coast Mid Winter $10,000 Open Welcome on Feb. 24. After a clear first round Wright and 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding from Murfreesboro, Tenn., raced through the jumpoff in 34.494 seconds.
Step Right Up or "Teddy" as he's known is no stranger to the winner's circle. A seasoned pro of eight years, he's had victories in the American Royal Hunter Jumper Grand Prix, the St. Louis National Charity as well as a bid for this past year's Olympic Trials.
Second place in the Open Welcome went to Hidden Sun Farm's Bruce Ginsberg on board Napolitano with a jumpoff time of 35.530 seconds. In third was McGrath owned and ridden by Kathy Protasiewicz finishing with a time of 37.123 seconds.
Among Hunter Divisions, Ocean Road owned by Victoria Lee and ridden by Kelly Mullen took this week championship in the Classic Hunters. Karlene Moss's Say So was the 2'9 Special Hunter Champions.
The series runs through March 13 and admittance to the show grounds is free. The show starts each Wednesday at 8 a.m. with classes going until about 4 p.m. each day. The prestigious Grand Prix events are held each Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
For further information on the 2005 Gulf Coast Winter Series and results, go to www.classiccompany.com or call the show office at 228-832-0080.