2005 Winter Equestrian Festival Week 1 Wrap-Up

Beezie Madden and Conquest II won the $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach on Jan. 30, the highlight of the first week of the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival.
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Beezie Madden and Conquest II won the $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach on Jan. 30, the highlight of the first week of the 2005 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Wellington, Fla., Feb. 1, 2005 -- The first week of the 33rd Annual Winter Equestrian Festival, Jan. 26-30 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, Fla., featured equestrians competing in eight rings.


Six more weeks of competition are scheduled at the Wellington venue before the festival moves to Tampa for two additional weeks. The grand finale is the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational at Raymond James Stadium, April 2.


Beezie Madden and Conquest II won the $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach on Jan. 30. They edged out Casadora ridden by Lauren Hough by 8/10 of a second for the win.


Hough mentioned that many times a fast round early can put additional pressure on those that follow. "In a class like this with so many in the jump-off, when they have to go after you, they'll often have some rails while trying to go too fast to catch you. I think that happened to a few today," she said.


Asked after the class if she had watched Hough's jump-off ride, Madden laughed, "I did watch her, and I figured we were all going for second place after that."


So where did Madden find the extra 8/10 of a second? "I think maybe to fence one I was a little faster than Lauren and then I actually added a stride at the original fence two, but that made me faster to the jump on the end," she said.


How can adding a stride make you faster? Madden gave the details.


"She did seven, and I did eight, but her long seven strides took her on a much wider turn after fence two to the fence on the end," said Madden. "Because I added a stride I was able to make a tighter turn and had the shorter line to that the jump at the top of the ring. I think that was the difference because we were stride for stride after that."


Jumper Highlights

At the Internationale Arena, two time American Invitational champion Molly Ashe of Wellington, Fla., on Rosewood Glen's King Louie emerged victorious in the 1.45m Jumpers to win the first class on the first day of the festival. Jeffery Welles won both halves of the 1.40m that afternoon with Penelope and Octavius, respectively.


For the second straight year, McLain Ward aboard Double H Farm's Goldika 559 emerged victorious in Round One of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series. Cara Raether and News, owned by Trelawny Farm in 41.08 seconds finished second, and Laura Kraut riding Milona for Peter Wetherill finished third in 41.24.


Speed was the name of the game Jan. 28 as a field of 83 competitors turned out for the $5000 Acorn Hill Speed Challenge. Kraut and Pasmore Stable's Antigua RG emerged victorious, coming home fault free and breaking the finish line beams in a blazing time of 55.517 seconds.


Sprite, ridden by her owner, Laura Chapot, finished second. Chapot posted a time of 56.569 seconds to pick up the red ribbon. Third place went to the early leader in the class, Ramiro Quintana and LaBelle, owned by the Turnabout Farm. Quintana crossed the finish line in 56.875 seconds.


A field of 29 jumpers turned out for the $20,000 1.50m Classic, the featured event on the afternoon of Jan. 29. Poleander, owned by the October Farms with Cody Baird in the irons, stormed across the finish line in 32.406 seconds, good enough for a two second margin of victory.


Hunter Highlights

Popeye K and Tommy Serio, riding for owner Elizabeth Spender of Keswick, Va., walked away with the Regular Conformation Hunter Championship ribbon after winning three out of four classes on Jan 26. Reserve champion was In Disguise and Shachine Belle, who rode for owner Ellen Toon of South Salem, N.Y.


The Regular Working Hunter division was won by Gray Slipper and Louise Serio. They won three out of four over fences classes and received second place in the remaining two classes of the division. The gray gelding is owned by Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, N.Y. Reserve champion went to Take Away, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Cortie Wetherill of Malvern, Penn.


The Second Year Green Working Hunters have a new star in the first week of competition. High Cotton and Ken Smith won three over fences classes in two days and collected the championship. Smith rode for owner Christy Russo of Miami, Fla. Reserve champion went to Cool Blue and Scott Stewart, who rode for owner Carolyn Kelly of New York, N.Y.


The First Year Green Working Hunter division was split into two sections due to 61 entries. Section A wrapped up on Jan. 28, with Tim Goguen and Corvet Z walking away with the championship. Reserve champion in Section A of the First Year Green division went to Endearing and Chad Watridge. The Section B champions were Without Question and Rob Bielefeld. Danny Robertshaw rode Island Heart to the reserve championship in Section B.


The grey gelding Inverness and rider/owner Sherry Robertson were the Adult Amateur 51 & Over hunter champions. They edged out reserve champions Red Dragon and Betty Oare, of Warrenton, Va. Indian Summer and Holly Caristo, of Hauppage, N.Y., won the Section B Adult Amateur 51 & Over division. The reserve champions were Que Sera and Bruce Duchossois of Aiken, S.C.


Only one hunter championship was presented on Jan. 29, and it was awarded to Jazz and Francesca Caroli of Canada in the Amateur Owner 18-35 Hunters. Danielle Torano and her dappled gray Mirage. Mirage and Torano were reserve champions.


Pavarotti and Teri Kessler of Bedford Corners, N.Y., picked up their championship ribbon in the Amateur Owner 36 & Over Hunters on Jan. 30. Kessler edged out Berringer and Kathy Mailloux of Wellington, Fla., who settled for the reserve champion. Kessler's daughter Reed won the Small Pony Hunters on Cardiff Mardi Gras over My Little Dickens and Megan Davis of Lutherville, Md.


Katharine Newman won the Small Junior 15 & Under championship on her mount Fancy That. Newman rode Fancy That for owner Whitney Roper of Rumson, N.J. Davis Cup and owner/rider Alexandra Stathis of Essex Falls, N.J., were reserve champions.


Rio Bravo owned by Sale Johnson and W.G.H.R. Farm of New York, N.Y., and ridden by Addison Philips handily won the Large Junior 15 & Under championship. Renoir and Kelsey Rae Calabro of Water Mill, N.Y., won the reserve championship.