Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes “C” were victorious Saturday, Feb. 16 in the $125,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix, CSI 3*-W presented by Spy Coast Farm, during week six of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington.
Madden beat out an impressive roster of top riders and finished in first place over Katie Dinan and Nougat du Vallet and Shane Sweetnam aboard Amaretto d’Arco, who finished second and third respectively.
Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge set the track for 46 entries in last Saturday night’s grand prix with nine jumping clear to advance to the jump-off. Four were able to complete the short course without fault, with the fastest time of 41.50 seconds belonging to Madden and Cortes “C.”
Margie Engle and Elm Rock LLC’s Royce were first to clear the jump-off course in 45.69 seconds and eventually placed fourth. Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Amaretto d’Arco cleared the jump-off track in 42.56 seconds to place third. Up next, Katie Dinan and Grant Road Partners LLC’s Nougat du Vallet upped the ante with their time of 41.84 seconds to place second. They were immediately followed by an even faster clear round from Beezie Madden and Cortes “C” in the winning 41.50 seconds. Week four grand prix winners Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s Cella had the fastest time of the night in 40.46 seconds, but had one rail down in the short course to place fifth.
Spy Coast Farm owners Robert and Lisa Lourie were thrilled with the success of the evening and the great class along with a third-place finish for their horse and rider.
Madden’s winning mount for the evening, Cortes “C,” is an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding that Madden has now had for three years. Madden describes Cortes as a horse with fantastic ability.
This was the first big grand prix of the year for Cortes, and Madden was happy with his performance. In addition to the grand prix win, Madden was named the Leading Lady Jumper Rider, an award presented by Martha Jolicoeur of Illustrated Properties in memory of Dale Lawler.
Second-place finisher, 19-year-old Dinan, has grown up with Madden as a riding idol and was excited to finish in the top of the class with her.
Sweetnam was pleased to finish in the top three for Spy Coast Farm with their top stallion Amaretto d’Arco.
Also showing in the International Arena last Saturday, Jessica Springsteen and Stone Hill Farm’s Vindicat W won the $15,000 RCG Farm SJHOF High Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Lucas Porter and Mill’s Georgia, owned by John Roche, won in the Hollow Creek Farm Medium Junior Jumpers. Alvaro Tejada Arriola and Isabel Tejada’s Velinta Palo Blanco won in the Animo USA Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and Diederique Van Der Knaap and G&C Con Air won in the Griffis Residential High Junior Jumpers.
In other WEF action, Parkland and Lillie Keenan continued their domination of the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division during week six of the festival. The pair has taken home championship honors every week they have competed in the division, making this win their fourth tricolor victory. Keenan and Parkland, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jennifer Gates, were a force to be reckoned with throughout the two days of competition for the division. They placed third and first over fences on day one and won both over fences rounds day two before wrapping up the division with a fourth place on the flat.
Reserve champion was Romance, ridden and owned by Spencer Smith. Smith and Romance were sixth over fences on day one and placed second in both over fences rounds day two. The pair edged out Keenan and Parkland under saddle, placing third in the final class of the division.
Romance and Smith were also honored with the owner/rider championship title for the division. The award recognizes riders in junior divisions competing on their own horses and is tallied separately from overall division championship awards. Reserve owner/rider champions were MTM U Call It and Cloe Hymowitz.
Keenan, of New York City, and Parkland began their partnership during week one of WEF, when the pair first took home the tricolor prize. Since then, the two have proven that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck that earned them top honors. Keenan and Parkland will aim to continue their winning streak over the remaining weeks of WEF.
The Winter Equestrian Festival features 12 weeks of competition. More than $6 million in prize money will be awarded through the circuit.
For full results, visit www.showgroundslive.com. The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is located at 14440 Pierson Road, Wellington.
For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com or call (561) 793-5867.
Above: Beezie Madden and Cortes “C.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY SPORTFOT PHOTO