Wellington, FL - The first day of the Winter Equestrian Festival got underway on Wednesday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45 Jumper speed class. Held in the International Arena, Olympic gold medalist Peter Wylde (USA) kicked off the season with a win on the Beechwood Stables, LLC-owned Shakira Z.
Besting a field of 19 starters with five clear rounds, Wylde took home the victory by a close margin over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA). He and the nine-year-old Zangersheide mare by Sandro Boy x Cruyff finished clear in 68.12 seconds, with Richie Moloney (IRL) and Boriena H close behind in 68.288 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Global Van T Braunerthof, who finished in third with a clear round in 68.519 seconds.
Following his win, Wylde spoke about his enthusiasm for the season and his growing partnership with the newly acquired mare. "I'm particularly excited. It's a relatively new horse for me," Wylde stated. "I've ridden her in some 1.45 classes before, but this was the first time that I thought I'm going to try to be competitive."
The winning horse, Shakira Z, was purchased this past summer by Wylde's client Beechwood Stables, LLC. Speaking of his excitement about the partnership, Wylde explained, "I have high hopes for her for the future." Though he did not expect to win today he added that "it was a nice, comfortable win. She rides beautifully, she turns beautifully, and she's really correct in everything that she does."
Wylde, who is based in Millbrook, NY, and Wellington, FL, looks forward to another successful season during the 12-week circuit in Wellington. "I feel like we are all getting back into the groove and everybody is really happy to be here," he affirmed. "The place looks great. There have been a lot of improvements even since last year. I really enjoy coming back here."
He added, "It's really fun to compete in this ring, and the crowd that's here now is really an incredibly international crowd. It's impressive to see this and to see what goes on here because it continues to grow and to get better. It's exciting to be a part of it. I have a really great group of owners and horses now." Wylde also thanked his longtime sponsors, Dover Saddlery, who he has partnered with for 26 years, and Cavalor who he has been with for almost 15 years. "It's nice to have continued support from such great sponsors," he remarked.
In the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m Jumpers Section A, Keean White of Canada rode Carrera van het Westleven Z to victory over Molly Ashe (USA) on Vernal. Andrew Kocher (USA) and Prof de la Roque took the Section B win while Peter Wylde rode Royal Flush to second place. Laura Chapot (USA) swept the jump-off format class of the Illustrated Properties 1.40m Jumpers taking first place on Quointreau un Prince, second with ISHD Dual Star, and third on Thornhill Kate.
The 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival continues tomorrow with the opening round of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, and the first hunter championships of the season will be awarded. For more information and full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m II.1
1. Shakira Z, Peter Wylde (USA), Beechwood Stables, LLC 0/68.12
2. Boriena H, Richie Moloney (IRL), Equinimity, LLC 0/68.288
3. Global Van T Braunerthod, Mario Deslauriers (USA), Karen Polle 0/68.519
4. Cantero Da Lagoa, Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm 0/69.773
5. Zalandra, Schuyler Riley (USA), Angela Covert 0/69.898
6. AD Cornetto K, Doda De Miranda (BRA), A.A. De Miranda Neto 1/71.998
7. Andretti S, Laura Kraut (USA), Stars and Stripes 2/72.217
8. Constable, Laura Kraut (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm 4/74.224
9. Nektarina B, Christine McCrea (USA), Candy Tribble 4/74.283
10. Choose Me, Eduardo Salas (MEX), Kimmee Gottwald 7/77.2
11. Street Legal, Leslie Howard (USA), Annie Phillips 4/66.097
12. Aimee, Peter Wylde (USA), Aram Ampagoumian, LLC 4/66.233