Alex Granato and Mad Season Race to Victory in $10,000 Welcome Stake


Wayne, IL - The 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Show Series continued this morning at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, IL, with an exciting schedule for the jumpers in the Grand Prix Ring. Competition got underway with a $1,500 Open Jumper 1.30m, in which Thomas Cerra and Altius doubled up on their win from yesterday to earn the division's championship honors for week one.

The $1,000 Young Jumper divisions followed, with wins going to For Freedom and Tommy Feigel in the Five Year-Olds and Contino 46 and Erin Haas in the Six-Year-Olds. Amigo and Mariano Bedoya Guido won the day's class in the Seven/Eight Year-Olds Young Jumpers, and the morning's competition concluded with an exciting $10,000 Welcome Stake victory for Alex Granato and Mad Season.  

The Open Jumper Welcome Stake brings many of the country's top horses and riders out to Lamplight to vie for $10,000 in prize money as the highlight event of each Thursday afternoon during the three week Spring Spectacular Series. Today's class saw a total of 34 entries in the first round of competition with an appropriate week one course set by Puerto Rico's Hector Loyola. Of the original 34 entries, 14 horse and rider combinations went clear over the first round course, and riders were then given the option of a Table II, Sec. 2(A) format, where they were able to either jump off directly following their first round or wait until the end of the class. Ten of the riders chose option B to jump off right away, and the remaining four chose option A to jump off at the completion of the class. Just four were able to jump double clear, and all four of those riders opted to jump off immediately following their first round.

The first of the four riders to jump double clear was Wilhelm Genn, of Lebanon, OH, with his horse Copyright 3. Genn and Copyright 3 had a smooth first round and completed the short course with a solid time of 41.747 seconds, which would initially take the lead but finish in third place. Several rounds later Alex Granato, of Elizabeth, CO, entered the ring with his experienced mount Mad Season.  Granato flew around the course at a blazing speed, taking every inside turn, and confidently piloting Mad Season through the obstacles. The pair raced through the timers in 38.057 seconds, taking over the lead. Two more jumped clear through the short course and tried their best to beat that time.  Kathy Frame, of Oconomowoc, WI, made it through the course in 46.130 seconds to eventually earn fourth place honors with Spitfire W. Willie Tynan, of Battle Creek, MI, was closest to the mark with his time of 40.003 seconds riding Cartier Von Schuttershoff for Emily Skoggard, but the pair had to settle for second place. Although many others attempted to beat Alex Granato's time, many finished with four faults, and Granato and Mad Season held on to their lead through the remainder of the class to receive the first place prize.

Mad Season is a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood that Granato has owned for nine years. The pair has come up through the ranks together, starting out in the Junior Jumpers and then moving up into the open divisions. "It was a little up and down for a while," Granato recalled. "He was green and I was green, but by the time he was eight he was my solid open horse and we have been together since then doing the prixs."

"He has a fun personality and even though he is older he is always hot, always fresh, and ready to play, so he keeps you on your toes that way," Granato continued. "He surprises me every year; he does not seem to be winding down with age, so that is good. He is smart, so he tends to sometimes out think you and get a little too quick, but as long as you can keep yourself slow so that he stays slow, it seems to work out."

Granato commented on the day's class, stating, "It was a good course. I think it looked a little light when you walked it, but there were enough questions asked and it rode bigger than you thought in a few places. It was a nice course and a good way to start the week before the grand prix."

Having such a good partnership with Mad Season helped Granato in the jump off as he trusted his horse through the testing obstacles. "My plan was mostly just to be smooth and efficient on the inside turns since I went early," he noted. "I was confident in my horse; he is a great turner and always game for that, so I just wanted to keep him flowing forward and smooth. He rode well and responded really well today and I guess it paid off going early."

Granato is partners with trainer Terri Knowlton at Windcrest Farm and explained that he first began showing in Chicago when the Young Riders competitions were in Gurney, IL. "We mostly show here through the summers and it is a great facility and a great group of people to show with," he said. "We did not make it here last year, but other than that we have been pretty solid here for the Showplace shows. We show mostly here and in the Midwest and then down south for the winter."

Granato trains several juniors and amateurs that he will be helping through the rest of the week and then he plans to compete in the grand prix with Mad Season as well as his horse Gangsta, who he recently purchased from Alex Jayne. Continuing on, Granato has the same plan for next week as he prepares to start the week off riding his young horses and then continue bringing Mad Season and Gangsta along in the open classes.

Prior to the Welcome Stake, several other jumper divisions completed their first week of competition at the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular and awarded championship honors. The Open Jumper 1.30m awarded its championship tricolor to Thomas Cerra and Altius, who won both division classes while Alex Granato and his mount Sin City were presented with the reserve honors.  


The Young Jumper divisions also completed their two days of competition this morning, awarding championship honors to Tommy Feigel and For Freedom in the Five-Year-Old division, with Lisa Goldman and Rococo finishing in reserve.  Erin Haas and her mount Contino 46 won classes in the Six-Year-Old division on both days of competition, earning a championship tricolor for week one.  Zenith Dance and Theo Genn tied with El Dorado B and Kara Fergusson for the Six-Year- Old's reserve tricolor.

Finally, the Seven/Eight-Year-Old Young Jumpers completed their last class of the week with a win going to Amigo, owned by Coniston Farm LLC and ridden by Mariano Bedoya Guido. Megan Udelson rode Pourkoipa Fontaine to the second place honors for All Seasons Farm in Wellington, FL.

The 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular will run through June 25, featuring three full weeks of world-class competition in the hunters, jumpers, and equitation. Friday's competition will feature much more exciting jumper action in the Grand Prix Ring, including a $1,500 WIHS Children's Jumper Classic and a $1,500 WIHS Adult Jumper Classic. For more information on Showplace Productions and the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Show, please visit www.showplaceproductions.com.

Results $10,000 Open Welcome Stake
1  Mad Season  Alex Granato  0  0  38.057
2  Cartier Von Schuttershoff  WillieTynan  0  0  40.003
3  Copyright 3  Wilhelm Genn  0  0  41.288
4  Spitfire W  Kathy Frame  0  0   46.130
5  Sampras  Charlie Jayne  0  4  37.535
6  Cartusch 15  Laura Linback 0  4  38.685
7  YB Blue Nick Novak  0  4  39.533
8  Caribe  Steve Schaefer  0   4  41.747
9  Chinook Guy McElvain  0  4  42.277
10 Katie Riddle   John McConnell  0   4  44.186
11 Speedy Chicolina  Charlie Jayne  0  4  47.508
12 Any Given Sunday  Brandie Holloway  0  4  51.724

Photo Credit: Alex Granato and Mad Season won the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake at the 2010 Showplace Spring Spectacular I.  For Freedom and Tommy Feigel earned the Five-Year-Old Young Jumper championship.




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