Wellington, FL - Pablo Barrios of Wellington, FL, and Antares rose to the top of the $25,000 Fall Finale Grand Prix presented by Pilates Rocks at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).
The duo dashed through the jump-off timers in 46.833 seconds to take the victory, while Ansgar Holtgers of Wellington, FL, and Way of Life H captured second place completing the jump-off time of 51.2237 seconds. Darragh Kerins of Wellington, FL, guided Rebeca LS to third with a time of 55.84 seconds.
Barrios and his longtime mount Antares bested a class of 28 entries in the International Ring at PBIEC, while five combinations moved forward to contest the short course designed by David Burton of Loxahatchee, FL. Barrios guided Antares to an incredibly efficient jump-off round, finishing nearly five seconds faster than Holtgers.
"In the first round the course was very fair. It was good enough and difficult enough for the field that we had," said Barrios. "I have a horse with a lot of experience, but he needed to jump a little bit."
Barrios and Antares represented the nation of Venezuela at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier this summer and this is one of the pair's first competitions back in preparation for a strong winter season campaign.
"Antares is a fast horse so I let him gallop and he covered a lot of ground. He's a big horse with a very big step," he explained. "The jumps were very spread out and he can look slow, but he is very fast, especially in the jump-off if it suits him and this one was on those occasions."
Basing in Wellington, FL, for the remainder of the winter circuit, Barrios is creating a strategic plan for what he hopes will be an educational but successful season.
"We will stay in Wellington, my home base for the remainder of the winter," commented Barrios. "I have to pick the right classes for Antares because WEF is very competitive and hosts a lot of horses of quality. The one thing Antares and I don't need is experience together, so I will only show when I feel I can be competitive."
This is the second grand prix win for Barrios at PBIEC during the 2016 ESP Fall Series and the first set of competitions back in the International Ring at PBIEC following the installation of new footing.
"The footing is different, we have more cushion and it is softer but it is firm enough for the horses to take off. The warm-up ring is a great improvement. It felt good in the turns and overall is just is great footing," he added.
For more information on the 2016 ESP Fall Series and to see a full list of results, please visit www.pbiec.com.
To view results for the $25,000 Fall Finale Grand Prix presented by Pilates Rocks click here.