Wellington, FL - February 20, 2011 - Two-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden scored her second win this week at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby. She and Prima, owned by Neapolitan Holding Co., LLC, were the fastest over a challenging derby course on the grass field at The Stadium.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's sixth week concluded today and was sponsored by Fidelity Investments. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
There were 22 entries in today's derby, and the course was designed by Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England. It featured a step bank, open water, liverpools, Devil's Dyke, and a triple option jump through a "maze" of hedges. The format was Table C, where rails down were converted into added seconds for a final time.
Madden and Prima, a 12-year-old KWPN mare by Kigali x Nimmerdor, went ninth in the order and were lightning fast through most of the course. With a huge, open stride, Madden barely pulled on the reins and made the trip look smooth and easy. They had no faults for a final time of 122.81 seconds for the win.
They were chasing an early leading time of 128.49 seconds set by Great Britain's Ben Maher on Oscar, owned by Lindsay Cook. They would eventually finish in second place. Pablo Barrios (VEN) and G&C Sinatra, owned by Barrios and Gustavo Mirabal, were third in 129.64 seconds.
If he had left the rails up, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) would have tied with Madden for the win. He and Belle Bleu S, owned by Jerry & Maria Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm had the same time of 122.81 seconds, but with eight faults converted, they finished with a final time of 130.81 for fourth place. Mario Deslauriers (USA) placed fifth and sixth with Vicomte D (132.59 seconds) and Whistler (132.93 seconds), both owned by Jane F. Clark.
Barrios and G&C Sinatra, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Epilot x Libero H, won the $175,000 Nexen Cup Derby at Spruce Meadows last year and he was very pleased with his third place finish today. "Sinatra loves this type of class with natural obstacles. He's not the fastest horse in the world, but I did some pretty tight turns," Barrios said.
Barrios' sponsors, G&C Farm, were the title sponsor of the derby. He said, "I'm very happy that they sponsored this class and happy that I placed in the top three!"
This was Oscar's first ever derby class, so Maher was pleasantly surprised at his great result. "He's one of those horses who kind of does everything," he said with a smile. Oscar is a 15-year-old KWPN gelding by Harcos x Animo.
Maher added, "There was no chance to beat Beezie. I don't care if there was every rider from Europe or anywhere, I don't think anyone was going to beat her. It's nice going home knowing you did the best you could even if you didn't win."
Madden and Prima have plenty of experience together in speed and derby classes; Prima placed fifth in last year's derby at the FTI WEF. "She's been a really good speed horse for me all over the world, at Spruce Meadows and at Dublin (where) she was the champion of the speed division," Madden described. "She was kind of an obvious pick for me for this class. She's fast, she's careful, she does all of the natural jumps that she knows really well now. It's a lot of fun to do these classes when it goes well like that!"
Madden won her first big class two days ago in the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6. She said of her win, "I hadn't won one all circuit, and now I've won two! It's great."
Final Results: $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby
- 1 PRIMA: 1999 KWPN mare by Kigali x Nimmerdor BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Neapolitan Holdings Co., LLC: 122.81
- 2 OSCAR: KWPN gelding by Harcos x Animo BEN MAHER (GBR), Lindsay Cook: 128.49
- 3 G&C SINATRA: 1999 KWPN gelding by Epilot x Libero H PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), G&C Farm: 129.64
- 4 76 BELLE BLEU S: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Baldini x Silvester SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Jerry & Maria Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm: 130.81
- 5 VICOMTE D: 1998 BWP gelding by Flamenco Desemilly x Randell Z MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark: 132.59
- 6 WHISTLER: 2002 KWPN gelding by Pacific x Andiamo MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), Jane F. Clark:132.93
- 7 UNICA VAN DE ROSHOEVE: 1997 Belgian Warmblood mare by Quickfeuer van Koekshof x Guildford Aes Comm Decision ANGELA OVERT-LAWENCE (CAN), Eastwood Group: 137.73
- 8 LENNOX LEWIS 2: 1999 Oldenburg gelding by Laureatus x Weizenkorn LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Peter and Leslie Howard: 139.62
- 9 RADIO CITY: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Liatos x Carthago GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes: 142.45
- 10 THE MAN TO SEE: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Carthago x Calypso I JAMES NORTH (USA), Fair Play Farm: 143.70
- 11 CADETT 7: 1997 Holsteiner gelding by Cor de la Bryere x Capitol I ASHLEE BOND (USA), Little Valley Farm: 151.37
- 12 ROGER RABBIT: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Ramirado x Alasca MICHAEL TOKARUK (USA), Castle Point Farm LLC: 151.97
Photo Credit: Beezie Madden and Prima won the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby at week 6 of the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.