Wellington, FL - The competition was fierce today at Deeridge Farm as the Wellington Turf Tour got underway with a field of more than 50 competitors. Joe Fargis and Lariat took the win for the first class of the day, tripping the timers in 28.269 seconds. Linda Sheridan rode Invitational to the victory in the second 1.30m-1.35m Jumper class in a time of 32.144 seconds. Today also marked the third of a five-week YJC Jumper Championship series where Sarah Scheiring and Cairobi rode to the first place in the 7/8 Year Old YJC Qualifying Class and Ramiro Quintana and Diardo rode to the top finish for the 5/6 Year Old YJC Qualifying Class.
It came down to three riders today in the $2,000 1.30m-1.35 Jumper Red Class with only tenths of a second separating each competitor. Although six horse and rider combinations posted double clear efforts, Ramiro Quintana and Largo were the first to set the pace at 28.589 seconds. Jeffery Welles soon followed behind with Bilion, owned by Triton Ventures Farms, Inc., leaving out strides and shaving just enough to push ahead of Quintana for the lead. He posted a time of 28.557 seconds.
The final rider of the day, Olympian Joe Fargis had his eyes set on the win. He entered the field with 13-year-old Lariat. Together they have ridden to the top of the leader board at numerous events, and has proven a consistent winner in the show ring. After a year off due to an injury, the Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour was the perfect place to bring the talented mount.
They rode the first course with finesse, and moved into the jump off where Fargis knew he was up against an exemplary time. He made a turn from fences two and three of the jump off to stay a tick ahead of the pace, riding to the winning time of 28.269 seconds.
"He needs a confident ride-strong," Fargis described. "There is no plan because you don't see anyone else. You go as quickly as you can, and still stay safe. I surprised myself."
Fargis continued, "It is heaven. It is just wonderful to show here. The footing is good, the people are fun, and it's nice. I think it is what horse showing is about. I think it is real old time. I plan to be back on Friday."
Although Molly Ashe Cawley held the lead aboard Coq a Doodle until the end of the day, it was Linda Sheridan's efficient strategy that pushed them into the lead for the green course. Sheridan and Invitational rode to the top of the standings, posting a speedy jump off in 32.144 seconds.
Sheridan has owned the 18-year-old Invitational for 10 years, and knew how to ride him to the time needed.
Sheridan explained, "I really wanted to have a smooth first round. In the jump off he is always fast. I knew I wanted to take a nice turn to the last combination off of the right lead. I didn't want to take a shot there. I don't have to think about much."
"He has been part of the family, and he has really become a family member. He is a little tricky, but he is a good jumper," Sheridan described. "When he is on he is on. The biggest thing is making sure that he is in front of my leg. He has a fabulous gallop, and is really careful. I don't think he wants to do miraculous things anymore. We had a lot of fun out there."
Darrin Dlin and Tennyson, owned by Susan Grange, rode to the second place by a narrow margin of 32.292 seconds, with Ashe finishing in third for her early pace setting time of 33.010 seconds. Grange brought numerous entries today for the 1.30m-1.35m Jumpers, as well as the YJC Qualifying series.
"We had a great day today, and this gives the young horses an opportunity to get out on the grass while picking up a nice gallop and an open course. We are debating coming to these shows every week because they are so good for the horses," Grange said. "We want to take our horses where they have the best opportunity. I thought Eric Hasbrouck did a great design job today for the courses."
In the 7/8 Year Old YJC Qualifying Class Sarah Scheriring and Cairobi took the top honors. Their time of 32.840 seconds put them nearly two seconds ahead of the competitors. Quintana rode HH Cantino to the second place in a tidy 34.500 seconds, while also snatching third place with Bialda.
"I love showing here," Quintana said. "I brought my young jumpers to give them a different experience, different venue with good footing and different jumps. It really helps to break the routine of being at the Winter Equestrian Festival week in and week out. It is a nice option to have, especially since the classes are for qualifying points."
Quintana concluded, "I think that this series is gaining popularity. This week I see that there are more riders coming to show here, and I think that it is something I would definitely recommend to sponsors. You have people here to fill up this show in Wellington, and it reaches many different levels. This is a great option to have where exhibitors can show at both places. The open in gate is a great set up, and I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to show here."
This Friday, Deeridge will welcome exhibitors to the sixth of the 11-week Wellington Turf Tour filled with top-tier competitors, horses and nearly $200,000 in prize money. Get your entries in now for the $15,000 Ridge at Wellington Grand Prix by clicking here. This is a rare opportunity for jumper riders to compete on the beautiful turf with an Eric Hasbrouck designed course. The Friday Invitational Grand Prix also offers riders the opportunity to show on the same turf where the $24,750 Wellington Turf Tour Finale will take place on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Competitors will continue to ride for the important Leading Rider Bonus Points.
This Saturday will mark the first of two Classic Days to take place at the Ridge at Wellington. The Child/Adult Jumper division will run in the sand ring from 8 a.m. until noon, with a Masters Jumping Section. The Masters Jumper division, open to riders age 50 and over, will take place from noon until 4 p.m. and will include a Child/Adult Jumper Section. Classes will run as an open gate beginning and concluding at the times scheduled. The gate will be open, however times may be obtained by request. To request and confirm a specific start time for a horse/rider combination the show office many be contacted directly at (561) 791-1471.