West Palm Beach, Florida – Hundreds of competitors emerged on the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center for the first of three shows in the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge series. When the dust settled, Lars Petersen, Shawna Harding and Amy Stuhr were left with a chance for a piece of the $15,000 prize money in the Challenge of Champions. In order to win a piece of that money, Petersen must win the Grand Prix classes at both of the next two shows in the series and Harding and Stuhr must win a Prix St. Georges class at both shows.
Petersen, who rides for Denmark, and Succes were winners of Saturday’s Grand Prix Open GAIG/USDF Qualifying class with a score of 73.542 percent. Behind them in second place were Lisa Wilcox and Naomi with a score of 71.875 percent. Wilcox and Naomi were also winners of Sunday’s FEI Grand Prix Special Open with a score of 67.80 percent. As only the Grand Prix class qualifies for the series championship, Petersen is now in the running for the $10,000 Grand Prix prize.
“I would like to say a special congratulations to Lars Petersen for winning the first leg of the Wellington Classic Challenge of Champions Grand Prix and advancing to the next round of the Challenge,” said John Flanagan, sponsorship coordinator for Wellington Classic Dressage. “Lars commented to me that he loves the improvements that our show management team in conjunction with Jim Brandon Equestrian Center staff has made to the footing and claimed, ‘This is the finest competition footing I have ridden on in North America.’ As far as his credentials, I believe he has an excellent chance of winning the $10,000.00. He's part of a great team and look at all that he's accomplished. Good luck Lars!
Harding and Come On III won part 1 of Saturday’s FEI Prix St. Georges GAIG/USDF Qualifying competition with a score of 73.750 percent. The huge Prix St. Georges field of more than 30 competitors caused the class to be divided in two. The second part was won by Amy Stuhr and Dinar with a score of 70.750 percent. If Harding or Stuhr can win a Prix St. Georges competition in the next two shows of the Wellington Classic, they could earn the $5,000 Prix St. Georges prize.
Next two shows in the series are the Wellington Classic Spring Challenge on Feb. 16-17 and the Wellington Classic Dressage Challenge II on March 8-9. Also part of the 2008 championships are the Markel/Wellington Classic Dressage 2008 Winter Amateur Championship, awarded to amateur competitors with the highest average in their level throughout the series, and the 2008 Amateur Championship Trainer’s Award, sponsored by ThinLine and given to the trainer who has the most competitors in the top three standings of all levels.