Wellington, FL - February 16, 2011 - In an unusual class on the opening morning of week 6 at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, there was a tie for the win in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Laura Kraut, on The Freedom Group's Dona Evita, and Michael Tokaruk with Roger Rabbit, owned by Castle Point Farm LLC, both finished the speed class with no faults and in the same time of 63.121 seconds.
The FTI Winter Equestrian Festival's sixth week of competition continues through Sunday, February 20. Week six, sponsored by Fidelity Investments, will feature the $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 on Friday at 2 p.m. at The Stadium, the FTI Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments, on Saturday at 7 p.m., the Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Classic on Saturday afternoon, and the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby on Sunday at 3 p.m. at The Stadium. The 2011 WEF will continue through April 3 and award more than $6 million in prize money.
Today's $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumper class had 12 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Anthony D'Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, in the DeNemethy Ring. Four were able to stay clear over the course to finish at the top of the standings. With Kraut and Tokaruk tied for first, Marshall Field VI and Calypso VB finished third in 68.246 seconds. Ljubov Kochetova and Rolls were fourth in 75.974 seconds.
Tokaruk, who originally hails from Canada, now rides and works for Andre Dignelli and Heritage Farm. He has been riding Roger Rabbit, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Ramirado x Alasca, for three years. Tokaruk has been bringing the grey gelding along slowly, and they jumped in grand prix classes last year in Kentucky and Upperville, VA. "It's been a slow but very rewarding process with him," Tokaruk said.
The duo placed fifth in the 1.50m classic in week 1, and Tokaruk plans to compete in the $50,000 G&C Farm Palm Beach Jumping Derby on Sunday. "I was just using today's class to get in the ring and ready for the derby on Sunday," Tokaruk explained. "We'll give it a go. He's got a great range to his canter. He's very brave and he's usually quite good at the natural obstacles. We tried it last year, and he was a little bit green. I'm hoping another year of experience under his belt will serve him well."
Kraut and Dona Evita, an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco x Fleuri du Manoir, are a new combination in the show ring. Kraut saw the talented young mare last year in Dublin, where she competed in the 7 Year Old Jumper classes. Kraut's syndicate of owners purchased Dona Evita, who Kraut found through Emil Hendrix and Eric van der Vleuten. "I fell in love with her then and was lucky enough to get to buy her after Christmas," Kraut remembered. "I'm really enjoying her. She's so simple and pleasant and easy to ride. This morning is the first time I've kind of pressed her a little bit in the 1.45m, and she handled it great."
Although she is eight years old, Kraut is considering showing in the 1.50m classes next. "I also have to keep it in perspective that she's young," Kraut said. "She's really mature and really brave. It makes you want to go a little quicker than you would. You have to go at their own pace. I'll see how she is and maybe try one."
In last week's grand prix press conference, Kraut mentioned that she tied McLain Ward in a class years ago at the Washington International Horse Show, and oddly enough that same situation happened to her today.
"I hadn't thought about that in ages and then we talked about it (at the press conference)," Kraut laughed. "It doesn't happen very often. It's really amazing that you can do that long of a course in the same exact time as somebody else. Michael was happy and I was happy that we both won!"
Tokaruk noted, "I've never tied before, but I've read about it. Especially in a speed class, I thought that was really unusual."
He added with a laugh, "I was joking with Laura when we went in for the victory presentation that she won the World Cup last week, so couldn't she have pulled on the reins once to let me win? But really, it was great and to tie with Laura is fabulous company."
The sixth week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with hunters competing in the International Arena as they try to qualify for Friday night's WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Classic Spectacular. The Adequan Young Jumper Championship 7/8 Year Old class will run in the Mogavero Arena. The $31,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 will be on Friday, February 18, at 2 p.m. on the grass at The Stadium.
- 1 ROGER RABBIT MICHAEL TOKARUK CASTLE POINT FARM LLC: 0/63.121
- 1 DONA EVITA LAURA KRAUT THE FREEDOM GROUP: 063.121
- 3 CALYPSO VB MARSHALL FIELD VI HIDDEN BROOK FARM: 0/68.246
- 4 ROLLS LJUBOV KOCHETOVA LJUBOV KOCHETOVA: 0/75.974
- 5 MARK Q KEVIN BABINGTON KEVIN BABINGTON: 4/61.647
- 6 LANZAROTE HOLGER HETZEL HOLGER HETZEL: 4/62.876
- 7 RE LOUIS AMY MOMROW JACKIE PIRAQUIVE: 8/59.108
- 8 INTERTOY Z SCOTT BRASH SCOTT BRASH: 8/60.691
- 9 STAKKADOR LJUBOV KOCHETOVA LJUBOV KOCHETOVA: 9/76.588
- 10 ONLINE KATE BOMGAARS KATE BOMGAARS: 16/63.461
Photo Credit: Laura Kraut on Dona Evita and Michael Tokaruk with Roger Rabbit tied for the win in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers during week six at the 2011 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Michael Tokaruk and Laura Kraut on Dona Evita with ringmaster Cliff Haines and Luis Miguel Martinez of G&C Farm. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.