Wellington, FL - January 20, 2012 - Forty-one of the nation's top young riders showed in the USEF/Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search in Wellington this morning with a win for Lillie Keenan aboard Chansonette Farm LLC's Monterrey. Riders showed over a course set by Danny Moore, of Spring Hill, FL, and the top twelve were invited to return under saddle.
The second week of the FTI WEF runs through Sunday, January 22, and is sponsored by Wellington Equestrian Realty. The 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 1, 2012, and they will be awarding more than $6 million in prize money through the circuit. The highlight jumper class in week two is the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2* on Saturday, January 21, at 7 p.m.
Following Keenan in the prizes, Kristen Lutz rode Roseberry, owned by Heritage Farm Inc., to second place. Schaefer Raposa and Heritage Farm's Zendor Z finished third. Catherine Tyree placed fourth aboard Missy Clark and North Run's Co Co Pop. Abby Bertelson and her own Eclypso finished fifth, and Alexandria Desiderio rounded out the top six aboard Heritage Farm's Gentle R.
Monterrey is an eleven-year-old KWPN gelding by Calvados. The gelding, previously named Uriam, was owned and ridden by Michael Murphy last year. He led Murphy to a second place finish in the 2011 USEF/Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search Finals this fall and was named best horse of the competition. Keenan was very impressed with the horse and purchased him just two weeks ago. Her father came up with the name Monterrey, drawing from the gelding's Mexican origin.
"I started with him last week and we were second in the Talent Search and won the Maclay, so the little that I have shown him has been very successful," Keenan stated. "He is a new ride for me, but he has been great. He is not fazed by anything; he doesn't care about the water. He is perfect; you can do him in the Maclay, you can do him in the Washington hunter phase, you can do him in the Talent Search. He is good about it all; he is brave and he is a lot of fun."
Commenting on her round over fences today, Keenan acknowledged, "I thought it was good. There were places I could have ridden it a little bit better, but he did his job. I probably could have helped him a few places, like the water, but he was a good boy."
Keenan was one of the top riders in last year's USEF/Platinum Performance Show Jumping Talent Search Finals, but was disappointed not to make it into the final four. She hopes to return to the Finals this year with a more familiar horse. Keenan explained, "Last year we took a chance with a horse that I did not know very well and the horse had not been to finals for two years, so stuff happens. I couldn't really control it, but at least I still have some more years. Hopefully I can go back. I am really lucky to have this horse and I think that he can definitely do it. Obviously he did really well last year with Michael, so I think he is a great horse for a class like that."
Week two of the 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the conclusion of the Elite Equine Shavings Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results please visit www.showgroundslive.com.
Laura Chapot and Valentia Take Top Prize in World Development Group 1.35m Jumpers
Laura Chapot and Valentia, a 2002 KWPN mare by Calvino Z, were last year's FTI WEF Circuit Champions in the 1.35m division. They have continued their success this year and have already posted three wins in the division after today.
"She's had a great start to the circuit. I'm really happy. She's jumping great," Chapot said. "I'm so pleased that she's starting out so well after a long break and coming out of the cold north. To come down here and be really competitive in the first two weeks is very exciting." Chapot said that Valentia is "a lot of fun in the ring." She explained, "She can be a little bit difficutl in the schooling area. She is nervous about other horses and gets a little jittery, but once you get her through the in-gate, she really focuses on her job. Once you get in the ring, she really likes to take charge and go fast."
Having come up through the ranks of the Young Jumper classes, Valentia has found her stride in the 1.35m division. "The 1.35m is a great base for her. If she doesn't move up here, there are a lot of places over the summer where she can make a stride forward," Chapot noted.
For today's class, Chapot liked the course that was set by Michel Ismalun. "I thought it was a good course. There were a couple options, (with) striding and with the turns. It allowed a lot of opportunity for people to do what they needed to do with their horse. They could make cuts to make the win," she remarked. "It wasn't a class where there were so many clear and you had to be absolutely perfect all the way around."
Although she didn't have to be perfect for the win, Chapot did feel that Valentia was near that standard in today's class. "It was one of the best rounds that horse has ever had. She really hit the mark on everything I asked her to do. Even though there weren't a lot clear, she was as good as she can go. It was a great feeling," she expressed.
The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with a full schedule of hunter and jumper competition. The highlight class of the week, the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix, CSI 2*, will start at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Final Results: $2,500 World Development Group 1.35m Jumpers
1 VALENTIA, LAURA CHAPOT, MARY CHAPOT: 0/62.738
2 GAMA CHAMACO, DARRAGH KENNY, KERRY ANNE LLC: 0/65.672
3 CAZINO, RODRIGO PESSOA, RODRIGO PESSOA/PAM BUIE: 0/65.760
4 LARIAT, JOE FARGIS, SANDRON: 0/69.150
5 VOLUMIA, CHRISTINA SERIO, DERBYDOWN INC: 0/71.080
6 DRAGONFLY, ALEXA LOWE-WISEMAN, ALEXA LOWE-WISEMAN: 0/74.566
7 RSVP, ILAN FERDER, EQUINE TRADING COMPANY: 2/79.261
8 VENUS, MARILYN LITTLE-MEREDITH, RAYLYN FARMS INC: 3/80.754
9 LIVERPOOL, JIMMY TORANO, TORANO & LAURENZO: 4/66.045
10 DACHA DE TOULON, FILIP DE WANDEL, SOPHIE LAFORCE: 4/67.562
11 VALENTINO, HARRISON SHURE, HARRISON SHURE: 4/70.588
12 PRINCE DU BONNEVILLE, VICTOR AMAYA, GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES: 4/72.999
Photo Credit: Lillie Keenan and Monterrey, Laura Chapot and Valentia at the 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. Photo © Sportfot, Official Sport Photographer of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, www.sportfot.com.