Wellington, FL - Brazil's Luiz Francisco de Azevedo was the first winner of week six at the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), competing aboard Collin in the $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m speed class on Wednesday, February 15, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Week six features World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition in the International Arena at PBIEC on February 15-19, 2017. The week's CSI 3* jumper action will be held in the Global Arena and Derby Field at Equestrian Village (the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival show grounds, 13500 South Shore Blvd) at PBIEC.
Week six highlights include Thursday's $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Round 6 and Friday night's $130,000 Grand Prix CSI 3*. Saturday will feature the $10,000 Hollow Creek U25 Welcome, presented by EnTrust Capital, and the $35,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Classic on the derby field at Equestrian Village, as well as the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in the International Arena on the main WEF show grounds in the evening. Sunday highlights the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm U25 Grand Prix, presented by EnTrust Capital, and the $50,000 National Grand Prix on the derby field. This week's events can be viewed live HERE. The 12-week WEF circuit continues through April 2, 2017, awarding over $9 million in prize money.
Richard Jeffery (GBR) is the international course designer for week six jumper classes at Equestrian Village. Jeffery began with 39 entries in the 1.45m speed competition and had 12 clear rounds. De Azevedo and Collin, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Colandro x Amethist), clocked the winning time of 65.05 seconds.
Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC's Alsvid finished second in 65.40 seconds. Peter Leone (USA) and Lionshare Farm's Wayfarer placed third in 66.84 seconds. Margie Engle (USA) finished fourth in 67.82 seconds riding Elm Rock LLC's Böckmanns Lazio.
"It was a really nice class today. I am really happy with my horse," de Azevedo stated following his win. "I was 12th to go, and I knew that the course was good for me. My horse has a really big stride, and he is always going. Sometimes I lose a little bit of time in the turns, but then I can always do one less stride in the lines easily. I enjoy that quality that he has, and we had a good opportunity to win this class."
Collin's story did not begin like many horses competing at the international level. The horse was seven years old when de Azevedo found him and was on his way to being sold for slaughter. The horse's trajectory quickly changed, however, with one life-changing phone call.
"Two and a half years ago nobody wanted this horse," de Azevedo stated. "He was really wild and really difficult to ride. Then a friend of mine called me and said he found a horse that I might be able to jump. He was seven years old, but he had never done a show in his life. My friend told me the horse was a little bit different, but I said, 'Okay, let's see what he can do.'" De Azevedo was given a half share of the horse, and he took Collin to the horse's first competition two weeks later.
"He jumped the first day 1.30m clear, the second day 1.35m clear, and the third day 1.40m clear in the first show of his life!" de Azevedo recalled. "Now he is my second horse, and I am really lucky to have him. It is so unbelievable. We bought him for nothing. We tell that story, and people do not believe it."
De Azevedo thanks his friend for seeing Collin and believing in him, but the rider mostly gives credit to the horse. "It is him," de Azevedo said of Collin. "I just gave him a chance to arrive. The quality is in the horse."
Also competing in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village on Wednesday, the $6,000 Illustrated Properties 1.40m speed class was held, with a win for Peter Leone (USA) and Lionshare Farm's Capito Z.
The 2017 WEF continues on Thursday with the $35,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 6 in the Global Arena at Equestrian Village. The professional hunter divisions will award the first championships of WCHR week in the International Arena at PBIEC. For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m
1. COLLIN: 2007 KWPN gelding by Colandro x Amethist LUIZ FRANCISCO DE AZEVEDO (BRA), Luiz Francisco de Azevedo: 0/65.05
2. ALSVID: 2001 Hanoverian gelding by Escudo I x Azur RICHARD MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity, LLC: 0/65.40
3. WAYFARER: 2006 gelding by Languster PETER LEONE (USA), Lionshare Farm: 0/66.84
4. BÖCKMANNS LAZIO: 2000 Westphalian stallion by Lancer II x Cor de la Bryere MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Elm Rock LLC: 0/67.82
5. STRANGER 30: 2006 Hanoverian gelding by Stakkato x Cheenook ANDREW RAMSAY (USA), The Stranger Group: 0/68.21
6. NENUPHAR'JAC: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Cumano x Pidayack IGNACIO MAURIN (ARG), Stransky's Mission Farms Inc: 0/68.73
7. CHARMED 2: 2008 Hanoverian mare by Chacco-Blue x Plural MARKUS BEERBAUM (GER), Michaels & Beerbaum GmbH: 0/69.49
8. DAY DREAM: 2008 KWPN gelding by Zento x Heartbreaker JIMMY TORANO (USA), Jimmy and Danielle Torano & Isalou Inc: 0/70.79
9. COCQ A DOODLE: 2007 KWPN mare by Tolan R x Niagara ANDREW RAMSAY (USA), The Doodle Group: 0/73.37
10. MYSELF DE BREVE: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur MARIE HECART (FRA), Marie Hecart: 0/74.08
11. DOLINN: 2008 KWPN mare by Cardento x Lux SAYRE HAPPY (USA), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/75.85
12. ICON D'OR: 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Tinka's Boy x Querlybet Hero THEODORE BORIS (ISR), Theodore Boris: 0/79.65