Wellington, FL - Olympic silver medalist Peter Leone (USA) returned to the winner's circle today in the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic at the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. He rode Select, owned by Lionshare Farms and Ger Poels Horses, to the win over Clementine Goutal (USA) on Kelline Fonroy and Alexander Hufenstuhl (GER) of Germany with Lacapo 4.
The ninth week of the FTI WEF was sponsored by CN and concluded today. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
In a class of 45 entries, there were eight clear trips over the Leopoldo Palacios designed course. "Leopoldo really hit it right on. The time allowed was tight, but not inappropriately tight. My focus was to keep my horse's concentration in place by the end of the course," Leone recalled.
Karina Johannpeter (BRA) was first in the class and had a quick time of 40.876 seconds, but a rail in the double combination left them in fourth place. Reed Kessler (USA) and Mika returned second and had 12 faults in the jump-off in 44.569 seconds. They finished seventh.
Hufenstuhl was next in on Lacapo 4, owned by Sabina Illbruck. They put down the first clear trip and took the lead in 43.876 seconds. They were followed by Angel Karolyi (VEN) and Ultimo, owned by Stransky's Mission Farm, who ended up with 12 faults in 46.195 seconds for eighth place.
The next rider to move into the lead was Clementine Goutal on Kelline Fonroy, owned by Cloverleaf Farm. They were quick through the rollbacks and turned on the speed in the gallop to the final oxer to stop the timers in 40.548 seconds, which would hold up for second place.
Ian Millar (CAN) on Kachina totaled eight faults in the jump-off in 57.962 seconds and placed sixth, while Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Adriano M also had eight faults but in the fastest time of the class in 38.437 seconds for fifth.
Leone and Select (left), a 10-year-old KWPN gelding by Damiro xx Voltaire, were efficient through the turns, and Select made an excellent effort in a hard turn back to the double combination. They galloped down the last line with the crowd whistling and yelling and finished in 39.614 seconds for the win.
Of his supportive spectators, Leone said with a smile, "I knew that they were friends. When the whistling was loud from two to three, I stayed within my plan. In the turn back to the double, my horse tried very hard and turned himself inside out there. That was a very hard turn. Down the last two fences, I heard the whistling again, and I complied with it!"
Leone has ridden Select for two weeks since he just got out of quarantine three weeks ago. Select was doing smaller international grand prix classes this past fall in Europe.
For his jump-off, Leone said, "Clementine and that mare are very fast. I knew if she put in her trip that I was going to have to be very fast. Since it's such a new relationship, my fifth class on him, I tried to go as fast as I could but stay within myself. His strengths are his big stride and that he wants to be careful. It feels like he likes me."
It was a great win for Leone, who represented the U.S. Equestrian Team for many years and rode in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games for the team silver medal.
"The part of the sport and business that I like most are riding and going clear on the big day when it counts. Of course, the big class was last night," he conceded. "I'm excited that this horse Select feels like he has that kind of ability. I hope that over the coming weeks and months to be equally competitive at a higher level. We'll go one step at a time. To win the 1.50m Classic here, I'm thrilled. It's very hard to win in Wellington, period."
Week nine of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has concluded. Week 10, sponsored by Equine Couture/Tuff Rider, runs from March 17-21 and features the inaugural Great Charity Challenge, which will raise at least $400,000 for 24 Palm Beach County-based charities. The Great Charity Challenge is on Saturday, March 20, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
Final Results: $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic
- 1. SELECT, PETER LEONE, LIONSHARE FARM & GER POELS HORSES: 0/4/39.614
- 2. KELLINE FONROY, CLEMENTINE GOUTAL, CLOVERLEAF FARM: 0/0/40.548
- 3. LACAPO 4, ALEXANDER HUFENSTUHL, SABINA ILLBRUCK: 0/0/43.876
- 4. SRF DRAGONFLY, KARINA JOHANPETER, HARA JOTER LTDA: 0/4/40.876
- 5. ADRIANO M, PATRICIO PASQUEL, PATRICIO PASQUEL: 0/8/38.437
- 6. KACHINA, IAN MILLAR, DEERIDGE FARM: 0/8/57.962
- 7. MIKA, REED KESSLER, REED KESSLER: 0/12/44.569
- 8. ULTIMO, ANGEL KAROLYI, STRANSKY'S MISSION FARM: 0/12/46.195
- 9. PENNY LANE, CARLOS LOPEZ, DANIELLA ZWINGY: 1/82.943
- 10. AZZARO, YANN CANDELE, SUSAN GRANGE: 2/83.813
- 11. CHIVAS Z, ASHLEE BOND, LITTLE VALLEY FARM: 4/76.544
- 12. JEANS GLOVE VARNEL, LESLIE HOWARD, LESLIE HOWARD: 4/76.900
The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are "AA" rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.
Photo Credits: All Photos © 2010 Randi Muster/Mustphoto, Inc., Official Sport Photographer of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.