Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111. (Photo © Sportfot).
The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hosted show jumping for all ages and nationalities in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Thursday. Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111 won the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 in a speed round over Kent Farrington (USA) and Blue Angel. Laura Kraut (USA) earned an incredible one-two-three finish in the morning’s 1.45m jump-off class, and the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Welcome classes saw victories for Alejandra Godoy (VEN), Santiago Orifici (ARG) and Spencer Smith (USA).
The Winter Equestrian Festival’s eighth week features CSIO 4* competition on February 25-March 1 at PBIEC. Upcoming highlights include the $10,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Speed Stake and $100,000 Nations Cup presented by Kingsland Equestrian on Friday; the $34,000 Nutrena 1.45m Jumper Classic, $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic and Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Nations Cup classes on Saturday, and the Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Grand Prix classes followed by the $150,000 Grand Prix CSIO 4* presented by Lugano Diamonds on Sunday.
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the speed track in the day’s feature $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8 with 62 starters and 11 clear rounds. Third in the ring, Kent Farrington and Robin Parsky’s Blue Angel set the leading time at 66.76 seconds, but were pushed to second place nine rounds later when Andres Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Fifty Fifty 111 crossed the timers fractions faster in 66.50 seconds. The pair’s time held on through the end to win it.
Eugenio Garza (MEX) and El Milagro’s Balloon placed third in 70.24 seconds. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Mark Q were fourth in 71.46 seconds.
For Rodriguez, the win with “Fifty” is the payoff of five years of work and dedication with the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Action-Breaker x Major de La Cour).
“She is a very special horse for me,” the rider acknowledged. “The part that I enjoy the most in the sport is developing young horses. I got her at the end of five years old from Eric Lamaze and now she is ten. I brought her up all of the divisions. Last year in the summer I won my first international grand prix with her, and it was a very exciting moment. When you work a horse and you bring it to that level and then you end up winning, it is very satisfying. To win in a venue like this in such a big competition and have second place be one of the fastest riders of the circuit with the fastest horse is very special. For her to win this class really means more than just the victory itself to me.”
“I did watch Kent go, and I knew it was going to be hard to beat,” Rodriguez detailed. “The only place that I thought I could be better was the last line. He did eight strides to the Rolex vertical, and I did the seven. That small difference I think was just there. I saw his round, and he was fast everywhere. The only place he left a little bit of a chance for someone to beat him was on the seven strides to the last.”
Rodriguez will jump Fifty Fifty 111 in the 1.45m speed class on Saturday and has his top horse Caballito ready to jump Friday’s Nations Cup and the grand prix on Sunday. He has big plans for Fifty this summer as she gears up for the challenging jumper derbies in Spruce Meadows.
“Luckily this year we have three horses going in the big circuit, so we can choose the classes better for the horses,” Rodriguez explained. “For her, I would really want to win the derby in Calgary; that would be my main goal and that is what I am going to train her for. Here she is going to do a couple more 1.50m classes and maybe some more WEF (Challenge Cups) and then I will prepare her for Calgary. I really want to train her to become a good derby horse.”
Also showing on Thursday, Laura Kraut (USA) dominated the competition in the morning’s $8,000 1.45m jump-off class. Sixty entries showed and only four were clear to advance to the jump-off. Kraut rode three of them, finishing first, second and third. Kraut’s winning ride was aboard Julius Peter Sinnack’s Deauville S. She placed second with the Evita Group’s Nouvelle, and took third place honors riding Stars and Stripes’ Andretti S.
The Hollow Creek Farm Children’s, Junior and Young Rider Welcome classes were also held in the afternoon. Spencer Smith (USA) and Wyndmont’s IV Ever won the $1,500 Young Rider Welcome. Santiago Orifici (ARG) and Eduardo Monaco’s Dolce Vita de Longines were the winners in the $1,000 Junior Welcome, and Alejandra Godoy (VEN) and Francis Clement’s Rhea de L’Ici topped the Children’s Welcome.
Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 8
1. FIFTY FIFTY 111: 2005 Belgian Warmblood mare by Action-Breaker x Major de La Cour
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/66.50
2. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/66.76
3. BALLOON: 2003 Oldenburg stallion by Balou du Rouet x Landcapitol
EUGENIO GARZA (MEX), El Milagro: 0/70.24
4. MARK Q: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Obos Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/71.46
5. FLECU: 2004 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/73.41
6. QUENELLE DU PY: 2004 Anglo Arab mare by Tresor du Renom AC x Ryon d’Anzex
OLIVIER ROBERT (FRA), Olivier Robert: 0/73.64
7. VENTURO 9: 2005 Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Canturo x Nabab de Reve
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/73.93
8. COMANCHE 28: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Coupe de Couer x Baloubet du Rouet
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/76.12
9. ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/77.43
10. VDL WIZARD: 2003 KWPN gelding by Gentleman x Ahorn
CALLAN SOLEM (USA), Horseshoe Trail Farm Florida LLC: 0/77.72
11. LILLI: 2004 Brandenburg mare by Lefevre x Diamir
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/78.81
12. LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Dezi x Grandeur
HARDIN TOWELL (USA), Jennifer Gates LLC: 4/65.60
Source: Winter Equestrian Festival