Beezie Madden and Mademoiselle
Calgary, CANADA – July 6, 2012 - - She may have been last in the order to go, but it was certainly worth the wait for New York’s Beezie Madden, who topped the leaderboards on Friday night at the Spruce Meadows North American tournament. Together with the Holstein mare, Mademoiselle, the American rider laid claim to the $50,000 Lafarge Cup Winning Round 1.50m.
Having already attempted the second round of the big track set by Michel Vaillancourt with the nine-year-old mare Amadora, Madden entered the International ring ready to play with Abigail Wexner’s Mademoiselle. The last pairing to tackle the shortened second round, the duo scored one of only two clean rides and chalked up the speediest time of 41.71 seconds.
The Olympian left the ring with a generous $16,500 in her pocket.
Held over two rounds, a winning round competition invites the top-eight contenders back into the ring for a jump-off. Any faults from the first round are left behind, leaving all eight competitors in equal standing for the second round. In this particular event, only eight of 10 clean first round trips would advance, changing the strategy of the class.
“You have to earn your way into the jump-off, even if you’re clear,” said the winner. “You had to be fast in the first round. It was nice for me – having two horses – because I knew I had one that was in the second round for sure. For my second horse, I could go in and try to have the fastest time so I could have the last spot in the jump-off.”
Her plan worked like a charm, as she and the 15-year-old mare galloped to the finish line almost three seconds ahead of the runner up. This is the pair’s second FEI win at the 2012 Spruce Meadows Summer Series, having claimed the RBC Capital Markets Cup during the National tournament.
“She’s an older horse, so we try to pick the right classes to put her in,” said Madden of her mount. “She’s had a great circuit here doing that and I think she’s come through it well. She’s done now, so this was a good way for her to end.”
Madden will be back in the International ring – this time aboard Simon – for Saturday’s $200,000 Atco Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup. And she said she’s feeling confident.
“When you’re having a good week, things seem easier,” she laughed. “When you’ve had a rough week, it’s a little harder to face the next day sometimes. This win makes it very easy to face tomorrow.”
Madden also claimed third place in this event for her performance aboard Amadora. Second to go into the jump-off round, the pair pulled an unfortunate rail, finishing the class with four faults and a time of 41.83 seconds.
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam was the only other rider to achieve two clean rounds over the evening’s tough 1.50m track. Riding the Belgian warmblood stallion, Diktator van de Boslandhoeve, the Wellington-based rider was the first to tackle the second round and finished with a conservative time of 44.10 seconds.
“I’m surprised I finished so high, because I wasn’t that fast,” Sweetnam said with a smile. “But everyone seemed to be going faster and knocking jumps. It worked out well.”
He may have left the door open for Madden, but Sweetnam seemed like he couldn’t be happier with the up-and-coming stallion, who is owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC.
“This is the best this horse has ever jumped,” commented the Irishman. “He’s only nine, and he’s still getting used to this level. He jumped both rounds comfortably and felt great.”
Unsure of who he’ll be riding in Saturday’s Queen’s Cup, Sweetnam said he will be back in the International ring with Diktator van de Boslandhoeve for Sunday’s $140,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby. He’ll be attempting to defend his title, having won in the event last year aboard Traffic Boy.
Ranking fourth in the Friday evening class was Kent Farrington with Amalaya Investments’ Dutch warmblood gelding Voyeur. The duo posted a speedy jump-off time of 42.61, but a fallen rail kept the pair out of the top three. Fifth place went to Brewster, NY’s Mclain Ward, who posted an eight-fault jump-off ride aboard Louisburg Farm’s Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve.
Farrington continued his assault on the 2012 Summer Series earlier Friday evening, this time by scoring the top prize in the $32,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m with Raylyn Farms’ Venus.
After posting a clear first ride across the tricky course, set by Canada’s Vaillancourt, the Wellington-based rider was one of 12 competitors invited back into the International ring to tackle the winding jump-off round. The quick mare looked to be in her element, chalking up another clear trip in a speedy time of 36.58 seconds.
“What do I like about Venus?” the rider gushed. “She’s fast, careful and brave. You name it, she’s doing it.”
Farrington and the Dutch warmblood mare also took home top prize in the Canada One tournament’s $32,000 Cargill Cup. In addition, the rider has won two FEI events with Uceko and three aboard Voyeur thus far in the five-week Summer Series. That’s seven wins – but who’s counting?
Despite these successes, Farrington was not one of the riders chosen to represent the U.S. at the upcoming Olympic Games in London. Although disappointed, he said he’s refocusing and aiming to become “one of the best riders in the world.” Having recently jumped from 34th to 18th on the latest FEI Rolex Rankings, it seems the American rider is well on his way to achieving this goal.
“All you can do is keep at your best,” he commented. “I stay positive and focus on the things I can control, which is constantly improving my riding and team of horses.
“I want to use this as a stepping stone, not a stumbling block, and keep moving forward.”
Ranking second was Canadian team member and reigning Olympic champion Eric Lamaze. Riding the striking stallion Wang Chung M2S, Lamaze posted the second of four double clear rides in the event. The duo achieved a jump-off time of 38.77 seconds.
Third place went to Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, who also racked up two clean rounds for his efforts in the evening event. He finished the jump-off in 39.52 seconds aboard his warmblood gelding Lordan. Fourth place went to Washington’s Lauren Crooks, who posted the last of the double clear rides with Dancer. The pair galloped to the finish in a relatively pokey 44.36 seconds. Andres Rodriguez ranked fifth for his four-fault jump-off ride aboard Caballito.
Never one to be left off the podium, Reed Kessler and Onisha were awarded the Pfizer Horse Health Championship, which was awarded to the horse and rider duo who accumulated the most points in the 1.45m division over the course of the Summer Series.
All in all, it was another great day at Spruce Meadows for the Americans.
The North American tournament continues Saturday afternoon with the running of the $200,000 Atco Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup – the third leg of the CN Precision Series. Having each already claimed a title in the first two legs of the series; a bonus of $50,000 is on the line for both Farrington (Uceko) and Rich Fellers (Flexible).
Beezie Madden with Mademoiselle
Kent Farrington and Venus
Beezie Lafarge Presentation
Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D
John Perez and Utopia
Alec Lawler and Glen Devon
Ben Asselin and Rush
Mac Cone with Amor Van de Rostal
Lauren Crooks and Dancer
Andres Rodriguez with Caballito
Yann Candele and Game Ready
Mario Deslauriers and Ardeche Van de Zelm
Mario Deslauriers and Whistler
Reed Kessler and Cylana
Mclain Ward and Zander
PHOTOS BY: Holly Burns - Holly Burns Media