Kent Farrington and Gazelle scored the first CSI5* victory of the 2017 Winter Equestrian Festival on Saturday in the $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix.
Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 11, 2017 – U.S. Olympic team silver medalist, Kent Farrington, thrilled the crowd at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday night, winning the $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5* with a lightning fast clear round in the 11-horse jump-off. Riding Gazelle, owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, the pair rode to a double-clear effort in 44.48 seconds, one second faster than Brazil’s Luiz Francisco De Azevedo on his Dutch Warmblood stallion, Comic, who finished in 45.69 seconds. U.S. rider Catherine Tyree was third in 48.29 seconds riding Bokai, owned by Mary and Joe Tyree.
Kent Farrington, Luiz Francisco De Azevedo and Catherine Tyree stood atop the podium on Saturday night as the top three finishers of the $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5*.
“After walking the course, I thought a lot was going to depend on the time-allowed,” said Farrington of the first round course designed by Great Britain’s Bob Ellis. “I thought they ended up with a few more in the jump-off than they wanted, but it was still difficult enough to go clear.”
Out of the field of forty, only three negotiated double-clears. Tyree set the mark going clear with a careful pace that was planned in her first five-star on her Dutch warmblood gelding.
Catherine Tyree and Bokai
“With this horse this is my top grand prix finish,” said Tyree. “It is a relatively new partnership, I got him in July, so I really tried to just go in and have a smooth jump-off. To even be jumping in this class is absolutely amazing. It’s always been a dream of mine to jump Saturday nights. To be sitting in this company is something that I have really wanted and worked towards and to finally accomplish that has been an absolute amazing feat. The past year has been a little rough, but it ended up being a fairytale in the end. I couldn’t be happier.”
De Azevedo managed his double-clear at a slightly quicker pace and was still pleased with his runner-up finish.
“I’m very happy because for me it’s like a win to be second behind Kent Farrington; it’s like a victory,” said De Azevedo. “I’m also very happy with my horse because we bought him when he was just a 6-year-old and my goal was to be where we are now.”
Luiz Francisco De Azevedo and Comic
De Azevedo is hoping his second place finish will land him a spot on Brazil’s team in the upcoming Nations Cup at Wellington.
Four more combinations tried and failed to go clear in the jump-off, including Olympic and world champion, Jeroen Dubbeldam of the Netherlands. Then Farrington entered the International Arena and raced around the course. His plan was to play to his horse’s strength, while Olympic champion Eric Lamaze of Canada and Ireland’s Conor Swail had yet to go.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle
“I knew coming after me was Fine Lady and Eric Lamaze,” said Farrington. “They are an incredibly competitive combination. They are super fast against the clock, so my plan was to do what the limit was for my horse and put the pressure on him to have to really chase me to win. Luckily for me it worked out tonight.”
With the upcoming Longines FEI World CupTM Jumping Finals a little more than six weeks away, Farrington has a decision to make as to whether or not he will compete in Omaha.
“My horse Creedence is my best chance for the World Cup Finals, but he is still a very young horse,” said Farrington. “He is just 10 years old this year. I’d like to take him, but I really only want to go if I feel he is in top form and can be a contender. He’s my best bet to take. If he feels ready, I will go.”
Kent Farrington (middle), Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (left) and Catherine Tyree (right) celebrated with champagne showers after their top finishes on Saturday night.
Results: $380,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix CSI5*
1 1611 GAZELLE KENT FARRINGTON 0 81.91 0 44.484
2 279 COMIC LUIZ FRANCISCO DE AZEVEDO 0 83.85 0 45.696
3 824 BOKAI CATHERINE TYREE 0 80.88 0 48.293
4 2130 FINE LADY 5 ERIC LAMAZE 0 81.18 4 45.651
5 306 RUBENS LS LA SILLA CONOR SWAIL 0 82.89 4 46.742
6 2882 CODARCO CHLOE REID 0 83.12 4 47.96
7 5928 CASSIS 54 LUCY DAVIS 0 81.02 4 48.47
8 3031 ROYCE MARGIE ENGLE 0 81.57 4 48.486
9 4528 ROBIN DE PONTHUAL PETER LUTZ 0 80.81 4 49.068
10 4454 SFN ZENITH JEROEN DUBBELDAM 0 80.94 8 44.825
11 1046 GC CHOPINS BUSHI ALBERTO MICHAN 0 82.53 8 49.556
12 1086 TOULAGO ADRIENNE STERNLICHT 1 86.22
Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 – Fourth Place
Conor Swail and Rubens LS La Silla – Fifth Place
Chloe Reid and Codarco – Sixth Place
Lucy Davis and Cassis 54 – Seventh Place
Margie Engle and Royce – Eighth Place
Peter Lutz and Robin De Ponthual – Ninth Place
Jeroen Dubbeldam and SFN Zenith – Tenth Place
Alberto Michan and GC Chopins Bushi – Eleventh Place
Adrienne Sternlicht and Toulago – Twelfth Place