The 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) continued with its first week of competition on Friday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) with a win for New York’s Georgina Bloomberg and South Street in the $1,500 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship Qualifier and a championship win for Lansing and Jeanine Cash in the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 division.
Week one of FTI WEF runs January 9-13, sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club. The week will feature a full schedule of exciting hunter/jumper competition, including the $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes exhibition class as the start of the “Saturday Night Lights” series and fun events like the Jump for HomeSafe fundraiser. Highlights of week one include the $25,000 Suncast 1.50M Championship Jumper Classic on Saturday afternoon and the $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix on Sunday in the International Arena at PBIEC. The 2013 FTI WEF runs through March 31 featuring 12 weeks of world-class competition.
Eric Hasbrouck is the course designer in the International Arena this week and set the tracks for Friday’s jumper classes. In the $1,500 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Championship Qualifier, Georgina Bloomberg and South Street, owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC, earned victory in a class of 35 competitors. Out of those 35, ten entries went clear to jump-off, and Bloomberg and South Street had the fastest of eight double clear rounds in a time of 31.818 seconds.
Laura Chapot finished second aboard Mary Chapot’s Castellana with a jump-off time of 32.829 seconds. Marilyn Little and Raylyn Farms, Inc.’s Nightfire 25 were third in 33.224 seconds.
This was Bloomberg and South Street’s second win of the week after also topping one of the division’s classes on Thursday. South Street is a homebred mare that Bloomberg is proud to have raised and developed.
“She is actually our first homebred,” the rider stated after today’s win. “I rode her mother, Mila, in the Grand Prixs. She was actually my first grand prix horse and I did my first Nation’s Cup with her and everything. She had an injury a few years ago, so we decided to give her a little time off and let her have a baby and that baby was South Street.”
Nona Garson’s champion stallion, Languster, is South Street’s sire.
“It has been really fun to see not only my first baby grow up, but to also have her be so fun and good to ride,” Bloomberg smiled. “She is so careful and she is really brave. She reminds me a lot of her mother, so it is fun to bring things that I used to remember with Mila into South Street.”
“We actually named her Shrimp even before she was born and she came out like a nice sized pony,” Bloomberg laughed.
Commenting on her round in today’s jump-off, Bloomberg detailed, “I didn’t try to go too crazy. It is early in the circuit, so I didn’t want to run her off her feet, but she is really good at turning, so I wanted to make sure that I took advantage of that. I didn’t have to gallop across the ground, but was able to turn back and cut off time there.”
If South Street continues to do well, Bloomberg hopes to develop her further throughout the circuit. She noted, “This is obviously our first year doing the seven-year-olds and I have done a lot of speed classes with her, but really I think that she has more scope than it looks like, so we will probably do this for the first half of the circuit and then you never know, maybe step up a little bit.”
Bloomberg’s other plans for the season include bringing along her current string of horses. “I have lots of really nice young horses,” she stated. “I don’t really have a Saturday night horse for any of the big grand prixs, but I have a really nice chain of young horses. I took a year off and have kind of newer, younger ones now that I just need to work with and rebuild the chain, which I like doing. I like working with the young ones and aiming towards that, so it is a very busy circuit in some ways and a slow circuit for me for the big classes. It will take me a year or two to get back there, but I would rather do it this way and really gain a full relationship with these horses.”
Bloomberg is also looking forward to Saturday Night’s $55,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes, for which she will be the captain of the ladies’ team. The women have won the contest four years in a row and are hoping to keep that streak alive.
“I am really looking forward to Battle of the Sexes; that is my favorite class,” Bloomberg remarked. “It is a really fun class; I think it is really easy for the crowd to follow. Anybody can sit there and figure out what’s going on and who’s winning, so I think it is fun to have something different like that.”
“The men are going to try to win, but they never do,” she grinned.
Other highlight classes in the International Arena on Friday included the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off and speed classes. The jump-off class was won by Laura Kraut and Wish, owned by Stone Hill Farm. The speed class saw a win for Darragh Kenny aboard Cavallo Farms, LLC’s Gucci.
Source: Lauren Fischer and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media
Photo courtesy of Tori Repole for Noelle Floyd.com