Wellington, FL — January 9, 2019 — Athletes at the first day of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off competition today in Wellington at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The festival is home to 12 consecutive weeks of elite hunter, jumper, and equitation competition and will run through March 31, 2019.
Jumping straight into exciting classes for both spectators and riders, the first week of WEF, sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center, features two highlight events. The enormously popular $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, also sponsored by Wellington Regional Medical Center, will return as the first class in the “Saturday Night Lights” series on January 12 at 7 pm. In the International Arena on Sunday, January 13, is the first grand prix of the season, the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix.
With only 12 entries, the first jumper class of the season was as efficient as the round performed by winner McLain Ward (USA). Repeating his victory from the opening day of WEF 2018, Ward piloted Tradition De La Roque to a flawless victory in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Open Jumper in 28.986 seconds in a power and speed format over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. The Kessler Show Stables Europe BV’s 12-year-old Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Karioa Grand Pre has been well-versed in international competition with previous rider Reed Kessler.
Second place went to Kaely Tomeu (USA) aboard the Sibony Ranch’s 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare Cassandra F, falling short of Ward by four seconds with a time of 32.755 seconds. Sarah Scheiring (USA) closed in only seconds apart from Tomeu to take third place with Cheval Equestrian LLC’s Dutch Warmblood gelding Dontez in 33.009 seconds.
The experience of both Ward and his mount was obvious as the team maintained their lead throughout the power-and-speed course and crossed the timers in a blazing 28.986 seconds.
“She’s an experienced horse of Reed Kessler’s, and since she went back to school, her horses are on the market,” he commented. “Until then I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to ride her.”
As for his first win of the 2019 season, Ward was pleased with their debut round. “This class is always a bit light because it’s the first morning, so if you have an experienced horse you don’t have to go too fast to win it. We were able to just have a nice, smooth round and start the circuit off well.”
Jumper classes in the International Ring will return Thursday and will feature the $35,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup. Hunter riders can look forward to the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’6” in the E.R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring. For full results please visit www.PBIEC.com.
Final Results: $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Open Jumper
1 1580 TRADITION DE LA ROQUE, MCLAIN WARD(USA): 0/28.986
2nd 705 CASSANDRA F, KAELY TOMEU(USA): 0/32.755
3rd 4904 DONTEZ SARAH, SCHEIRING(USA): 0/33.099
4th 1914 FERNANDO- H, JONATHAN MCCREA(USA):0/33.415
5th 1923 FANTASY BB JONATHAN MCCREA(USA)0/33.609
6th 4651 LIROY 30 TAYLOR LAND(USA):4/31.67
7th 2909 MARK Q KEVIN BABINGTON(IRL):4/32.791
8th 2052 WICKED JENN SEREK(CAN):4/33.753
9th 4716 EMILIA DAVID BLAKE(IRL):0/35.796
10th 1682 DONJO TIFFANY FOSTER(CAN):0/38.82
11th 3084 VAN GOGH WILHELM GENN(GER):4/36.557
12th 3373 ENERGY KELLI CRUCIOTTI(USA):RT