Edited Press Release
The Sarasota Winter Classic Week II kicked off a weekend of exciting international competition at the impressive TerraNova Equestrian Center. For the feature class, the $10,000 Welcome Stake, 11 horse-and-rider combinations contested Mauricio Garcia’s (PUR) track. Proving that their victory during Week I wasn’t just good luck, Rolling Acres Farm’s Marylisa Leffler dominated again aboard her longtime successful partner, ZaZa Z.
David Jennings’ and Madeira SCF entered under the archway first and became the trailblazer for a fault-free effort over the first track. Jennings piloted the 3h Sport Horses LLC’s mount (Diktator Van De Boslandhoeve x Lilli Marlen) over each obstacle with success and clocked in just under the time allowed of 80 seconds to advance to the jump-off round. The pair then picked up the pace and produced a follow-up flawless performance in 39.639 seconds to land the early lead.
Jennings (Ocala, Florida) seemed to have it in the bag as, one by one, each horse toed a rail. Most often, the culprit was the vertical element of the final vertical-to-oxer element. As a result, the field slid into placings below Jennings’ double-clear round. However, ZaZa Z lived up to her name and the Rolling Acres Farm-owned mare (Zandor Z x Cocaine Z) put in an enthusiastic effort.
“She was a little bit fresh today, so I was just trying to keep her together in the first round,” said the Maryland-based Leffler. “For the jump-off, I did eight strides up the first line where everyone else did seven strides, but I know she’s so quick everywhere else. Then, I just took a bit of a stab at it to the last jump.”
The win is one of a plethora that the duo has accumulated over the years, and while the mare is known for being quirky, Leffler says, “We just get along. I don’t try to interfere with her. I know when she goes in the ring, she’s going to be game.”
Leffler works alongside her sister Patty Foster and niece Ashley Foster-Worthington. She is constantly on the move between the hunter, jumper and equitation rings.
“I like it because it doesn’t give me enough time to think too much,” she added, “I also have my niece Ashley helping me and she took over one of the rides I had today, so I didn’t hold up the horse show.”
Craig Starr (Morriston, Florida) and his own Christian Dior (Vittorio X Mhilavsca F) rounded out the top three with only one downed rail in the class’s short course.
Final Results: Sarasota Winter Classic $10,000 WELCOME STAKEPLACING/NUMBER/HORSE/ RIDER/ OWNER/ TRAINER
1 581/ZAZA Z (ZANDOR Z x COCAINE Z)/Marylisa Leffler/Rolling Acres/0/74.445/0/39.075
2 801/MADEIRA SCF (DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE x LILLI MARLEN)/David Jennings 3h Sport Horses LLC/0/79.742/0/39.639
3 791/CHRISTIAN DIOR (VITTORIO x MHILAVSCA F)/Craig Starr / Craig Starr/0/78.664/4/39.978
4 779/ESH DIAMANTINO (QUAPRICE Z x SAPPHIRE) /Kylie Clarkson Marjory Berkache/0/78.040/4/47.253
5 /683/ ZECHARIAH 3:9 (ZIROCCO BLUE x KARINA) /Brooks Hull/ Derek Petersen/4/73.631/
6 721/ILIANO VAN D’ABELENDREEF (OGANO SITTE x BARONESS VAN D’ABELENDREEF)/Haley Gassel / Westwind Equine Training Center/4/73.739/
7 702/AL PACHINI (CHEERS CASSINI x LIRBINE) Shannon Hicks Helen Gilbert/4/74.097/
8 680/QUANTOS (EL DARODO)/Morgan Ashby Maddison Binford-Wiggins/4/74.484/
9 670/MASTER CLINTON DVE (CLINTON x DIONA V/D WEZELSE HEIHOEVE VM)/Allen Nabors Dutch Valley Sporthorses/4/75.723/
10 673/IBALIUS SMH (EVERGLADE VDL x RIBALIA H.B) Gemma Paternoster Sher Al Farm/4/76.246//
11 693/CHADA CHAPS x AMARENA B/Shannon Hicks Tracy Grandstrand /4/77.343/
For a complete list of results from the $10,000 Welcome Stake, please click here.
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