The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began its eleventh week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Wednesday with a win for Mexico's Nicolas Pizarro and Temascaltepec in the $34,000 1.45m FEI speed class. The pair was first to go and set an unbeatable pace that led the way through 60 competitors. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Beluga finished second; Heather Caristo-Williams (USA) and Cosmopolitan 30 placed third.
WEF 11, sponsored by Artisan Farms, runs March 18-22. The highlight event of the week is the $127,000 Engel & Völkers Grand Prix CSI 4* on Saturday, March 21. Other features include the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 11 on Thursday, the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship presented by Alessandro Albanese on Friday, and the $50,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Final, presented by The Dutta Corp. in association with Guido Klatte, as well as the $85,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. Both classes on Sunday will be held on the derby field at The Stadium at PBIEC. Saturday's grand prix along with Friday's equitation championship and Sunday's classes on the derby field will all be livestreamed at www.COTH.com.
Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany is the international course designer this week. Petersen saw 60 rounds in his 1.45m speed class with 11 clears, but no one could top Pizarro's time without fault. Pizarro guided Armando Torrado's Temascaltepec to an unbeatable clear round in 68.42 seconds to kick off the class. Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC's Beluga were second with their time of 70.33 seconds. Caristo-Williams and Holly Caristo's Cosmopolitan 30 had a time of 70.98 seconds to place third. Caitlin Ziegler (USA) and Artisan Farms LLC's Carlson 46 were fourth in 71.70 seconds.
Class winner, Temascaltepec, is an eight-year-old Mexican Sport Horse mare by Balou du Rovet x Bachus. The mare was bred by her owner in Mexico and named for the town she was born in. Pizarro has ridden the horse since she was four years old.
"The first jump she made was with me, so I know her really well," Pizarro detailed. "She is really special. She is a mare; she has a lot of character, but in the ring she is such a fighter."
Temascaltepec has had fantastic results throughout the WEF circuit and Pizarro was happy to see her progression and finally get a win. The mare started out placing second in the 1.35m and fourth in the 1.40m during week one. Then she was third in the 1.45 week two and sixth in the FEI 1.45m week three. In week five, the she placed fifth in the 1.40m speed challenge, and in week eight she placed sixth in the $5,000 CSIO Speed Stake.
"She is a young mare. She is only eight," Pizarro said. "I have been developing her since she was four. She is such a nice jumper. She is always in the ribbons, always trying and always jumping so nice. This is her first big win, so I am really happy with her. I took her to Ocala and she jumped the 1.50m and qualified my other horse for the grand prix there. Here in week eight, she did the WEF (Challenge Cup), and also qualified my other horse for the grand prix. I could not be happier with her."
Going first, Pizarro did not know how the class would unfold with many top horses and riders to follow, but he did his round and hoped for the best.
"I made my plan, and I really stuck to it," Pizarro stated. "I knew that hopefully, if we had a little luck, we would be there. At the beginning you never know how it is going to go. Some went really fast, but at the end we had luck and we could win the class."
"My plan was to go inside to number two, but then I also wanted to go inside to number three, but I could not do it. She jumped so big over number two, so then I had to go outside," Pizarro said of his round. "There I think I left one or two strides out to try to make up for the time. Then the triple bar I went just as neat as I could go, and the vertical the same. To both combinations I had to do one more stride because she has such a big stride that she jumps so big going in. The Rolex combination was my most difficult part of the class, so when she jumped that so nice, I knew we could be there. Then to the rollback to number ten I had a lot of luck. I had a big rub there. The rail bounced up and down, but it stayed there, so we could make it home."
With a great win as the winter circuit nears its end, Pizarro will finish out the final weeks and then give Temascaltepec a well-deserved rest. Then he looks to the future.
"I will just keep building her up. I think at the end she will be a fantastic mare," he smiled.
This season marks Pizarro's sixth year competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival, and he acknowledged the significance of being able to develop horses at every level throughout the circuit.
"It is great to have the twelve weeks to build up your young horses. You can do a lot of types of classes. They always change the jumps, so you get to jump a lot of different jumps and the horses get great experience. The footing is fantastic, and the organization is great. I have had a super season, and I am really happy," he concluded.
Also showing on Wednesday, the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class was held in a California Split with wins for Laura Chapot and Bradberry in Section A and McKayla Langmeier and Candy Tribble's Promised Land in Section B. The $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class concluded the day with a win for Alise Oken and Belmont.
1. TEMASCALTEPEC: 2007 Mexican Sport Horse mare by Balou du Rovet x Bachus
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Armando Torrado: 0/68.42
2. BELUGA: 2005 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cobra x Cortez
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/70.33
3. COSMOPOLITAN 30: 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Calido I x Ricardo
HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS (USA), Holly Caristo: 0/70.98
4. CARLSON 46: 2001 Rheinlander gelding by Casco x Sable Rose (Calvados)
CAITLIN ZIEGLER (USA), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/71.70
5. ARENA DU PACHIS E T: 2006 Belgian Sport Horse mare by Dollar de la Pierre x Ogano Sitte
ALEJANDRO KAROLYI (VEN), Nicolas Mignon: 0/72.60
6. GAZELLE: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parksy: 0/72.94
7. ARKOS DES ROSIERS Z: 2005 Zangersheide gelding by Air Jordan Z x Baloubet du Rouet
ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), ARK Partners LLC: 0/74.19
8. ESPRIT: 2004 BWP gelding by Querlybet Hero x Nabab de Reve
SLOANE COLES (USA), The Springledge Group: 0/74.62
9. ENJOY LOUIS: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Coriano x Kannan
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Axel Verlooy: 0/76.18
10. NLF BILLY ON SHOW: 2002 AES gelding by Cevin Z x Andiamo
EIRIN BRUHEIM (NOR), Nordic Lights Farm LLC: 0/78.92
11. CORAL REEF CARMEL Z: 2004 Zangersheide gelding by Cento x Burggraaf
ANN KNIGHT KARRASCH (USA), Coral Reef Ranch: 0/80.99
12. URUS 2: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Canturo x Cento
LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 1/83.35
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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