The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) concluded its sixth week of competition, sponsored by Salamander Hotels & Resorts, with action on both sides of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday. On the beautiful grass field at The Stadium at PBIEC, 25-year-old Santiago Diaz of Colombia earned the biggest win of his career riding Tizimin LS in the $50,000 Equestrian Sotheby's Jumper Derby.
Richard Jeffery of Bournemouth, England, set the track for Sunday's jumper derby that featured 20 numbered obstacles, including the derby bank, table bank, open water, devil's dyke and more. The number of challenging natural obstacles along with the length of the course tested the stamina of all of the horses and riders competing, resulting in no clear rounds. Last to go, Santiago Diaz and Tizimin LS had one rail down, combined with a fast time in the faults converted format, to finish in 143.98 seconds for the win.
Nicholas Dello Joio and Nathalie de Gunzburg's Ganjana were faster, but incurred eight faults to bring their total time up to 144.92 seconds to finish in second. James North and Fair Play Farm's The Man to See had four faults added to his time to place third in 146.17 seconds.
Diaz has owned Tizimin LS, an eight-year-old La Silla gelding, for three years. Tizimin is by the stallion Tlaloc La Silla, out of the Polydor mare Sonora La Silla, the same dam as Daniel Bluman's Olympic mount Sancha LS. Living in Colombia, Diaz moved up the children's and junior ranks and is now a professional rider. Diaz showed at the FTI WEF for the first time in 2013 and made his second trip worthwhile on Sunday with the biggest payday of his career.
Diaz explained that although Tizimin is young and very green, he did a derby in Colombia last year, and he felt confident aiming the horse at this class. "I brought him here for the season to have a different experience for him," Diaz stated. "He is young for this, but I knew that he can do it well. He was really good, and I am so happy."
Diaz noted that his horse is very fit, and the only thing he did to prepare was practice some water jumps and hills last week. "He is really brave," the rider added. "When I walked the course, I didn't have any worries. My horse already did those kind of jumps, and I knew that he was fit for that."
Diaz stuck to his plan on course as the last to go, but he did have an enthusiastic Colombian cheering section and lots of encouragement as his round went on. "I heard people around the course whistling and saying go forward. In every corner there was somebody," he laughed.
For Nick Dello Joio, the opportunity to show Ganjana was great, and the rider was happy with his round. He was showing the 12-year-old Hanoverian mare for owner Laura de Gunzburg and started riding her a few weeks ago.
"She had come from a background of doing some derbies in Germany, so Laura said it would be fun for me to ride her in this derby," Dello Joio explained. "I don't know her that well, but luckily today it was a friendly course. Richard did a great job, and he made it really inviting. I think I got a little bit flat at the end, but I was thrilled with her. She was great. She jumped well, and she made my job a lot easier."
He continued, "This is a fun class. It is nice for all of these horses to come out here. You could go out and have a gallop around and have fun. I think a lot of people who watched it probably regretted not showing today, and I think next year there will be a lot more people in this class."
James North has done this class the last three years in a row with his 14-year-old Holsteiner stallion The Man to See and noted that the course was exactly the same as last year. "I had a little advantage with that," he acknowledged, "and I know my horse is super brave, but he is a little cold and slow, so that has always been my issue with him is to keep him fit enough for the course. The last two years I had the last jump down, so this year I was not going to have the last jump down! I was a little careful to that one, but he is a super horse."
"My plan was exactly the same as last year," North said. "These courses you don't worry too much about the rails, you just have to go fast. Mine is a little slow. He is a stallion, and he dwells up in the air, so I just know that I have to keep kicking."
"It was a good day to go jumping around out there," North added. "It is beautiful, the sun is shining. It was great."
Equestrian Sotheby's representative Tom Baldwin also had fun as a supporter of Sunday's class and was happy with the great result. "This is our first time sponsoring an event like this," Baldwin stated. "We were presented with the idea and we just thought it was so different and original and out of the box. We thought it was a great opportunity to come out here and be a part of a really unique athletic event. It is truly athletes out there, horse and rider at their best on a really beautiful day, so we were really happy to be a part of it."
Final Results: $50,000 Equestrian Sotheby's Jumper Derby
1. TIZIMIN LA SILLA: 2006 SLS gelding by Tlaloc La Silla x Polydor
SANTIAGO DIAZ (COL), Santiago Diaz: 143.98
2. GANJANA 2: 2002 Hanoverian mare by Grosso Z x Silvio I
NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Nathalie de Gunzburg: 144.92
3. THE MAN TO SEE: 2000 Holsteiner stallion by Carthago x Calypso I
JAMES NORTH (USA), Fair Play Farm: 146.17
4. ACE HIGH MIKE: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Randi x Clover Hill
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 148.47
5. RADIO CITY: 2001 Holsteiner mare by Liatos x Carthago
WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 150.25
6. WRIOMF: 2003 KWPN mare by Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Julius
CHRIS SORENSEN (CAN), Jolly Group: 157.26
7. WHISTLER: 2002 KWPN gelding by Pacific x Andiamo
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane F. Clark: 161.39
8. EVEREST DE MUZE: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Nabab de Reve
MAGGIE MCALARY (USA), Alexander LLC: 163.50
9. CANTUS D: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Carbonnieux Van De Helle x Catango Z
HILLARY SIMPSON (USA), Quiet Hill Farm: 180.85
LUCKY LORD 20: 2002 Bayerischer gelding by Lux Z x Lord Z
JENNIFER GODDARD (USA), Stateside Farm LLC: ELIM
WHISPER: 2003 KWPN gelding by Oklund
CASSANDRA HERMAN (USA), Declan Orpen: ELIM
GANGSTA: 2000 Hungarian Sporthorse gelding by Koppany x Merano 1
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Alex Granato: ELIM
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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