By Kenneth J. Braddick. Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 26.
Beezie Madden on Coral Reef Via Volo and Christine McCrea on Romantovich Take One filled the top two individual places after the first round of jumping at the Pan American Games Wednesday to lead the United States to the top of the team ranking with Mexico in second place and Brazil third. Mexico, before a jubilant home crowd at the Guadalajara Country Club, filled the 3rd through 5th places while Brazil was in third place lined up in 8th, 9th, and 10th places in the opening speed class.
Daniel Michan on Ragna T led the Mexican move to second place in the standings before Thursday’s two-round final that will decide the Nations Cup and determine which countries will earn a ticket to the Olympics in London next year.
Three teams will win a berth from this competition. Brazil and Canada qualified at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Confusion over team rankings led to the U.S. first being declared atop the standings, then it was changed to Mexico and finally back to the U.S. Determining the final results of Wednesday’s class was not the only problem.
More serious was the footing, consisting primarily of sand and wood chips. The arena is watered by hand using garden hoses. The footing was praised during dressage competition held a week ago.
However, during this first jumping competition several horses slipped on sharp turns, among them Canada’s Eric Lamaze on Coriana van Klapscheut who was third last in the 55 starters and set a blazing start in an effort to move up his team. However, he made a sharp turn between jumps and the horse slipped badly. Although the pair cleared the next jump, they appeared to lose momentum and dropped two rails. Even so, they finished 11th, the highest for the Canadians.
The official results show the U.S. with team penalties of 2.90, Mexico 3.26, Brazil 7.61, Argentina 9.62, Canada 12.94, Venezuela 14.10, Chile 14.54, Colombia 16.20, Ecuador 25.62, Guatemala 28.40, Uruaguay 34.30 and Peru 39.16.
There was no doubt about the individual rankings. Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, New York, and Coral Reef Via Volo 1st, Chrisine McCrea of East Windsor, Connecticut, and Romantovich Take One 2nd, and McLain Ward of Brewster, New York, and Antares F in 7th place despite two rails down. Kent Farrington of Wellington, Florida, on Uceko was in 15th place and was the drop score.
Beezie Madden, a team gold medalist from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, said the fact this is the last opportunity for the U.S. to qualify for London “is the most pressure of all. It seems like the entire U.S. contingent is here watching. It’s a lot of pressure, but that’s the game and there are a lot of teams here with the same goal.”
Mexico’s Daniel Milchan said the cheering from the crowd “filled me with emotion” and boosted the confidence of the team.
Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa on HH Ashley was the first rider and set the pace with a clear round. However. Christine McCrea as the 21st starter put the top spot out of the reach of every other combination except her team mate, Beezie as the anchor for the U.S. 30 rides later. “I know Beezie well,” Christine said. “I knew she was going to be fast. I don’t really care as long as it is an American.”
Click here for full results.
Top Ten after the first round;
1. MADDEN Elizabeth P. (USA) CORAL REEF VIA VOLO 77.53 0 77.53 0.00
2. MCCREA Christine T. (USA) ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE 79.29 0 79.29 0.88
3. MICHAN Daniel (MEX) RAGNA T 79.49 0 79.49 0.98
4. MAURER Antonio (MEX) CALLAO 79.50 0 79.50 0.99
5. MICHAN Alberto (MEX) ROSALIA LA SILLA 80.10 0 80.10 1.29
6. LAROCCA Jose M. (ARG) ROYAL POWER 80.51 0 80.51 1.49
7. WARD Mclain L. (USA) ANTARES F 73.57 8 81.57 2.02
8. ALVES Bernardo (BRA) BRIDGIT 77.72 4 81.72 2.10
9. MIRANDA NETO Alvaro (BRA) AD NORSON 78.78 4 82.78 2.63
10. PESSOA Rodrigo (BRA) HH ASHLEY 83.28 0 83.28 2.88