In an unusual class on the opening morning of week 6 at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, there was a tie for the win in the $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m Jumpers. Laura Kraut on The Freedom Group's Dona Evita, and Michael Tokaruk with Roger Rabbit, owned by Castle Point Farm LLC, both finished the speed class with no faults and in the same time of 63.121 seconds.
The class had 12 entries, and four were able to stay clear over the course to finish at the top of the standings. With Kraut and Tokaruk tied for first, Marshall Field VI and Calypso VB finished third in 68.246 seconds.
Tokaruk, who originally hails from Canada, now rides and works for Andre Dignelli and Heritage Farm. He has been riding Roger Rabbit, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Ramirado x Alasca, for three years. Tokaruk has been bringing the grey gelding along slowly, and they jumped in grand prix classes last year in Kentucky and Upperville, VA. "It's been a slow but very rewarding process with him," Tokaruk said. "I was just using today's class to get in the ring and ready for the derby on Sunday," Tokaruk explained. "We'll give it a go. He's got a great range to his canter. He's very brave and he's usually quite good at the natural obstacles. We tried it last year, and he was a little bit green. I'm hoping another year of experience under his belt will serve him well."
Kraut and Dona Evita, an eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Darco x Fleuri du Manoir, are a new combination in the show ring. Kraut saw the talented young mare last year in Dublin, where she competed in the 7 Year Old jumper classes. Kraut's syndicate of owners purchased Dona Evita, who Kraut found through Emil Hendrix and Eric van der Vleuten. "I fell in love with her then and was lucky enough to get to buy her after Christmas," Kraut remembered. "I'm really enjoying her. She's so simple and pleasant and easy to ride. This morning is the first time I've kind of pressed her a little bit in the 1.45m, and she handled it great."
Although she is eight years old, Kraut is considering showing in the 1.50m classes next. "I also have to keep it in perspective that she's young," Kraut said. "She's really mature and really brave. It makes you want to go a little quicker than you would. You have to go at their own pace. I'll see how she is and maybe try one."
"I've never tied before, but I've read about it. Especially in a speed class, I thought that was really unusual," Tokaruk noted. He added with a laugh, "I was joking with Laura when we went in for the victory presentation that she won the World Cup last week, so couldn't she have pulled on the reins once to let me win? But really, it was great and to tie with Laura is fabulous company."
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Source: Press release by equestriansport.com by Jennifer Wood for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.