Following behind Deslauriers in the awards presentation were Nick Skelton (GBR) and Carlo 273, owned by Beverly Widdowson, in second place and Yann Candele (CAN) on Susan Grange's Pitareusa in third.
This is the second week of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, and the week two title sponsor is Purina Mills. Competition this week ends Sunday, January 24. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and the circuit will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.
Purina Mills Event Marketing Manager Nancy Shearer commented, "This is our first year to sponsor WEF, and we're really excited to be here. We're here to preview our products, and we sell our Purina feed on the show grounds. A lot of the riders use Purina feed, and we want to support the riders."
The presentation for first place included (L to R): Ringmaster Cliff Haines, Mario Deslauriers and Urico, Sponsorship Director for Equestrian Sport Productions Meg Krueger, Purina Mills Account Manager/Equine Specialist Carloz Munoz, Purina Mills Event Marketing Manager Nancy Shearer, Scott Case of County Line Feed, Purina Mills Area Sales Manager Fred Williams, and owner Jane Clark.
Course designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, designed a track with13 numbered obstacles that included a line with the open water to a combination with liverpool. There were 40 entries in the first round, and six of those were clear to advance to the jump-off. Deslauriers said of the course, "I thought the course was quite good. It was difficult and a lot of work, but it was good."
The first to return in the jump-off would prove to be unbeatable. Mario Deslauriers and Urico, a nine-year-old Dutch gelding by Zandor Z, were very neat and quick throughout the twisting jump-off course. Deslauriers made a great slice across "The Breakers" wall jump and kept moving forward through short turns. They waited down the last line to keep the final, delicate gate vertical standing, and then crossed the timers in 40.34 seconds.
"I set the pace," Deslauriers said afterwards. "My horse is very, very quick. I was a little slow to the far oxer, but other than that I was pretty much on track. My horse has a big step and is extremely quick in the air. If I can keep it pretty steady and smooth, people have to run. I was lucky that no one beat me. Yann beat me, but he had one (fence) down. It was a great class."
Following Deslauriers, Nick Skelton and Carlo 273 looked to be very fast as well. Skelton made a good turn to the final line and when they stopped the clock, they were just two-tenths of a second behind the winner with a clean round in 40.51 seconds, which would leave them in second place.
Skelton said, "This was the first time my horse has jumped a grand prix, and it was the first time he's been under the lights. I was happy with him. If he'd been third or fourth and jumped clear, I would have been happy. I was maybe a little bit slow to number one. That's where I'd say I lost it, but I was really pleased with him."
Yann Candele and Pitareusa were the fastest in the jump-off in 37.98 seconds, but a costly four faults at the vertical into the one-stride combination left them in third place.
McLain Ward (USA) and Rothchild, owned by Sagamore Farm, would suffer the same fate with a rail at the combination, and a slower time of 40.79 seconds placed them fourth. Beezie Madden (USA) and Danny Boy had a rail at the fourth jump in the shortened course and their time of 45.82 seconds put them in fifth place. Katie Monahan-Prudent (FRA) and Sassicaia II had a quick round going, but a misstep in the final line led to a fall. Monahan-Prudent was eliminated and finished in sixth place.
Deslauriers is a native Canadian and became an American citizen in September of 2009. He first rode for the United States team at the Nations Cup in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November last year, but this is his first grand prix win as an American. "It feels great!" he exclaimed. "Jane was here tonight, and everybody was here to watch. It's always good to start on a good note. The (World Equestrian Games) trials are coming up, and we've got important classes. The horse seems to be in good form. We should have a good season."
Deslauriers started riding Urico in April of last year and they had a very good tour at Spruce Meadows in the summer, winning five classes at the 1.40-1.45m level. They also competed in the World Cup qualifier in Syracuse in November. "He was only eight last year. We were trying to peak for these trials coming up to go to the World Equestrian Games," he explained. "This is our number one."
Tomorrow's competition concludes week two of the 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. Sunday's competition highlight is the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic at 1 p.m.
For full results and more information, please visit www.shownet.biz or www.equestriansport.com.
Final Results: $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix, CSI 2*
- 1. URICO: 9yo KWPN gelding by Zandor Z xx Fedor MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA), JANE CLARK: 0/0/40.34
- 2. CARLO 273: 9yo HOLST gelding by Contender xx Cascavelle NICK SKELTON (GBR), BEVERLY WIDDOWSON: 0/0/40.51
- 3. PITAREUSA: 13yo KWPN mare by Andiamo xx Legaat YANN CANDELE (CAN), SUSAN GRANGE: 0/4/37.98
- 4. ROTHCHILD: 9yo BLGN gelding by Artos xx Elegant De L'ile MCLAIN WARD (USA), SAGAMORE FARMS: 0/4/40.79
- 5. DANNY BOY: 10yo BWP gelding by Clinton xx Alexis Z BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), ABIGAIL WEXNER: 0/4/45.82
- 6. SASSICAIA II: 14yo KWPN mare by Kojak xx Boreas KATHERINE MONAHAN-PRUDENT (FRA), PLAIN BAY FARM: 0/elim
- 7. UP CHIQUI: 13yo BWP gelding by Quidam De Revel xx Chin Chin KENT FARRINGTON (USA), BOONE, DOBBS & FARRINGTON: 4/84.80
- 8. Q'S CHARM: 11yo KWPN gelding by Burggraaf xx Akteur RAMIRO QUINTANA (ARG), KATHRYN QUIRK: 4/88.84
- 9. HIDDEN CREEK'S CAMPELLA: 10yo SWED mare by Cardento xx Stanford 687 MARGIE ENGLE (USA) HIDDEN CREEK'S FARM: 4/89.54
- 10. ASLAN: 10yo DWB gelding by Aston xx Blue Hors Agent LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), LJUBOV KOCHETOVA: 4/89.95
- 11. G& C BLANCHEE Z: 9yo BWP mare by Utrillo Van De Heffinck xx DarcoPABLO BARRIOS (VEN), GUSTAVO AND CAROLINA MIRABAL: 5/91.57
- 12. RONALDO: 12yo gelding by Heartbreaker xx Voltaire ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), ASHLAND STABLES: 5/91.69
WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex economic, legal and regulatory environment. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.
During the 12 weeks of WEF, "Saturday Night Lights" headlines the entertainment each Saturday night where spectators not only enjoy the Grand Prix class, but a street carnival, live music, and numerous dining options with box seats, sports bars, and the famed Tiki Hut for front row fun.
Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.