Wellington, Florida – February 1, 2019 – Alex Granato (USA) and Carlchen W topped a massive 18-horse jump-off to win the FEI $71,200 Suncast® Palm Beach Masters World Cup Qualifier at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4*-W presented by Suncast®. Only four horse-and-rider combinations negotiated a double-clear on the Alan-Wade designed course and Granato was surprised at the numbers.
“I honestly didn’t expect there to be that many in the jump-off, but it was a good group and it was nice to see that there are that many ready to be here,” said Granato who finished the jump-off clean in 36.90 seconds. “A little bit of luck was on my side. My horse is naturally fast, so I just let him carry his pace. I tried to turn a bit tighter and I got away with a couple of rubs in the beginning, but I guess luck was on our side and we kept a quick pace, so we stayed on top.”
Danielle Goldstein, (ISR) resplendent in feathers of orange and red, flew around the course to claim the first double clear. Riding Lizziemary, she stopped the Longines timers at 37.54 seconds. However, she had little doubt that someone would take over the lead.
“Honestly I came out thinking I left the door wide open so I was not surprised that I got beat quickly. I didn’t think that I would hold on to second (place). With so many in the jump-off you think that somebody is going to catch you. I thought I was quick, but for sure I left the door open. I wish I hadn’t done that,” said Goldstein.
“I made a point to come to this show. The footing is amazing. It’s been raining a lot the last week, but the footing felt that it hadn’t rained at all. It was really perfect. The management here is great and I very much enjoy coming to this show.”
Granato and Carlchen W sped through the door Goldstein left open, but the path to victory was not easy to find. “There wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity to gain a lot of speed from rider to rider. It was a pretty set track, you could only be tight. There weren’t a lot of options on leave-outs or turning inside somewhere that somebody else couldn’t do, you had to just tighten up the track and hold enough pace to be faster. I think they did a nice job.”
Jessica Springsteen (USA) also jumped double clear on Fleur de l’Aube in a time of 39.42 seconds, which was good enough for third. The Colts Neck, New Jersey resident was happy to be back at the Palm Beach Masters.
“I always look forward to coming here,” said Springsteen. “Even when I first arrived here the other day, I had forgotten how beautiful it is. It really is an incredible venue and it is refreshing for the horses and riders and I am really happy to be here.”
Friday’s Qualifier set the field for Sunday’s $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington, which serves as the penultimate east coast qualifier for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April.
On Friday morning, an emotional Teri Kessler bested a field of 28 to win the $5,000 Platinum Championship Tour 1.40m speed class in the grass arena riding Sambuka De Lurberri. It was a big win for Kessler and a special one.
“I’m a little emotional. This is a really, big deal,” said Kessler. “It’s such a special show and the organizers have gone out of their way to make it a really special moment for everybody who shows here whether they win or lose, but to win on this field I just can’t believe it. I’m so thrilled.”
Kessler finished with the fastest clear round time of 63.948 seconds, easily defeating Schuyler Riley and Quilimbo, who went clear in 64.319 seconds. Reigning Longines FEI World Cup Champion Beezie Madden was third on Garant with a clear round in 66.276 seconds.
“Beezie is my hero,” said Kessler. “I have so much respect for her as we all do. It was also special because Kim (Prince) has been my friend for 30 years. She trained me yesterday and today because Pablo (Barrios) was busy at another show. So, for us to be together doing this and share these moments is very emotional.”
About the Palm Beach Masters Series® and Showgrounds at Deeridge Farms
The Palm Beach Masters Series ® hosts top international equestrian competitors from across the U.S. and abroad. Beginning with one elite competition in 2016, the series has grown into one of the sport’s most prestigious events. The show grounds are located at the spectacular Deeridge Farms, situated in the heart of North American equestrian sport in Wellington, FL. Award-winning landscaping surrounds the custom-built show grounds and the facilities that host the series, which include two masterfully-created competition arenas – a Grand Prix turf arena and an all-weather sand arena. Additionally, there are two Bermuda grass schooling arenas—one designated for FEI and another for non-FEI competitors—along with an all-weather schooling arena adjacent to the competition arena and another located near the stables. The events’ picturesque location, unrivaled hospitality, custom-built jumping rings and world-class facilities guarantee a one-of-a-kind experience for riders and spectators alike.
General admission and parking are free for all spectators . General admission seating in the grandstands is available on a first-come-first-serve basis for all events, including the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington, Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States, and the Deeridge Derby.