Mexico is Golden in Winning $290,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America at the Palm Beach Masters Series®
Wellington, Florida – February 17, 2019 – A young team from Mexico stunned some of the world’s best to win the $290,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America. The team from Israel took second, and the United States finished third in the culminating competition of the second of three events in the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series® at Deeridge Farms.
Led by Chef d’Equipe Stanny van Paesschen, the Mexican team featured four riders under the age of 30 – Fernando Martinez Sommer on Cor Bakker, Eugenio Garza Perez on Victer Finn DH Z, Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado riding Tino La Chapelle and Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane with Hortensia Van De Leeuwerk.
“Coming up from our team’s win in Dublin, we knew that we had a good team—a great team—great riders and great horses,” said Garza Perez, the most experienced of the four. “These three riders are amazing. They ride much more than their age, and we really pulled together and pulled out the win.”
Six teams were entered, and although Mexico led from start to finish, it still came down to the final rider to determine who would finish with the lowest two-round fault total for the win.
At the conclusion of the first round, Mexico led with a score of zero. The United States and Ireland were tied for second with eight faults, and Israel stood fourth with nine.
For the second round, the teams returned in reverse order of standing, with the top contenders riding last. Two-time Olympic veteran Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ladriano Z were first to ride for the top four teams and had the only clear round in the first rotation. The top four’s other three trailblazers – Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) on Indra van de Oude Heihoef and Martinez Sommer – each had a rail down for four faults.
The second rotation saw Israel’s Ilan Ferder and J’adore Van Het Klinkhof score eight faults for their team’s drop score. The U.S.’s 19-year-old Lucy Deslauriers, a last-minute substitute for Olympic veteran Margie Engle, who arrived ill Sunday morning, improved the U.S. chances, going clear on Hester. Cormac Hanley (IRL) and VDL Cartello gave Ireland a second four-fault score, and Garza Perez gave Mexico a huge advantage with a second clear round.
The third rotation was crucial, as a rail down could end the trail to the podium for the three teams hoping to catch Mexico. Ashlee Bond (ISR) did her part, going clear on Chela LS to keep Israel at nine faults. Laura Kraut kept the U.S. in the hunt, going clear on Confu to keep her team with a three-rotation score of eight. Ireland’s Paul O’Shea had one time fault with Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, leaving his team on a score of 17. Mexico’s Zendejas Salgado had the weight of his country on his shoulders, as a clear round would secure the gold. Instead, he became the drop score with two rails down, keeping Mexico in the lead with a score of four faults but with the result still in doubt.
With the battle for gold still on, Danielle Goldstein kept Israel in the hunt with a final team score of nine by going clear on Lizziemary.
Four-time Olympic veteran and 2017 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final Champion McLain Ward, well accustomed to needing a clear to save his team, rode well on HH Azur but had a rail down to leave the U.S. with a score of 12. That meant gold would be out of reach, but a spot on the podium was secured. Gonzalez Dufrane, meanwhile, could have one rail down and still win the gold for Mexico. Two rails would give the win to Israel and tie the U.S. for second. The huge, enthusiastic crowd on hand held its breath as Gonzalez Dufrane negotiated the Alan Wade-designed course. He became the hero, going clearand giving Mexico the gold with a score of four faults.
“It feels amazing. This is my first Nations Cup, so it is just unbelievable for me,” said Gonzalez Dufrane. “I tried to focus and keep calm, and everything went well. I know my mare quite well, but today [my team] gave me advice that made me jump even better and become more connected.”
All of the riders and chefs praised Deeridge Farms. Mexican Chef van Paesschen summed it up best. “It’s a beautiful venue, [and] the ring is absolutely fantastic. It’s like a home garden, as it’s really well kept. It’s beautiful. We are not used to places like this in Europe. In Mexico, they also have great places, but this is a great venue and among the best in the world.”
The $290,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America is the only qualifier in the U.S. for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain, next fall.
Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) and Victer Finn DH Z were one of two double-clear performers for Mexico. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography.
In the morning, the grass arena featured the $36,000 CSIO5* Turkish Airlines Speed Tour Final. Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca celebrated the victory with Cheindira after finishing second in two speed classes earlier in the week.
“She jumped amazingly well for three days, and today she finally won after being second twice,” said De Luca. “I didn’t like that, but today she jumped really, really good, and I was really happy to have an even better finish.”
De Luca was determined to win, clocking in at 64.21 seconds, a full two seconds faster than runner-up Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) and Fantast, who finished on 66.21. Canada’s Hyde Moffatt came in third on Granturo in a time of 68.02 seconds.
“I was lucky that I was the last to go, so I could watch Adrienne and a few other good rounds. I didn’t know if it was a good idea to start at full speed straightaway, because there was an option of seven or eight strides to the first two lines. I know that my mare is super in the speed classes—she is so careful. I can really trust her,” said De Luca. “I was really focused on this class. This was my last chance of the week, and this was my only horse that I was showing today, so I was really glad to win. It’s so beautiful here; the horses jumped great, and this grass arena was amazing. I am really glad that I came here.”
Also on Sunday, three grand prix classes were held for the youth set. In the $6,000 CSIO Young Rider Grand Prix, Mexico’s Tanimara Maria Macari Carrillo won on Cassinette; in the $4,000 Junior Grand Prix, Flo Norris (GBR) captured the win on Donatella l’Espoir; and in the Children’s Grand Prix, Zanya Rizvi (USA) took top honors on Calvaton Z.
Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Cheindira won the CSIO5* Turkish Airlines Speed Tour Final. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography.
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 reputable events. The show grounds are located at the spectacular Deeridge Farms, situated in the heart of North American equestrian sport in Wellington, Florida. 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 the other 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 unique experience for riders and spectators.
The best views for the 2019 Palm Beach Masters Series are from the Berkshire Bank VIP Club, an exquisite two-story venue for watching the top-level competition in both competition arenas. Club members are treated to special amenities and one-of-a-kind culinary creations from Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group. In addition to the gourmet food served, a complimentary open bar and table service are also included. For more information and to reserve a table, visit: www.palmbeachmasters.com/vip-hospitality/
Fun for the Whole Family
The Palm Beach Masters Series® has added several exciting features to its 2019 events. The Just World International Kids’ Zone, luxurious Berkshire Bank VIP Club, new Boardwalk Boutiques, Taylor Harris Beach Bar, and picnic style tailgating spaces offer a one-of-a-kind experience for the whole family.
New for 2019, 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.
Following the CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America, the Palm Beach Masters Series will host its third annual Deeridge Derby, February 27–March 3. The Deeridge Derby is a USEF nationally rated show where the nation’s most elegant show hunters take center stage. They’ll compete in prestigious classes, highlighted by the highly competitive $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.