WELLINGTON, Fla., April 4 - Canada's Angela Covert-Lawrence riding Unika won the $20,000 Absorbine Myoplast 1.50m Classic on Friday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Of the seven horses that returned for the jump-off, Lawrence was the first into the International Arena with Unika, an 11-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Eastwood Equine Inc. The pair was fast and efficient, leaving all the rails in place over David Ballard's course to turn in a time of 34.11 seconds. The next three riders all incurred faults before Paige Johnson guided Quibble N to a clear round, but her time of 35.59 seconds was not fast enough to take over the lead. The only other challenger to post a double clear effort was Francie Steinwedell-Carvin who finished just off the pace in 34.26 seconds riding Splitfire.
"Like everyone always says, I wanted to go fast enough but still be clear to put the pressure on everyone else," said Lawrence when asked what her strategy was as the first rider to return for the jump-off. "We have only had Unika for a year so I haven't done that many jump-offs yet. That was probably the fastest we have ever run her. At first I thought the jump-off was going to be difficult because there was a lot of galloping, but she liked it. She was such a good girl!"
Lawrence found her quirky grey mare in Belgium and imported her to Florida during last year's Winter Equestrian Festival.
"It used to be more difficult to know how she was going to react, but now she has her routine and as long as we stick to it, she is okay," said Lawrence, 31, who, with her husband, equine dentist Mike Lawrence, operates Eastwood Equine Inc. just outside of Montreal in St. Lazare, Quebec. "It is amazing how much she has grown up down here. She is brave and sure of herself. I just had to figure out what she likes and doesn't like, and that has taken us a year."
Together, Lawrence and Unika draw attention in the show ring. Lawrence is a Rider Ambassador for JustWorld International and competes wearing the signature blue jacket while Unika sticks her tongue out when she is jumping.
Like Lawrence, second-place finisher Steinwedell-Carvin is also a JustWorld Rider Ambassador. Johnson took third place for owner Salamandar Farm while Colin Syquia was the fastest four-faulter in the jump-off to place fourth riding Qena 2. Ireland's Shane Sweetnam was fifth riding Little Emir while Mary Shirley placed sixth with RMW New Day. Pablo Barrios of Venezuela rounded out the jump-off field by placing seventh with Lagran.
Week 12 of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, continues through Sunday, April 6, and features the Young Horse Finals as well as several Invitational Classics.
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington, Fla., and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, please visit http://www.equestriansport.com
Results of Class 1001 - $20,000 Absorbine Myoplast 1.50m Classic
1 3680 UNICA VAN DE ROSHOEVE ANGELA LAWRENCE 0.00 76.650 0.00 34.112
EASTWOOD EQUINE INC
2 6212 SPLITFIRE FRANCIE STEINWEDELL- 0.00 76.679 0.00 34.268
3 1725 QUIBBLE N PAIGE JOHNSON 0.00 75.746 0.00 35.599
4 6678 QENA 2 COLIN SYQUIA 0.00 75.803 4.00 33.360
5 3111 LITTLE EMIR SHANE SWEETNAM 0.00 74.418 4.00 35.859
SPY COAST FARM LLC
6 9060 RMW NEW DAY MARY SHIRLEY 0.00 75.710 4.00 36.753
EDWARDO SALAS JON SHIRLEY
7 4410 LAGRAN PABLO BARRIOS 0.00 75.126 5.00 42.622
8 3112 TRIVIANT SHANE SWEETNAM 4.00 72.560
CURTIS LOURIE GROUP
9 5515 QARCO V'T MERELSNEST ROBIN SWEELY 4.00 74.504
10 1553 CORONA REBECCA JOHANSON-HOFMANN 4.00 74.917
BLUE HILL FARM LLC
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PHOTO: "Canada's Angela Lawrence riding Unika won the $20,000 Absorbine Myoplast 1.50m Classic on Friday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising."
Photo Credit: Ken Braddick, Horse Sport USA
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