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Dutchman Wiljan Laarakeers Receives Warm Wellington Welcome

WELLINGTON, Fla., March 21 - Dutch rider Wiljan Laarakeers made a trip to the winner's circle after winning the $10,000 Wellington Golf Cars Welcome Stake on Friday during the CSI2* Suncast Corporation, presented by Equestrian Club by Tavern on the Green, of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Great Britain's Richard Jeffery designed a course in the DeNemethy Arena that saw 14 members of the original 34-horse starting field advance to the jump-off. The lead changed hands several times with Laarakeers taking over from U.S. veteran Lisa Jacquin when his time of 33.77 seconds bettered her time of 34.41. Only the final challenger, Great Britain's Ben Maher, came close to knocking Laarakeers out of top spot when Pablo V crossed the timers in 33.98 seconds to take second place.

"I expected that there would be a lot of clear rounds. The first round could have been a little bit bigger, but the jump-off was serious enough," said Laarakeers. "The horse was unbelievable in the jump-off. He jumped out of his skin."

Laarakeers mount, BCO Olymp, is normally shown by his owner, United States Equestrian Team member Eliza Shuford. However, when Shuford separated her shoulder after a fall a few weeks ago, Laarakeers flew in from Holland to take over the reins. Shuford and Laarakeers met last year in Wellington when the Dutchman recognized her horse.

"I brought some horses here last year, and I saw her fighting with the horse. I knew the horse - Holland is a small country so we know everyone and every horse - and I helped her with him," explained Laarakeers of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Jos Lansink's World Cup Final winner, Libero H. "She came to Europe last summer and did the developing riders' tour and I helped her a bit with him then, too."

Laarakeers has been coming to Wellington since the late 1990's and hopes to return next year with a Dutch team in tow to contest the Nations' Cup, the only event in the United States where countries compete as teams.

Week 10 of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, the CSI2* Suncast Corporation, presented by Equestrian Club by Tavern on the Green will be highlighted by Sunday's $75,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI2*.

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 807 - $10,000 Wellington Golf Cars Welcome Stake

1 7398 BCO OLYMP WILJAN LAARAKEERS 0.00 69.073 0.00 33.770


2 7590 PABLO V BEN MAHER 0.00 73.980 0.00 33.987


3 1564 AMIS DE KANNAN LISA JACQUIN 0.00 70.208 0.00 34.410


4 1833 CARLOTTA KEN BERKLEY 0.00 73.005 0.00 35.455


5 3658 SHOWGIRL MARGIE GAYFORD 0.00 71.444 0.00 38.706


6 6056 TWISTER ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 70.471 4.00 35.088


7 4142 CARLOS DE NOEL ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 72.347 4.00 35.401


8 7837 WEMBLEY MAC CONE 0.00 75.292 4.00 35.551


9 5209 FINNIS K ERRIGAL KEVIN BABINGTON 0.00 72.805 4.00 36.736


10 6043 KIMBER DARREN FINKELMAN 0.00 72.509 4.00 39.557


11 2115 HOLIDAY SARAH SEGAL 0.00 71.064 8.00 34.626


12 6989 CB DEXTER LAURA KRAUT 0.00 72.680 8.00 35.386


13 1649 LAND BARON IV ANGELA MOORE 0.00 69.258 12.00 33.704

14 2107 ONLIGHT BEEZIE MADDEN 0.00 69.881



CN is a leader in North American and worldwide freight transportation. CN is the only railroad crossing North America east-west and north-south serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts to link customers in all three NAFTA nations--the USA, Canada and Mexico. CN Worldwide makes global trade a reality.

Zimmerman Advertising, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is an Omnicom Group company and the 15th largest advertising agency in the U.S. Offices are in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Atlanta.

FTI exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value. FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history.

PHOTO: "Wiljan Laarakeers and BMO Olymp won the $10,000 Wellington Golf Cars Welcome Stake on Friday at the CN Winter Equestrian Festival presented by Zimmerman Advertising."

Photo Credit: Ken Braddick, Horse Sport USA


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