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Georgina Bloomberg Wins Over Near Record Field in WEF Challenge on Street of Diamonds

WELLINGTON, Fla., Mar. 5--Georgina Bloomberg piloted Street of Diamonds into the winner's circle after a two-year drought at the Winter Equestrian Festival when the pair won the $30,000 Braman Motorcars WEF Challenge Cup Series IX Thursday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

Georgina and Street of Diamonds, owned by Gotham Enterprizes, were among only six combinations to go clear from the highest number of starters so far in 2009 FTI WEF and the second highest number in the 20-year history of the series. Ninety were listed to start Thursday, but four withdrew. The highest number of starters in the WEF Challenge was 96 in 2000.

The New York rider and her mount posted a double clear time of 40.66 secs., 0.79 secs. faster than Andrew Welles of Long Lake, Minn. and Cypria 6, owned by Peter Welles, who were the only other double clear. Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa, the 2004 Olympic individual gold medalist, was third on the Double H Farm-owned Rufus.

The course by 2008 Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela proved difficult with eight riders finishing with a single time fault and two with two time faults.

"I thought it was fair," Bloomberg said of the course. "His intentions were correct.

"It didn't suit a lot of horses, but Street of Diamonds is naturally quick and I didn't have to think about the time."

This was Georgina's first Grand Prix on Street of Diamonds, an 11-year-old French mare that she acquired last year.

"She is very much my type," she said. "She's quick and takes you to the jump. I haven't had a horse that's my type in a long time."

She has not won at WEF since 2007, but hopes the mare will bring more blue ribbons.

"I was just planning to go double clear," she said. "The plan was to save her for Saturday night, now I may have to switch my ride," Georgina said of the $200,000 World Cup class scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.

Welles also was saving his horse for Saturday, but said of his jump off: "I wanted to go for a nice double clear and set her up for Saturday. If I beat Georgina great, if not that is okay, too.

"I have been having four and eight faults week in and week out in the Grand Prix," he said of his 2009 WEF experience. "Today hopefully turned it around."

PL HORSE RIDER NAT F TIME F2 TIME2

1. STREET OF DIAMONDS GEORGINA BLOOMBERG USA 78.96 40.66

2. CYPRIA 6 ANDREW WELLES USA 78.8 41.5

3. RUFUS RODRIGO PESSOA BRA 78.09 4 39.45

4. SOUVENIR KEVIN BABINGTON IRL 79.66 4 40.06

5. IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN 75.89 4 40.77

6. LANOO ALI WOLFF USA 79.76 15 49.21

7. COSTA RICA Z AMY MILLAR CAN 1 80.53

8. MURKA'S PALL MALL PETER CHARLES GBR 1 80.65

9. WONDERBOY III BEN MAHER GBR 1 81.45

10. HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 1 81.60

 

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