Tampa, FL - March 23, 2008 - It was a great return to the winner's circle today for Margie Engle of Wellington, FL. She piloted Hidden Creek's Pamina L to victory in the $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida. Today's class was the highlight of the first week of competition at the Tampa Equestrian Festival, held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds. Next week's competition, the Tampa Bay Classic, runs from March 26-30.
Today's course was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. It featured 13 numbered obstacles in the first round. There were 28 entries in the class, and 8 were clear to continue to the jump-off. The time allowed of 74 seconds was a definite factor, as four riders incurred just one time fault. There were four retirements and one elimination. Engle commented, "I thought it was a nice course. It was a little bit careful and technical in parts, and time was very tight."
The first to return for the jump-off was Leslie Howard on her first of two mounts over the shortened course. She and Lennox Lewis 2 were efficient through the course. Howard made an inside turn from jump 1 to 2, which some of the other riders would attempt as well. She finished in a quick time with no faults in 41.464 seconds. Her time would hold up for four more horses until Engle entered the ring. Howard and her second horse, Raimond W, had the last jump down for four faults in 45.086 seconds.
Michelle Spadone and Melisimo, Engle on her first horse, 8-year-old Hidden Creek's Coroya Z, and Jimmy Torano with Morgan were all clear in the jump-off but could not catch Howard's time.
Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L made two great inside turns in the jump-off, and the 9-year-old mare's hind end cleared the jumps with ease. Engle galloped down to the last single oxer and was clear. She had lowered the leading time down to 39.743 seconds.
Following Engle, Eduardo Salas Herrera and RMW Estina had two rails down. The last to go was Molly Ashe Cawley on Vicomte D. They had a smooth round with no faults, but their time of 43.678 seconds would only be fast enough for fourth place.
Engle has only had Hidden Creek's Pamina L for six weeks. The German-bred mare was in quarantine at the beginning of the year. Engle showed her lightly and moved her up slowly, and they won a 1.40m speed class in Wellington before arriving in Tampa. "I thought I would try the WEF (Challenge Cup on Thursday) here and she was really good, so I figured I'd give her a shot today," Engle said. "Although she hasn't done a lot of big classes, she's naturally pretty quick. She's got her own style, but she's careful."
This was a great win for Engle, who only showed in two Sunday grand prix events this winter at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Her top grand prix horse, Hidden Creek's Wapino, passed away this winter and Hidden Creek's Quervo Gold, her 2006 World Equestrian Games mount, has only returned recently to competition after being diagnosed with Lyme disease. Engle revealed, "This was the first time in 20 years that I didn't have a horse in the Sunday grand prix. In Wellington, I only went in two grand prix in the whole season. These mares weren't ready yet for those (classes). It feels good to have something in the grand prix."
Engle will show next week at the Tampa Equestrian Festival in the jumper ring at the Tampa Bay Classic on March 26-30. Today's win in the grand prix gave Engle valuable prize money that moved her into 10th place on the qualifying list for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, held at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 5.
After today's grand prix, there are only three remaining qualifying events:
March 27: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup at week two of the Tampa Equestrian Festival
March 30: $75,000 FEI World Cup Qualifier & the Just World Grand Prix of Tampa CSI 3* W at week two of the Tampa Equestrian Festival
April 2: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI at week three of the Tampa Equestrian Festival
Tickets for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational are still available. Advance ticket prices are $25 in the white section, $35 in the blue section, and $40 in the red section. An Advance Family 4-pack is available for $70 in the white section and $125 in the blue section (Prices higher day of show: $30, $40, $45, $85, $140). Group prices for 20 or more people are available with advance purchase only. They are $17 each in the white section and $30 each in the blue section. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster 813-287-8844, 727-898-2100 or ticketmaster.com.
For more information on the Tampa Equestrian Festival and the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, please visit http://www.stadiumjumping.com
Final Results: $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida
1. Hidden Creek's Pamina L and Margie Engle, Hidden Creek Farm: 0/0/39.743
2. Lennox Lewis 2, Leslie Howard, Leslie Howard: 0/0/41.464
3. Morgan, Jimmy Torano, RV Sales of Broward: 0/0/41.511
4. Vicomte D, Molly Ashe Cawley, Jane F. Clark: 0/0/43.678
5. Melisimo, Michelle Spadone, Morgan Hill Partners: 0/0/44.801
6. Hidden Creek's Coroya Z, Margie Engle, Hidden Creek Farm: 0/0/45.820
7. Raimond W, Leslie Howard, Leslie Howard: 0/4/45.086
8. RMW Estina, Eduardo Salas Herrera, Rocky Mtn Warmbloods: 0/8/44.496
9. Marlo, Danielle Torano, Jimmy Torano: 1/74.059
10. Scaraberas, Michael Morrissey, Eugene R. Mische: 1/74.337
11. Rio Corde, William Lowry, Winsor Farm Sales: 1/74.558
12. Southern Pride, Karen Cudmore, Blair Cudmore: 1/74.769
Photo Credit: Hidden Creek's Pamina L and Margie Engle, winners of the $75,000 Grand Prix of Florida at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo (C) 2008 Jennifer Wood/PMG. This photo may be used free of charge only in relation to this press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/margie-engle-pamina-bob-thomas-florida-03-08.html">Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L Capture Victory in $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com