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Michael Murphy Wins Two in a Row at Tampa Equestrian Festival

Tampa, FL - March 22, 2008 - The junior and amateur-owner jumpers continued their competition today at the Suncoast Internationale week of the Tampa Equestrian Festival, which runs through April 5 at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center. The highlight class of the week is the $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida, which starts tomorrow at 2 p.m. Michael Murphy of Apopka, FL, was the winner of the Junior/Amateur-owner Power and Speed class today with Katina 12.

Today's class was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. Riders had to be clear over the first eight jumps in order to continue the course for the speed phase. Nine riders moved onto the speed part of the course, but the fastest was Murphy, who is only 14 years old. He and Katina 12, an 8-year-old Selle Francais mare, went second in the class and no one could catch their speedy clear round in 37.301 seconds. The next fastest was Laura Pfeiffer of Temperance, MI, on Lilli Marlen. They finished in 38.611 seconds.

Murphy has only ridden Katina 12 for a week. "We're trying her right now to be my High Junior Jumper. This week is a trial period," Murphy explained. "If it all works out I'll do the High (Junior Jumpers) and some small grand prix."

Murphy won yesterday's Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class on his horse Cheeky, a small, quick, bay gelding. Katina 12 is "a different ride," Murphy said. "She's a lot bigger. My other horse is small and fast. He's just a demon; he's so fast."

The talented young rider has trained with Debbie Stephens of Palmetto, FL, for just over five months. His win today, he said, means that "things are good." He added with a smile, "It's nice to win, so I have no complaints."

The junior/amateur-owner jumpers wrap their first week of competition tomorrow with their classic, and the open jumpers return to action at the $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida later in the afternoon. Tomorrow's grand prix is one of only four qualifying events remaining for this year's $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational.

The highlight of the Tampa Equestrian Festival is the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune and Sweetbay Supermarket. The $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational will be held on Saturday, April 5, at 7 pm. at the Raymond James Stadium in downtown Tampa.

The remaining qualifying events for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational are:

March 23: $75,000 Bob Thomas Grand Prix of Florida at week one of the Tampa Equestrian Festival

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: Junior/Amateur-Owner Power and Speed

1. Katina 12, Michael Murphy: 0/0/37.301

2. Lilli Marlen, Laura Pfeiffer: 0/0/38.611

3. Jolie Dame du Marais, Cody Auer: 0/0/38.727

4. Lady Cathargo, Danielle Goldstein: 0/0/41.216

5. Thoristin, Laura Pfeiffer: 0/4/37.170

6. 2 the Nines, Marquee Cincotta: 0/4/37.712

7. Game Twist, Cara Cheska: 0/4/38.408

8. Cheeky, Michael Murphy: 0/8/36.051

Photo Credit: Katina 12 and Michael Murphy, winners of the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed class at the first week of 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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