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Peter Wylde and Esplanade 7 Post First Grand Prix Win of 2009 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival

WELLINGTON, Fla., Feb. 5--Canada's Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze captured his second weekly $30,000 Braman Motorcars WEF Challenge Grand Prix aboard Take Off Thursday, the fifth round of the series at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

Seventy-three combinations braved the uneasonably chilly weather with 23 going clear on the course designed by Germany's Olaf Petersen. However, 17 returned for the jump off.

Lamaze posted a speedy time of 34.87 secs. with Take Off, owned by the Artisan Farms, Inc. and Beverly Sheehy. "Going early, I had to take a big enough risk," he said of his round, and the risk paid off.

Seven other horse rider combinations went clear in the jump off, with Lauren Hough of Wellington and her mount, Quick Study, owned by Laura Mateo, placing second. Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa on the Double H Farm-owned Rufus finished third.

Lamaze is among the 45 riders qualified for Saturday night's $150,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix presented by Spy Coast Farm. He will again ride Take Off, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare.

The Canadian won the WEF Challenge III aboard Narcotique de Muze II two weeks ago for his first grand prix victory of the 12-week winter circuit.

Lamaze figured that this week "it was a good thing to have a lot of horses in the class, especially today because it was a qualifier. It was big enough and there were a lot of good quality horse and rider combos today."

But he said he had a "good feeling she would be competitive, especially here."

Take Off, he said, is "a very very good horse, very competitive with instinct and talent. She still has a lot to learn, but really grew within herself this last year."

Of her jump off ride, Lauren said, "I wanted to take a shot, but didn't want to let it all out. I used it as prep for Saturday."

The Saturday class will be under the lights in the International Arena.

Admission to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will be free with parking $10 per vehicle, and valet parking available.

Pl Horse Rider Nat 1st Rd 2nd

1. TAKE OFF ERIC LAMAZE CAN 77.28 34.87

2. QUICK STUDY LAUREN HOUGH USA 75.90 35.20

3. RUFUS RODRIGO PESSOA BRA 76.40 36.44

4. SOUVENIR KEVIN BABINGTON IRL 77.78 37.44

5. NIGHT TRAIN DARRAGH KERINS IRL 77.92 37.92

6. ASLAN LJUBOV KOCHETOVA RUS 73.88 40.83

7. CHAMBERTINO LJUBOV KOCHETOVA RUS 79.48 42.53

8. CANECKO Z LAURA KRAUT USA 77.36 4 36.87

9. CELENA Z KEEAN WHITE CAN 78.49 4 37.33

10. LA ROCCO JUN. MICHAEL WALTON USA 79.34 4 42.09



Photo: Eric Lamaze on Take Off during the $30,000 Braman Motorcars WEF Challenge V Thursday at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. 2009 Ken Braddick

 

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