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Tampa Equestrian Festival Begins Competition

Molly Ashe and Lutopia Take First Jumper Win

Tampa, FL - March 19, 2008 - The Tampa Equestrian Festival, held at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds, began competition today. The three-week festival hosts classes for hunters and jumpers from March 19 to April 5, 2008. This week is the Suncoast Internationale week and runs from March 19-23.

The winner today in the 1.40m Jumpers was Lutopia, ridden by Molly Ashe Cawley and owned by Jane F. Clark. The pair was the fastest in the Time First Round class held in the covered arena. The course featured 11 numbered obstacles and was designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada.

Cawley had four horses in today's class and was the fastest on Lutopia, who had a clear round in 57.693 seconds. She prevailed over second-place finisher Todd Minikus on Sleepy P Ranch's Presidente, who were also clear but with a time of 60.096 seconds. There were eight clear rounds in the class.

Cawley has returned to the show ring after an extended absence since she gave birth two months ago to her daughter Taylor. Today's class offered the perfect opportunity for her to get back into the competitive mindset.

"She feels great," Cawley said. "It's like putting on your favorite old pair of sneakers. It's just great to get back on her. She's such a winner and such a fun horse to ride."

Of her win today, Cawley stated, "I sort of started out slow and built up as I went. I haven't sat on her in a long time. It's not that I don't know her well, it's just we wanted to start comfortably."

Cawley will determine tomorrow whether or not she and Lutopia will compete in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup class.

Tomorrow's highlight class in the jumper ring is the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup. It is one of five remaining qualifying events for this year's $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 20: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup at week one of the Tampa Equestrian Festival

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: $6,000 1.40m Jumpers

1. Lutopia, Molly Ashe Cawley, Jane Forbes Clark: 0 faults/57.693 seconds

2. Presidente, Todd Minikus, Sleepy P Ranch: 0/60.096

3. Cocu, Molly Ashe Cawley, Jane Forbes Clark: 0/61.283

4. Calibur, Kelley Robinson, Cimmarron Farms LLC: 0/61.509

5. Crelido, Michael Morrissey, Eugene R. Mische: 0/62.128

6. Scaraberas, Michael Morrissey, Eugene R. Mische: 0/62.155

7. Lord G, Cara Raether, Trelawny Farms: 0/65.723

8. Ulano, Karen Cudmore, Blair Cudmore: 0/66.053

Photo Credit: Molly Ashe Cawley and Lutopia, winners of the 1.40m Jumpers on opening day of the 2008 Tampa Equestrian Festival. Photo (C) 2008 Jennifer Wood/PMG.


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