Tampa, FL - March 27, 2008 - William Lowry of North Scituate, RI, and his horse Polygraaf sped to the win today for their first victory at the Tampa Equestrian Festival. This week is the Tampa Bay Classic, CSI 3*-W, and Lowry was victorious in the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI 3* over Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L and McLain Ward with Quo Vadis.
Jose "Pepe" Gamarra set today's track that included 13 numbered obstacles, a triple combination, and a difficult triple bar to plank vertical double combination. There were 41 entries in the class, and 9 were clear to move on to the jump-off. Todd Minikus just missed qualifying his second horse for the jump-off when he and Presidente finished in a time of 84.48 seconds, just over the 84 second time allowed for one time fault. Lowry and his second horse, Rio Corde, were the fastest four-faulters in the first round to finish in 11th place.
The first to come back for the jump-off was Eduardo Salas Herrera (MEX) on RMW Estina. They pulled two rails in the shortened course and had a time of 38.83 seconds. They finished with seventh place.
Jonathan Asselin (CAN) and Rayan Chiara were slightly faster in 38.05 seconds, but they pulled a rail at the first jump for four faults and eventually received fifth place. Michael Morrissey and Scaraberas were another eight-fault combination with a time of 43.04 seconds for eighth place, while Christine McCrea and Promised Land were sixth with one rail and a time of 38.52 seconds.
After McCrea was Lowry and Polygraaf, a 10-year-old Westphalen gelding. Lowry pushed the huge horse for speed in the turns, sliced across jumps, and then waited to the final careful vertical on the rail. He finished as the first clear round in 35.22 seconds.
After the class, Lowry explained how he rode the jump-off course. "I was fast from 1 to 3; he covered so much ground. He made a pretty good turn back to the skinny jump and did the five (strides) down that line. I really sliced into the in and out, I thought. I was maybe a hair slow to the last jump. I was steadying there. I just went as fast as I could and rode the turns the best that I could to see what happened," he said.
Next in was Margie Engle on Hidden Creek's Pamina L, winners of this past Sunday's grand prix. Engle was very quick with Pamina L, but spent more time in the air over the jumps. She finished with a clear round, but was just off the winning pace in 35.54 seconds.
McLain Ward and his speed horse Quo Vadis were the next contenders. Ward was very fast through the turns and actually finished with a faster time than Lowry (34.11 seconds), but a rail down at fence 6b dashed his chance at a blue ribbon.
The last horse in the jump-off was Chambacunero, ridden by Manuel Torres (MEX). They had a refusal and a rail with a time of 45.40 seconds to finish in ninth place.
This was Lowry's first win in Tampa, but it was his and Polygraaf's third grand prix win this year. They also won the Leading Rider Bonus at the Jacksonville horse show series. This winter, Lowry chose to compete in Jacksonville and Gulfport, MS, instead of at the Winter Equestrian Festival. This put him behind in the standings to qualify for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, which was a goal of his for this year.
Lowry said today's win "feels great," and he hopes his win today will put him closer to qualifying for the Tampa Equestrian Festival's grand finale. In the jump-off, Lowry saw that there were no clear rounds before him, but he did not want to rely on the slow, clear round for the win. "I knew who was behind me. Margie's always fast, McLain's always fast. I figured I had to go for it a bit and see what happened. There was no point in going double clear and getting beat. I wanted to win," he said.
Lowry gave credit to Polygraaf, a horse that he has ridden for five years. "He's a really good horse. He's faster than what people think," he noted. "For a big horse, he's got so much blood. He's got a huge stride."
As Polygraaf leaped in the air during the awards presentation, the crowd clapped for the winner. Lowry smiled as he called Polygraaf "a handful," but he knows that his talented horse has helped him to get one step closer to the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational.
Today's grand prix was one of three remaining qualifiers for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, held at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 5. The qualifying events left are:
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: $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI 3*
1. Polygraaf, William Lowry, Winsor Show Sales: 0/0/35.22
2. Hidden Creek's Pamina L, Margie Engle, Hidden Creek Farm: 0/0/35.54
3. Quo Vadis, McLain Ward, McLain Ward: 0/4/34.11
4. Olinda, Todd Minikus, Houlihan Lawrence: 0/4/35.45
5. Rayan Chiara, Jonathan Asselin, Attache Stables: 0/4/38.05
6. Promised Land, Christine McCrea, Candy Tribble: 0/4/38.52
7. RMW Estina, Eduardo Salas Herrera, Rocky Mtn. Warmbloods: 0/8/38.83
8. Scaraberas, Michael Morrissey, Eugene R. Mische: 0/8/43.04
9. Chambacunero, Manuel Torres, Ana Maria Codena: 0/8/45.40
10. Presidente, Todd Minikus, Sleepy P Ranch: 1/84.48
11. Rio Corde, William Lowry, Winsor Farm Sales: 4/71.86
12. Larioso, McLain Ward, McLain Ward: 4/75.88
Photo Credit: William Lowry and Polygraaf, winners of the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI 3* at the Tampa Bay Classic. 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/william-lowry-polygraaf-equestrian-wef-03-08.html">William Lowry and Polygraaf Get First Tampa Equestrian Festival Win in $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup, CSI 3*</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com