.S. Olympic Team Gold Medalist Laura Kraut earned victory on day three of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) competing with Stone Hill Farm’s Wish in the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class on Friday, January 10. Alexander Zetterman (SWE) and Canora also got their second win of the circuit in the day’s $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge.
Week one of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by The Mar-a-Lago Club, runs through Sunday, January 12. The week’s highlights include the $75,000 Nespresso Battle of the Sexes on Saturday, January 11, as well as the $30,000 Mar-a-Lago Club Grand Prix, which will be held on Sunday, January 12. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding close to $8 million in prize money.
In Friday’s $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m jump-off class, course designer Eric Hasbrouck saw 61 competitors with 26 advancing to the immediate jump-off in the International Arena at PBIEC. Fourteen entries were also clear over the short course, and Laura Kraut and Wish completed the fastest clear jump-off round in 38.669 seconds for the win.
Kraut narrowly edged out fellow U.S. Olympic Team Gold Medalist McLain Ward, who finished second aboard Ramses du Lavillion in 38.885 seconds. Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) placed third aboard Nathalie de Gunzburg’s Fiego van de Zoneweide in 39.510 seconds. Emanuel Andrade (VEN) finished fourth with his time of 40.326 seconds riding Hollow Creek Farm’s Crossfire 10.
Laura Kraut and Wish
Wish, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Numero Uno x Calvados, has been a top horse for young rider Jessica Springsteen, who trains with Kraut. Kraut is keeping Wish in top form through the beginning of the FTI WEF circuit and will continue to ride the mare until Springsteen arrives from school to compete during week three.
Kraut explained, “She is a great mare that we bought for Jessie a couple of years ago, and Jessie has done a ton of winning with her. We found her in Belgium. She was jumping in the 2* in Antwerp, and Nick (Skelton) and I were sitting and watching the class, and Nick leapt out of his chair and ran down to the in-gate. We got there ahead of about three other people that were running to the gate at the same time, and we were fortunate enough to be able to buy her.”
“She is a tiny horse, but her heart is huge,” Kraut described. “She is a trier and she is really easy to ride. She is so brave. She does everything. To me she is a perfect second horse because you can run her and run her and run her, and every day she comes out and she stays careful. She is just a really nice horse.”
Commenting on Friday’s class, Kraut noted, “I didn’t actually expect that I would win. I actually added a stride in the jump-off down one line. I went quick, but I didn’t really push her and she is just very fast.”
“I really liked Eric’s course today,” she added. “I liked them last year too. I thought he did a great job last year, and so far he has done a very good job. Today’s course was different because it was a lot of long gallops, which you don’t often see. I think that was good because you had to really open them up and gallop across the ring. It’s nice. He’s doing a really good job.”
Kraut has an exciting circuit lined up for this year’s FTI WEF with some of her returning top mounts as well as a few new horses. She finished tenth in Friday’s class aboard her newest mount, Andretti S, who she described as ‘a really interesting horse,’ and has high hopes for. Nouvelle will return to the ring for the first time since an injury in June. Kraut also looks forward to competing with her veteran partners Cedric and Jubilee d’Ouilly, who continue to excel at the top of the sport at 16 and 17 years of age.
Kraut has a thriving business with a lot of great students and developing young horses as well this year, and she is excited for the season to come.
“For me, this season is great for bringing along young horses and seeing what you have and developing them,” she acknowledged. “I always love doing that anyway and it is really nice down here because you can have a plan and aim them for whatever goal you have for them. It is also nice that I am not on an airplane every week going to a new show, to a new place, to a new venue, so the horses get relaxed. I am very lucky because I have the best of both worlds. I spend five months here in one spot and then I get to go to Europe and go to a whole lot of interesting, very cool shows and do unique things, but we are always ready to get back here and not get on an airplane again for a while.”
“So far it has been very busy, but it’s good,” she smiled. “We have about 50 horses that we are in charge of here. I have such great riding students, which is really nice. They all ride well. It is a good group, and it makes my job really easy.”
A $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge was also held on Friday with 41 entries and a win for Alexander Zetterman (SWE) aboard Canora. The pair also won the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m speed class on Wednesday to kick off a great week of competition. They had the fastest of five clear rounds on Friday with a time of 68.352 seconds. Brittni Raflowitz (USA) and ESI Show Jumpers’ Elios placed second in 68.807 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) and Jane Clark’s Whistler finished third in 70.544 seconds.
Source: Equestrian Sport Productions
Final Results: $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m
1. WISH LAURA KRAUT STONE HILL FARM: 0/0/38.669
2. RAMSES DU LAVILLON MCLAIN WARD MCLAIN WARD: 0/0/38.885
3. FIEGO VAN DE ZONEWEIDE NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO NATHALIE DE GUNZBURG: 0/0/39.510
4. CROSSFIRE 10 EMANUEL ANDRADE HOLLOW CREEK FARM: 0/0/40.326
5. AISHA DAVID BLAKE PINE HOLLOW FARM: 0/0/40.654
6. BLUE SKY VAN DE OLMENHOEVE JIMMY TORANO TURTLE LANE FARM INC: 0/0/40.937
7. RENDEZVOUS 22 NICK NOVAK NANCY WHITEHEAD: 0/0/41.184
8. RAMSES SARAH SEGAL ROBERT SEGAL: 0/0/42.713
9. ZOJASPER RODRIGO PESSOA ILAN FERDER LOVSTA & TAL MILSTEIN: 0/0/43.136
10. ANDRETTI S LAURA KRAUT MH SPORTHORSE: 0/0/43.474
11. IV EVE MICHAEL DORMAN WYNDMONT: 0/0/43.744
12. CHAPEL Z LISA JACQUIN FLINTWOODE FARMS LLC: 0/0/44.170