The third week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) continued on Friday with the $35,000 Bainbridge FEI 1.45m Classic as the main feature in the International Arena. Eugenio Garza (MEX) and his mount of six years, Bariano, captured the win in the FEI ranking class. WEF continues through April 1 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL, and offers more than $9 million in prize money.
The third week of WEF, sponsored by Adequan®, runs January 24-28 and features the $132,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 27, at 7 p.m.
Eugenio Garza (MEX) & Bariano
The $35,000 Bainbridge FEI 1.45m Classic had 61 entries competing over a speed course designed by Peter Grant of Canada. Eighteen of those were clear, and the fastest in the class was Garza with Bariano, a 17-year-old BWP gelding by Jetset-D x Skippy owned by El Milagro, with a time of 63.57 seconds.
“He’s a longtime partner and my go-to horse for anything, actually,” said Garza of his 2013 Adequan® FEI North American Young Rider Championships individual gold medal-winning partner. “I’ll never forget that moment at Young Riders. He knows me; I know him. We make a great team. On a good day, it usually goes pretty well. I’m really happy to have him in my string of horses and forever grateful to that horse. He’s given me so much.”
Second place went to Sydney Shulman (USA) on Jill Shulman’s Ardente Printaniere, who stopped the timers in 63.90 seconds. Ireland’s Kevin Babington and Double O’Seven, owned by Babington and Katznelson Jumpers LLC, were third in 65.08 seconds.
Garza said of Friday’s course, “It suited him, in that there were big leave outs. He has a big stride, so we did one less from [jumps] one to two, we did one less from the first double to the liverpool, one less after the four-stride line. It was a good course for him.”
At 17 years old, Garza said that Bariano certainly knows how to do his job, and he leaves it up to the horse to tell him when to compete.
“If he feels good, he shows. If he doesn’t feel good, he doesn’t show,” explained Garza. “To him, it doesn’t really matter if it’s 1.45m, 1.50m, 1.60m, it’s just a matter of if he feels good or not. If he feels good, then he can jump anything. Our job is just keeping him happy and sound. He’s a great horse and very easy to maintain. He’s an unbelievable animal. The old man is still going strong.”
Richard Schechter, Chairman and CEO of The Bainbridge Companies, with Jennifer Magee and ringmaster Steve Rector for the winning presentation with Eugenio Garza (MEX).
Bariano, who Garza found in 2012 in Belgium through Axel Verlooy, has a WEF schedule that is to be determined. Garza said, “If he comes out fresh tomorrow, we will do the 1.50m with him. If he’s tired, then he deserves his rest and we’ll keep him happy and fresh for next week.”
Earlier in the day was the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge. Alex Granato (USA) and Waomi, owned by Amalaya Investments, won with a time of 64.798 seconds. Nicky Galligan (IRL) and his Javas Miss Jordan were second in 66.63 seconds, while Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Thalis de la Roque, owned by Wendy Valdes, were third in 68.387 seconds.
In the other $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m class of the day, Kent Farrington (USA) and Dublin, owned by Tanma Corp. and Kent Farrington, were victorious.
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP / WEF
Photos: © Sportfot