Wellington, Florida, USA – March 09, 2023 – TJ O’Mara (USA) and Fortaleza claimed top call in the $39,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI 2* 1.45m during WEF 9 on Thursday from a competitive field of 64 entries.
A staggering 21 went head-to-head over Alan Wade’s (IRL) short course. Stopping the clock at 29.4 second, O’Mara guided Fortaleza, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Canoso x Bmc Kigali) owned by Bluewater Farm, to the win.
Second place was claimed by Susan Horn (CAN) and Kirlo Van Den Bosrand (Cardento 933 x Utrillo Z), coming in at 30.01 seconds.
The third spot on the podium was conquered by Veronica Tracy (USA) aboard Dakota de L’Ardrais (Urlevent Du Bary x Elan de La Cour) finishing a fraction off the pace in 30.10 seconds.
“I would say 99% went to plan in my jump-off,” said O’Mara, who celebrated his first FEI win at WEF. “He’s definitely my speed horse; his stride is so big, and I can do the leave outs in every single line. Fence one to two, I ended up doing seven strides where most of the class did eight, and most riders did seven strides from two to three and I did six. He turned so quickly and is so careful I could really trust him going to the double. And from the double to the vertical, I felt him shift a little to the right, so I ended up doing eight strides where I had planned on doing seven.”
O’Mara, who rides for Max Amaya’s Stonehenge Stables, and is thrilled to have this ride on Fortaleza. “He’s actually owned by Caroline Blake and her father, Berry Blake, and they moved to us in 2020, but she recently went to college and they’ve been so generous letting me show him. This past summer is when I really began showing him competitively and this fall we did our first FEI class together. I click with him so well. Everyone at the barn says we are soulmates.
“He’s one of the nicest horses to ride and to flat. He is so soft in the mouth and has a lovely canter, and he’s very adjustable and elastic,” continued O’Mara. “There’s nothing negative to say about him.”
O’Mara will no point Fortaleza at the $50,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI2* Grand Prix on Saturday.
Final Results – $39,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI 2* 1.45m
1) TJ O’Mara (USA) & Fortaleza – 0 / 0 – 29.40
2) Susan Horn (CAN) & Kirlo van den Bosrand – 0 / 0 – 30.01
3) Veronica Tracy (USA) & Dakota de L’Ardrais – 0 / 0 – 30.10
Source: Press Release (edited) from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Sportfot