Wellington, FL – March 26, 2015 – The Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series concluded on Thursday with its twelfth and final round of competition at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). For the second year in a row, Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Cortes ‘C’ were the winners in the $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12. The duo, named 2014 USEF Equestrian and International Horse of the Year, easily laid down the winning track. Conor Swail (IRL) and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken finished second; Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Tripple X III placed third.

The second $34,000 1.45m FEI speed class of the week was also held on Thursday with a win for Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. They jumped the fastest of 15 clear rounds out of 75 competitors with Kent Farrington (USA) and Cha Cha Cha 7 in second and Alvaro Tejada (GUA) with Voltaral Palo Blanco third.

WEF 12, sponsored by Rolex, runs March 25-29. The week features the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, March 28. Other highlights include the $10,000 Holtgers 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, $15,000 Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and $20,000 Adequan® 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic on Friday. The $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final will be held on Saturday, and the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will host its first round on Saturday and its second round on the derby field Sunday. Saturday night’s 1.50m Final Round and Rolex Grand Prix, along with Sunday’s second round of the hunter derby, will be live streamed at www.COTH.com.

Steve Stephens (USA) set the track for 46 starters in Thursday’s WEF Challenge Cup. Nine advanced to the jump-off, where seven of those jumped double clear. Last to go, Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ clocked the winning time of 35.52 seconds. They edged out Conor Swail and Grand Cru vd Jijf Eiken, owned by Vanessa Mannix, with their time of 35.99 seconds. Tiffany Foster and Artisan Farms LLC’s Tripple X III set the pace, first to go in the jump-off in 36.48 seconds, finishing in third. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Azur placed fourth in 37.09 seconds.

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C'

Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’

Believe it or not, Thursday’s win was actually Madden’s first of the year. She was happy to see Cortes ‘C’ in top form and knew that Stephen’s track suited her mount, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Randel Z x Darco).

“This is my first win of the whole season. I have been second a couple times, but it feels great to win in week 12. It feels great to not go through the whole circuit without winning,” Madden laughed. “My horses have been going well. We have not put a lot of pressure on them yet, so it was nice that Cortes came through this week.”

“Today I went for it,” Madden said. “The jump-off suited him. It was not a real running track where you had to fly to the fences. I could make neat turns without running a lot, and still be quite fast today, so it was a good jump-off for that.”

Madden picked Cortes ‘C’ to show in the final week because of the tracks she expected from Stephens in the final CSI 5* competition.

“Usually he builds a course for a nice, big, scopey horse, so hopefully it will suit Cortes Saturday night too,” Madden explained. “The top few were all big, scopey horses today. This is a 5*, so it should be difficult this week. You can kind of plan on that.”

Beezie Madden and Cortes 'C' in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Beezie Madden and Cortes ‘C’ in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Madden will show Cortes in Saturday night’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* to conclude the circuit and then plans to give the gelding a rest while her mount Simon steps up to compete in Miami and then travels to Las Vegas for World Cup Finals.

“Cortes feels really good. This is only his third week of showing, so I think he is just coming on to form for the year,” Madden detailed. “After this, he will have a bit of a break. I am going to take Simon to the World Cup (Finals) because the venue in Las Vegas is so small that I think it suits him more than Cortes. Cortes will probably do a few classes at Old Salem in the spring, and then I am planning to take him to Aachen for the grand prix in May. Then he will go to Spruce Meadows from there. Simon will also do Miami to get ready for the smaller venue in Vegas. It is good for me to practice with him in the smaller ring.”

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito Win $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m

A $34,000 1.45m FEI speed class was also held at WEF on Thursday with a win for Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Seventy five-entries showed, with 15 clear rounds. Rodriguez and Arao Enterprises Caballito had a blazing fast time of 62.13 seconds. They beat Kent Farrington’s round in 63.31 seconds with Haity McNerney and Amalaya Investments’ Cha Cha Cha 7. Alvaro Tejada (GUA) with Palo Blanco Stables’ Voltaral Palo Blanco stopped the clock in 63.73 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Simba de la Roque placed fourth in 65.36 seconds.

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito

Rodriguez has had a fantastic WEF circuit, with multiple wins, including a big win with Caballito in week ten’s $127,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*. On Thursday, the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Contendro x Argentinus) took the class by storm in a fantastic round.

“It was very fast today,” Rodriguez stated. “It was sort of one of those classes where you go all in, and if it works, it works. Our plan at the beginning was to take a lot of risk and if a rail comes down, then we school the horse for the 1.50m class that has $100,000, but if everything keeps going then obviously keep going. I was going pretty fast in the last line, which when I walked it, I thought it was crazy to do six strides. But I jumped the vertical and it was right there, so I took the chance and it worked.”

“When I saw Conor’s round, I said okay, ‘This is really annoying because it is getting very fast.’ Then Kent almost beat him by two seconds, and then it was to the point where I had to go all in,” Rodriguez continued. “Kent did seven strides. I did one stride less than him from jump four to five. I did eight strides and he did nine strides, and on the last line he did seven and I did six.”

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito in their winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia

Rodriguez plans to jump Caballito again in Saturday’s $100,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final to conclude the circuit. The pair finished second in the class last year. He will jump his horse Verdi in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*.

Also showing on Thursday, the Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumpers jumped their speed class in the International Arena with a win for Gemma Paternoster and Julia Harrison Lee’s EBay.

Clean Sweep for Iconic and Amanda Lyerly in the Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Olds

To conclude WEF 2015 on a high note, Amanda Lyerly rode Kelly Bauernschmidt’s horse, Iconic, to the championship prize in the Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Olds. The pair was dominant over the two days of competition, winning all of the classes in the division. “We bought him [Iconic] for Kelly [Bauernschmidt] to do in the amateur hunter divisions eventually, but I feel very lucky that I get to show him right now,” Lyerly explained.

Reserve championship honors in the Loddon Stalls Pre-Green Hunter 3 & 4 Year Olds went to Grayceland and Thomas Serio. Grayceland, an entry of Kathy Serio, finished second in two over fences classes and was third in the under saddle.

Amanda Lyerly and Iconic

Amanda Lyerly and Iconic

Iconic, a four year-old gelding, had never been to the WEF show grounds until this past Tuesday. “Kelly [Bauernschmidt] bough him [Iconic] 10 days ago,” Lyerly started, “When we brought him over to the show we didn’t know what to expect, but he is an old soul and was great in the ring.”

Lyerly further went on to compliment Iconic, saying, “He is so sweet on the ground and is very straight forward and simple to ride. He is definitely one of the nicest horses I have ever ridden!”

After starting with such a great performance, Lyerly is excited about Iconic’s future. “I didn’t really have any goals before this week, but after how he went, I’m excited to show him in the pre-greens and eventually the First Year Green Hunters,” Lyerly commented.

For the rest of this year, Lyerly is hoping to show Iconic in the Pre Green incentive classes in the summer and Future Hunter classes held at Capital Challenge in the fall.

Iconic in his championship presentation with Amanda Lyerly and Kelly Bauernshmidt

Iconic in his championship presentation with Amanda Lyerly and Kelly Bauernshmidt

WEF 12 continues on Friday featuring the $10,000 Holtgers 5-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, $15,000 Adequan® 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and $20,000 Adequan® 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic in the International Arena. The Triple Crown Adult Amateur Hunter 36-49 Section A kicks off hunter competition Friday morning in the Rost Arena. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Final Results: $50,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 12

1. CORTES ‘C’: 2002 Belgian Warmbloodd gelding by Randel Z x Darco
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/35.52

2. GRAND CRU VD JIJF EIKEN: 2006 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Contact vd Heffinck x Heartbreaker
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/35.99

3. TRIPPLE X III: 2002 AES stallion by Namelus R x Cantango
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/36.48

4. HH AZUR: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/37.09

5. BABALOU 41: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rouet x Silvio I
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Two Swans Farm: 0/0/37.41

6. SARENA: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Calvaro x Damoiseau d’Or
BEN MAHER (GBR), Jane Clark: 0/0/38.55

7. CLEOFAS VAN WESTUUR: 2002 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Toulon x Wibramino
RODRIGO MARINHO (BRA), Rodrigo Marinho: 0/0/43.60

8. EXQUIS WALNUT DE MUZE: 1999 Belgian Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Team Exquis: 0/4/36.85

9. QUICK STUDY: 1999 Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star x What A Joy
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura Mateo: 0/10/49.77

10. QUABELLE: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Helrios de la Cour II x Kannan
BLYTHE MARANO (USA), Riverview Farm LLC: 1/92.12

11. URUS 2: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Canturo x Cento
LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 1/92.77

12. FEROX B: 2005
BWP gelding by Quidam de Revel CSF x Contender
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Mike Collins: 4/86.97

Final Results: $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m

1. CABALLITO: 2002 Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/62.13

2. CHA CHA CHA 7: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Chacco-Blue x Quick Star
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney & Amalaya Investments: 0/63.31

3. VOLTARAL PALO BLANCO: 2002 KWPN mare by Voltaire x Contender
ALVARO TEJADA ARRIOLO (GUA), Palo Blanco Stables: 0/63.73

4. SIMBA DE LA ROQUE: 2006 Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Allegreto
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Conor Swail: 0/65.36

5. AZIBANTOS: 2005 KWPN gelding by Chin Chin x Cantos
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Group C LLC: 0/65.88

6. ZAZOU: 2005 KWPN gelding by Furore x Zuidhorn
CIAN O’CONNOR (IRL), Stall Gullik: 0/66.11

7. COSMA 20: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Couleur Rubin x Stakkato
ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 0/67.52

8. WAMIRA: 2003 KWPN mare by Oklund x Animo
JOAO VICTOR CASTRO (BRA), Joao Victor Castro: 0/67.99

9. WALTER 61: 2002 Sachsen Anhaltiner gelding by Werenfels x Donator 1382
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Emanuel Andrade: 0/68.20

10. ROSIERE VESQUERIE: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Narcos II x Arpege Pierreville*HN
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/69.03

11. BARBARO: 2006 Oldenburg gelding by Balou du Rouet x Carthago
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/72.05

12. CORNET 39: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Caletto I
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Paris Sellon: 0/73.20

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.