Wellington, FL – February 13, 2010 – Pablo Barrios of Venezuela stepped into the winner’s circle for the first time in a major FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) grand prix tonight in the $150,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, CSI 3*, presented by Spy Coast Farm. He led the victory gallop in front of 4,800 show jumping fans on G&C LaGran, owned by Gustavo and Carolina Mirabal. The other double clear round for second place went to Jeffrey Welles (USA) on Armani, owned by Abigail Wexner and Triton Ventures. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Trade Winds Farm’s Obelix continued their solid World Cup performances with third place.

The fifth week of the FTI WEF is sponsored by Spy Coast Farm and runs through Sunday, February 14. The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of competition that conclude on April 4, 2010, and they will be awarding almost $6 million in prize money through the circuit.

Richard Jeffery of England designed tonight’s course, which started with a five-stride line at the far end of the ring.  There was also an open water option available for those riders working towards their Certificate of Eligibility for the World Equestrian Games. The final line caught many riders as well, with a wall in five strides to a liverpool one-stride, then another five strides to the final liverpool oxer.

“It was a very good course,” Welles said. “The triple combination was early. It was scopey enough. There were some tricky distances as the course went on, like to the skinny gate.” Kenny agreed, “I thought he did a super course. He didn’t want to go too hard with the Americans with their trials coming up. It was a little bit of a warm-up. To build a course with 45 really good horses and only have six clear, it wasn’t really extremely difficult; it was super course-building.”

In a class of 44 entries, there were six clear rounds that went on to contest the jump-off. Both Ken Berkley (USA) on Carlos Boy and Addison Phillips (USA) with Teirra were clear over the jumps but had one time fault in the first round to finish in seventh and eighth places, respectively.

First to return in the jump-off was Hillary Dobbs on Quincy B. They set a quick pace in the beginning, but after a rail at the third jump on course, they slowed down to finish with four faults in 46.14 seconds for fifth place.

Following Dobbs was Shane Sweetnam (IRL) on Rolette, owned by this week’s title sponsors, Spy Coast Farm LLC. They had a quick time of 41.75 seconds, but it came at the expense of a rail at the second jump. They finished in fourth place. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) and Let’s Fly, owned by Double H Farm, had two rails in the one stride combination. They finished with eight faults in 42.78 seconds for sixth place.

Welles and Armani competed next, planning on going to the lead with a clear round. They produced just that, in a time of 45.54 seconds to take lead, but would eventually finish in second place.

Right after, Barrios and G&C LaGran went in knowing they had to go clear and just a touch faster to take the lead, which is exactly what they did. Barrios was able to push G&C LaGran through the course with a great turn back to the triple bar jump, and they stopped the timers in 41.75 seconds to take the lead.

“This was his first grand prix here for this season,” Barrios said of LaGran. “He came fresh and felt really good in the warm-up. I really liked the course for him. Everything ended up good, with a victory! There were not that many clears; I was right after Jeffrey. I watched his track and know that my horse is pretty fast. I tried to stay just a little faster than him and tried to be clear. When I looked to the board, I knew I had the time.”

Kenny and Obelix started the jump-off with speed by doing one less stride down the opening line. They kept up the quick pace and were on track to take the lead, but they dropped a rail at the second to last vertical jump on course. They finished with the fastest time of the night in 39.78 seconds, but their four faults left them in third place.

For Welles and Armani, today was a good indicator of Armani’s readiness for the USEF WEG Show Jumping Trials, which run from February 25 through March 5. That is Welles’ main goal for this year, and he felt that Armani has returned to high-level competition in top form. Armani was injured at last year’s WEF, but he showed lightly in the summer and won the New Albany Invitational, where Barrios finished second with LaGran.

“I was really thrilled with the way he jumped in the first round. It was a big class, but it was sort of a warm-up for the trials,” Welles said. “My expectations were not that high, so I was really pleased. I figured in the jump-off that I wouldn’t go that fast and just cruise around. I wasn’t going to go all out. The trials are really my goal, the championships for this year. He feels great and ready for the trials.”

With two wins and two third places in World Cup qualifiers, Kenny and Obelix have secured their ticket to this year’s Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Geneva, Switzerland, in April. Tonight, Kenny said, “The horse felt really good. He was fantastic. I tried to be as quick as I could, but it didn’t pay off. That’s the way it happens. I’m going to the World Cup Finals. It wasn’t the plan at the beginning of the year, but he’s been great. These guys are thinking of the WEG, but for me if I got to go to the WEG it would be brilliant, but it’s not my main plan. I’m younger and less experienced. For this year for me, it’s about gathering experience.”

Barrios also has his sights set on the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) this year and is not planning on the World Cup Finals. He and LaGran, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Lancer II xx Grannus, have had top grand prix finishes. He said of his horse, “He’s very adjustable. I can change my mind in seconds, and he reacts very good.”

Of his first major WEF grand prix victory, he said, “The win feels very good. It’s my first grand prix win in Palm Beach in a Sunday or main class. I’ve been second and third before, but it’s my first victory here. I’ve been here eight years. It’s not easy winning here!”

Sunday’s schedule has been adjusted, with the $25,000 Suncast 1.50m Classic going at 8 a.m. as the first class in the International Arena. The $25,000 G&C Young Riders Grand Prix will still run at 1 p.m.

For full results and more information, please visit www.shownet.biz or www.equestriansport.com.

Final Results: $150,000 FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix, CSI 3
1. G&C LAGRAN: 1999 Oldenburg gelding by Lancer II xx Grannus
2. ARMANI: 1995 KWPN gelding by Guidam xx G Ramiro Z
3. OBELIX: 1996 KWPN gelding by LIBERO H xx Zeus
4. ROLETTE: 1998 Dutch Warmblood mare by Lester
5. QUINCY B: 1996 Holsteiner gelding by Quidam de Revel xx Lagos
6. LET’S FLY: 1999 Hannoverian gelding by Lordanos xx Forrest
7. CARLOS BOY:1995 Holsteiner stallion by Campesino xx Ligrorett
KENNETH BERKLEY (USA), KRISTA & ALEXA WEISMAN: 1/88.44                   
8. TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano van’t Riethof xx Aldatus
ADDISON PHILLIPS (USA), ADDISON PHILLIPS: 1/88.85                   
9. ASLAN: 2000 DWB gelding by Aston xx Blue Hors Agent
LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), LJUBOV KOCHETOVA: 4/79.65                   
10. PAVAROTTI: 1997 KWPN gelding by Lancelot xx Renville
TODD MINIKUS (USA), TODD MINIKUS LTD: 4/80.36                   
11. SASSICAIA II: 1996 KWPN mare by Kojak xx Boreas
12. QUICK STUDY: 1999 Selle Francais gelding by Quick Star xx What a Joy
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), LAURA MATEO: 4/81.24         

The 2010 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 13 through April 4. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $5.5 million in prize money will be awarded.

WEF is proud to be supported by their title sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc. FTI Consulting, Inc. exists to help companies and their stakeholders protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex economic, legal and regulatory environment.  FTI is the trusted advisor entrenched in many of the game-changing events that make headlines, move markets and create business history. For more information, please visit www.fticonsulting.com.

During the 12 weeks of WEF, “Saturday Night Lights” headlines the entertainment each Saturday night where spectators not only enjoy the Grand Prix class, but a street carnival, live music, and numerous dining options with box seats, sports bars, and the famed Tiki Hut for front row fun.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.