Beezie Madden And DeSilvio Win $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, Presented By Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W At Winter Equestrian Festival
TAMPA, FL – March 28, 2004 – Beezie Madden, 40, of Cazenovia, NY, riding DeSilvio for owner Abigail Wexner bested a field of 36 riders to win the $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, Presented By Kilkenny/ICH at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center in Tampa, FL, today. The victory wrapped up Week 9, the Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W, of the Winter Equestrian Festival. Madden and DeSilvio were the fastest of six double-clear performances, topping the nine-horse Jump-Off. Derek Petersen, 37, of Archer, FL, aboard his own Promised Land placed second. Alison Firestone, 27, of Upperville, VA, riding Casanova for owners Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone placed third. The Grand Prix was a World Cup Qualifier, a Final Qualifying Class for the Budweiser American Invitational, and a Qualifying Competition for the AGA Grand Prix Series.
“He was great,” said Madden of DeSilvio, a nine-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding by Silvio that she’s had the ride on for four years. “Actually I’ve been very pleased with him this whole circuit. He’s done three Sunday classes and he placed sixth in the first one, second in the next one, and now he won this one, so he’s had an incredible circuit.” Madden plans to ride DeSilvio next in the Charlotte Jumper Classic and then the Olympic Trials. As a member of the 2003 Pan Am Gold Medal Team, Madden is automatically invited as one of the 30 riders who will compete in the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune on April 3, and she has chosen Authentic for her mount. Though she is ranked 8th in the current World Cup Standings with one more qualifier to come, Madden has chosen not to aim for the World Cup Final in Milan, Italy, at the end of April and will focus instead on the Athens Olympic Games Selection Trials in May. Madden earned $22,500 for her victory today.
Brazil’s Guilherme Nogueira Jorge designed a Round One course of 16-efforts that included a double at No. 7 and a triple at No. 10 with Time Allowed set at 88 seconds. “It suited my horse. The triple combination, which was a little bit scopey for some – he does that easy and he was very ride-able today,” said Madden. Almost half the field was unable to get through the triple with 17 horses logging faults. The last jump in the first round was “the test of the course,” according to Petersen, and it proved to be a heartbreaker for several favorites who rode clean until that final fence – Laura Kraut on Allegiance, Molly Ashe on Resolute, and Aaron Vale on Picasso S 2. “A plank is always difficult to jump because the depth perception is different from a round rail,” explained Madden of the 5’3” obstacle. “It was a tall fence – some of them were tired going away from the gate. Some of them thought they were finished. It gave the rider a long time to get nervous going down to it because there was no set distance to it. You just had to measure it yourself.” Madden, Petersen, and Firestone agreed that the 88-second time allowed was lenient.
Going into the eight-effort Jump-Off, Firestone led off the roster of nine horses and posted a clear round with Casanova in 38.91 over the eight-effort tiebreaker with time allowed set at 48 seconds. Firestone’s lead was short-lived when Madden took to the ring next with and DeSilvio shaved almost a full second off her time, going clean in 37.95. Madden’s pace held up as the next seven riders chased her time, but she could not be caught, even with four more clear trips. Coming closest was Petersen and Promised Land who clocked in at 38.10, claiming second place and edging Firestone into third. Megan Lamaze of Schomberg, Ontario riding Chardo for Stoney Hill was clean in 40.84 for fourth. Anne Kursinski of Frenchtown, NJ, and Great Point owned by Lila Kommerstad were fault-free in 41.07 for fifth. Kim Frey of Hume, VA, riding Marlou for Windmill Ranch LLC left all the jumps up and broke the beam at 41.20 for sixth.
For Derek Petersen, the second place finish earned him $16,500 and moved him up in the standings for the American Invitational from 39th to 14th place, allowing him to compete in the $200,000 class on April 3. “He’ll go to the Invitational, which has been a dream of mine,” said Petersen, who is originally from Pennsylvania but grew up in South Africa, and then upon returning to the US in 1986 got his first job – working for Gene Mische’s jump crew in the American Invitational. “I had no money and I told the other guys ‘I’m going to be riding in this one day’ and they thought it was kind of funny,” said Petersen. Petersen said he did not watch the winning jump-off ride, but had his own strategy. “I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to go as fast as I could and leave the jumps up.” Petersen said he is not aiming for the World Cup Final.
Firestone was ranked 8th in the standings for the American Invitational and with her earnings today, $9,750, she moved up to 7th place. She plans to ride Casanova in the Invitational. “With Casanova in the jump-offs I’m just starting to really get the hang of really going fast with him,” Firestone said, who has been riding the 14-year-old Swedish gelding by Cortez for four years. “This is probably one of my faster jump-offs with him,” she said. “It’s definitely taken a while to get him in the groove. Actually Beezie has helped me some with him and I felt like I did exactly my plan with him. The only part I got held up was rolling back to number 15, it felt like I did one or two extra strides there.” Firestone is not aiming for the World Cup but is focusing on the Olympic Selection Trials with Casanova.
Madden noted that Firestone’s horse is quicker than hers, but that DeSilvio has the longer stride, which helped her secure the win. “She ended up doing one more stride than me in the two straight lines and I knew I could do one less than her horse,” explained Madden, noting that her mount is still learning to make adjustments, which formed her strategy. “He’s learning to be clever but switching gears is difficult for him so I just tried to set the pace on my approach to fence one and tried to keep it the same. That’s the way I can be fastest with him because if I have to hold up and then start again I lose time with him.”
Madden won the 20-year-old Grand Prix of Tampa for the first time 11 years ago, and did not believe she was going to win it again today, pointing out that her time was beatable. “I was hoping it would be enough pressure that people would have faults trying to catch me. I tried to set the pace and not interfere with the pace.” She noted there were two places on course, going to No. 15 where she slowed on the turn, and going to the final fence where she did nine strides when eight was possible. “I could have been beaten but it wasn’t so easy to be clear either,” she said.