Wellington, Fla. – March, 4 2017 – Eugenio Garza of Mexico secured the win Saturday afternoon in the $35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix during Week Eight of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. With a blazing fast jump-off time of 31.105 seconds, the speedy duo was the faster of two horse-and-rider combinations to clear the jump-off with no faults.
Garza won the class on Victer Finn DH Z, a 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by El Milagro.
“Victer is the son of the first grand prix mare I ever had,” said Garza. “That mare was pretty much the horse that got me into riding, but she never really got to show because of injuries. We got Victer in May of last year. He is an amazing horse and he has so much heart plus all of the good qualities of his mother.”
“I was fortunate enough to go towards the later end of the jump-off,” continued Garza. “We just tried to be efficient in the turns and it all came up really nicely except for the last jump where I tried to leave out a stride, thankfully Victer helped me out there. Victer tried his heart out today and I couldn’t be happier with our results.”
Garza was also awarded the prestigious style award on Saturday, sponsored by Champion Equine Insurance. At each week of WEF, Laura Fetterman presents the Champion Equine Insurance Jumper Style Award to a rider who has demonstrated a special presence in the show ring.
The jump-off field was narrowed down to seven competitors from the original 49 starters. With a jump-off time of 32.213 seconds, Jennifer Gates and Pumped Up Kicks, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Evergate Stable LLC, were the only other duo able to produce a double-clear round over the Ken Krome-designed course set in the International Arena.
“I did the U25 this week in preparation for the 5* next week with Kicks,” said Gates. “After the 4* we did a few weeks ago, he has had some time off, which has been nice.
“Going into the jump-off I was trying to work on my turns,” continued Gates. “Usually I’m really slow in the jump-off so I was just really happy to have a clear and efficient round. I knew someone would probably catch me but I was really happy with our round and felt like I was able to better prepare myself for next week.”
With a single rail and a jump-off time of 30.555 seconds, Alex Matz and Cashew CR, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Dorothy Matz, rounded out the top three.
“Cashew tries tremendously every round and he has all of the ability in the world,” Matz said. “I’m happy with Cashew — it has taken a bit for us to really mesh and this is only the third U25 class I’ve done.”
Developed as a bridge to the international levels of grand prix competition, the under 25 series provides young riders experience in higher-level classes without having to compete against older and more experienced professional riders. Placing well in each class is key as the top 30 riders in the series standings will qualify for the $50,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix Final to be held on Sunday, April 2.
$35,000 Hollow Creek Farm Under 25 Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Faults / JO Faults | Time
1. Victer Finn DH Z / Eugenio Garza / 0 / 0 | 31.10
2. Pumped Up Kicks / Jennifer Gates / 0 / 0 | 33.21
3. Cashew CR / Alex Matz / 0 / 4 | 30.55
4. Diamonte Darco / Lucas Porter / 0 / 4 | 31.00
5. Cippolini VD Gas / Adam Rittenberg / 0 / 4 | 34.22
6. Rivale Du Barque / Spencer Smith / 0 / 8 | 32.5
7. Casper / Ailish Cunniffe / 0 / 8 | 35.68
8. Tosca Du Feugre / Lauren Fischer / 1 | 74.67