Wellington, Fla.—March 27
Beezie Madden didn’t enter Cortes ‘C’ in the $50,000 Ruby Et Violette WEF Challenge Cup 12 thinking she’d run for the top check. Like most of the 69 starters she used that class as a warm up for Saturday’ $500,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix Finale, the feature class of Week 12 of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival. But when it came her turn to jump off, she changed her plan.
“In the beginning I was going to just hunt around nice, then it looked like I could take a shot at winning without taking a lot of risk,” said Madden, Cazenovia, N.Y.
So that’s what she did. Second last to jump off, Madden let the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Randel Z—Orchidee van de Tombeele, Darco) go a bit, but even at moderate jump-off pace Cortes still looked relaxed.
“He’s fantastic. He just canters around and jumps over the fences. He makes my job very easy,” said Madden. “I know him quite well by now. I know where I can leave one out. He’s so solid about everything, I don’t feel like I have to do this, or I have to do that. I can do whatever’s best to jump the course clear.”
Today that meant slicing a turn back to an in-and-out in Anthony D’Ambrosio’s jump-off course to relegate Eric Lamaze and Zigali PS to second. Jessica Springsteen finished third on Vindicat W.
This marks Cortes’ second win in the WEF Challenge Cup series this season. To prepare for today Madden let him get a few bucks out on the longe line this morning, as he hadn’t shown in several weeks and a brisk breeze ran through the Palm Beach Equestrian Center. He’ll have a day of light flatwork and come back on Saturday night.
Cortes got the call for the biggest class of circuit as Madden’s decided to take her partner in last year’s Rolex FEI World Cup Final win, Simon, back to that event. After she rides Cortes at the $200,000 Gene Mische American Invitational in Miami, she’ll head to Europe with Simon for the Final in Lyon, France. This year there’s not a European indoor competition that works well for a warm up, so Madden has a back-up plan. She and Leslie Howard are planning to stay at a farm where they can set a tough course in an indoor and get a few test runs inside.
Are you a serious Beezie Madden fan? Check out this amazing photo sequence from earlier this season of her showing off some serious stickability.