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October 26, 2008

Sapphire Stars In The President's Cup

Katherine Newman led the victory gallop after winning the Washington International Equitation Classic Final.

When McLain Ward gets his heart set on winning a grand prix,  he can be pretty tough to beat—especially when he saddles up Sapphire.

So when Ward set his sights on the $100,000 President’s Cup CSI-W at the Washington International Horse Show, he called on his 2008 Olympic partner to help him grab blue tonight, Oct. 25, in downtown Washington D.C.

“I like to win every day, but some days a little more than others,” said Ward, Brewster, N.Y. “What Sapphire’s done this year, well, she’s been spectacular, but I’ve had to pass up a lot of big grand prix in order to prepare for the Olympics. I decided to bring her here and to Syracuse because these were the two grand prix remaining in the season that really meant something to me that I really coveted. When you really want something you bring your biggest gun.”

Ward’s student, 21-year-old Angel Karolyi, finished second aboard Sun God, and Todd Minikus took third on Pavarotti.

Karolyi set the tone for a jump off with a conservative clear round and when other riders set out to best his time the wood started hitting the dirt.  Only Ward, who came back seventh of the eight jump-off contenders, could match his double clear.

Ward and Sapphire, owned by Bluechip Bloodstock and Ward, survived an awkward first jump-off fence when the quick-thinking mare started to turn just a bit earlier than his rider wanted. “I knew at that point she wasn’t going to have a fence down,” he said. “She’s such a careful horse, I just had to keep on kicking from there on in.”

“We’ve been so blessed to have this horse in our lives, and she just keeps doing and doing and doing,” he continued. “There’s nothing I can do to thank her.”

But Ward managed to find a way to reward Sapphire by giving her a well-deserved break after the Olympics.  The 13-year-old mare didn’t jump a single fence since the Olympics until the warm up before Thursday’s grand prix qualifier class.

Karolyi couldn’t have been happier to finish as runner-up to his mentor, his best finish in a big class since he came to the U.S. from his native Venezuela a year ago.  His mount, Sun God, got his start in the grand prix arena with Anne Kursinski.

“He’s like a teacher for me,” said Karolyi of the 13-year-old chestnut gelding. “Whenever I get nervous he just says hang on, I’ll take you along. He has a lot of experience so he’s a good horse for me.”

Newman Climbs to the Top

Katherine Newman proved that consistency counts as she jumped to the top of the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Classic Final today. Samantha Schaefer galloped up the standings to take second, and Matt Metell claimed third.

Newman, Upperville, Va., started out the day strong, lying eighth after the hunter phase of the three-round class to leave her in striking distance of the championship. As other riders made small mistakes, she stayed consistent to win the jumper portion on an average score of 92.67 and advance her name into the third spot.

During the third round the top ten riders swapped horses and repeated their jumper course—not a big challenge for Newman who first sat on her mount, Class Action, Wednesday. Newman, 18, drew Jessica Springsteen’s seasoned partner, Papillon 136, and produced a flowing, forward round to boost her to the top position.

“Even though I’d seen [Papillion] go before there was still a little bit of concern since I’d never ridden him before. We’re only given four warm-up jumps before the class,” said Newman.

Because this is Newman’s last indoor season as a junior rider, she’d had a goal set to win one of the equitation finals. “I’m usually not as good when I have to wait until the end of the day,” she said. “But today it worked out well.”

Newman trains with her parents, Gerry and Kathy Newman along with Jennifer Alfano from SBS Farms and Todd Minikus.

1. Katherine Newman        Upperville, Va.         269.41
2. Samantha Schaefer        Wesminster, Md.        266.16
3. Matt Metell            North Falmouth, Mass.    263.75
4. Kimberly McCormack    Clermont, N.J.            260.66
5. Laura Pfeiffer        Temperance, Mich.        253.66
6. Jessica Springsteen        Colts Neck, N.J,        249.83
7. Chase Boggio        Canton, Ga.            249.16
8. Carolyn Curcio        West Islip, N.Y.        240.74
9. Chelsea Moss        Medford, N.J.            240.00
10. Emma Lipman        Bedford, N.Y.            231.91
Res. Alex Biederman        Dallas, Texas            163.83

For full results click here

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