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March 30, 2012

Michaels-Beerbaum Surprises Herself With A One-Two Win

They score their first major win together in the last Challenge Cup of the 2012 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

Wellington, Fla.—March 29

By the time Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum went into the jump-off for the WEF Challenge Cup 12 aboard Cantano, she was already guaranteed the top check.

She had laid down a speedy clear round aboard longtime partner Checkmate, but that didn’t stop her from going for broke aboard her newer mount, Cantano. That bold move paid off, with Cantano outrunning his veteran barnmate to take blue at the final class in the series at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival.

Cantano won a 1.50-meter class earlier in the season with Michaels-Beerbaum by logging the only clear, but she decided to test out her gas pedal when it came time to jump off.

“I thought I was going to try for second place to be honest,” said Michaels-Beerbaum. "I don’t know his speed, but he was really on it. When I looked up at the timers I was even a little bit surprised. It was hard to measure how fast I was going or how fast that horse is.”

Watch their jump-off below.

Michaels-Beerbaum paired up with the Holsteiner (Cascavelle—Loretta, Acord) in the fall of last year. Previously the stallion had been piloted by Susie Hutchison, who had good success with him on the West Coast circuit.

It looked like Nick Skelton—who has had an incredible run in this series aboard Big Star—might bring his WEF Challenge Cup count to 10 for the season. But he ticked a rail behind in a bid to outrun Michaels-Beerbaum.

“I didn’t have much time between my horses to watch him,” she said. “I only heard the awww and saw the 4 points on the board for that last rail down. I’m glad I made him run for the money!”

Michaels-Beerbaum will campaign her newer mount Bella Donna in Saturday’s $500,000 FTI Consulting CSI***** then head to Tampa for the Gene Mische American Invitational before returning to her home base in Germany.

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