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Alison Firestone And Iceburg Win $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup CSI***

WELLINGTON, FL - February 15, 2004 - Topping a field of 37 riders, Alison Firestone, 27, of Upperville, Virginia, aboard Iceburg for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone, won the $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup CSI*** today at the 32nd Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. In the 10-horse jump-off, five horses went clean with Firestone racing just splits in front of Anne Kursinski aboard Sun God who placed second, and Kimberly Frey riding Marlou who placed third. Frank Rothenberger of Germany designed the course.

The 16-effort Round One track was something of an enigma - one-third of the field went clean, yet three retired on course and those with faults chalked up several, with nine riders going into the double digits. "Most riders if you stood at the ingate would tell you, we were all surprised [at the number clear]. I thought that was tougher than that," said Kursinski, 45, of Frenchtown, New Jersey. "The horses jumped well, they just jumped well." She noted that Rothenberger removed the water jump from the original track most likely due to the heavy rains that preceded the event and by doing so altered the difficulty.

Firestone described the course as 'technical' and that the most difficult parts of it were the lines to the combinations. Rothenberger set an early triple at Fence 4 with a huge triple bar at Fence 3 leading up to it, and a double at Fence 12 heading straight to a final oxer at the outer edge of the field. "To have a triple combination that early in the course, and a big triple bar coming in, it's always tough to get your horses going for that," explained Firestone. "Usually it's a little bit nicer for the horses to have a big combination like that towards the end of the course. Their stride usually opens up a little bit after galloping on the field. The blue in-and-out (No. 12) was very tight inside, and either a very tight five to another wide oxer or a really forward four. If the line had been set the other direction, towards the ingate, I think everyone would have done four because the horses would have wanted to go, but to have to go into that corner towards the scoreboard, they all were backing off from it. I expected mine to back off a little bit. I was planning to do the four, but I landed just on the other side of the back rail so I fit in five."

Going into the jump-off Eric Lamaze, 36, of Schomberg, Ontario, led off aboard Tempete V/H Lindehof for owner Stacey Krembil, and set the pace with his clear trip in 41.040, which placed him fourth in the final results. Kursinski riding Sun God for owners Ron and Cheryl Krise immediately took over the lead with her clean trip in 39.23, which held up for the next five riders, including two more clear trips. Kate Levy clocked in clean at 44.13, which put her fifth, and Kim Frey riding Marlou for owner Windmill Ranch LLC tripped the timers at 39.66 for third place. But it was Alison Firestone and Iceburg who edged Kursinski into second place and took the victory with 39.17 seconds. Two more riders chased her but incurred faults in slower time.

Though she had the advantage of going last in the Jump-off, Firestone said she did not see Kursinski's ride so did not strategize off that trip. "I took a little shot to the second jump and then I slowed down over to the outside line because in the first round my horse got very surprised at how big the triple bar was," explained Firestone. "When he got there he felt like he took a second look at it, so I wanted to give him a really good ride down to the triple bar the second time. As soon as I got through the combination, then I just let him go. He's so careful I can take a shot at running down to the jumps a little bit."

Firestone is aiming for the Olympic Selection Trials this year, but not with the 14-year-old Iceburg.
"If I make the team for the Olympics, Casanova is the horse I want to take. He's jumped a lot of Championship courses and I think I have the best shot with him at the Olympics," she said. "Today, if I had both of them in the jump-off, Iceberg for sure would have been faster, but for a really huge, scopey track, Casanova is my horse for that."

Three-time Olympian Kursinski said it was her horse's biggest event yet since he was partnered with her a year ago. She also noted that Sun God, a nine year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding by Drossel Klang II, will join her 1992 Barcelona Olympic mount, Eros, in her quest for a fourth Olympics. "I would have liked to have won," she said of today's competition. "I'm tickled that he's as good as he was." She pointed out that the band, standing-room only crowd and atmosphere of the Sunday Grand Prix at WEF were all new to Sun God. "But he stayed totally focused in the ring. A good horse will do that. I wasn't just sure how he would react to all that and he rose to the occasion beautifully." Kursinski said she had the pedal all the way to the metal on her green Grand Prix mount. "We haven't gone that fast together over even a lot of smaller courses so I was delighted that he went that fast and left the jumps up," she said. "He has all the ability, now we need some mileage."

Frey was also aboard a new Grand Prix mount that she is aiming for the Olympic Selection Trials in May. "This is only my third big class," she said, pointing out that the 10-year-old Dutch mare by Jus de Pomme has only recently started the Thursday Challenge Cup Series of Grand Prix at WEF. "She's relatively young. When I walked the course I said, well let's see if she can jump this high. She's got a ton of ability and I'm really thrilled with her. She really rises to the occasion all the time, so although she hasn't done a lot of big courses I feel very confident. She's very, very confident herself. If I put that [Olympics] in front of her I'm sure she would give it her best shot."

For complete results, visit

Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information, visit or call 561-793-5867.

February 18 - 22 Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular CSI-W/Y CSI-Ch
February 19 - 22 Zada Enterprises, LLC Florida Dressage Classic
February 25 - 29 PDP Capital Wellington Masters CSI***
March 3 - 7 CN Wellington Open CSI-W
March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***
March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y
(Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)
April 3 Budweiser American Invitational (Raymond James Stadium)

February 22 $60,000 Idle Dice Classic, presented by Palm Beach Post, CSI-W
February 29 $75,000 PDP Capital Masters Cup, CSI***
March 7 $75,000 CN Wellington Open presented by Estates of Wellington Green, CDI-W
March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****
March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****
March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W
April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, presented by The Tampa Tribune


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