INDIO, CA (March 11, 2001)--Molly Warmington, 22, of Newport Beach, California, riding Laudatius, bested a field of 64 riders to win the $25,000 Junior/Young Rider/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic at the Indio Desert Circuit in California today. The class was a Zone X Young Rider Selection Trial for the 2001 North American Young Rider Championships and an official Zone 10 Prix des States Qualifying Event for the 2001 Junior Jumper Championships. Warmington has been riding since she was five years old and currently trains with Ginnie Bryant in San Juan Capistrano. As owner/rider, Warmington took home $7,500 in prize money for her victory.
Olympic Team Gold and Individual Silver Medallist, Conrad Homfeld of Southampton, New York, designed today's course. Round One included a double at Fence No. 5, another double at Fence. No 11, and a third double combination at Fence No. 14, the final jump. Two riders were eliminated for refusals, six were eliminated in falls, and five riders elected to retire on course. Four riders went clean and moved on to the Jump-Off.
Warmington rode two horses in Round One. With Mr. Pacific, who went 30th in the order, she had a refusal and time penalties, for a total of 6-1/4 faults. Laudatius was the 50th horse to go and was the second horse to have a clean round. "It was a tough course," said Warmington. "I rode my first one not very well and so I kind of kicked myself. I said, 'I've got to ride this better'. With Conrad's courses you have to be so right on because it's so technical. So the second ride--Laudatius--was very good. He listened at all the places when I sent him forward and when I collected him back to the tight spots. He's a very clean-jumping horse. That worked totally to my advantage out there. He cleared all the oxers. He just wants to be careful. He doesn't want to touch a rail. He's a stallion, so he really hates being in trouble. He really is a person-pleaser and he loves it when he's good for me. "
For the Jump-Off, Homfeld built a seven-obstacle short course with no combinations. Andrea Strain of Langley, British Columbia, riding her Airmail was first in the order and set the pace with a clear round in 39.162, but she ended up in second place, taking home $5,500. Warmington on Laudatius was next to go, and took the lead with a clear round in 37.400--a time that proved to be unbeatable. Travis Lubow of Bell Canyon, California, on his Ukase du Marais was third in the order and had a rail for four faults in 40.262 finishing fourth for $2,000. Last to go was Ashlee Bond of Hidden Hills, California, on her Lapaloupe, who gave the leaders a run for the money, clocking in clear at 39.416, but she had to settle for third place and $3,250.
Warmington had a precise strategy in mind for the Jump-Off. "I watched the first girl go and luckily I could see her tracks," said Warmington. "I just stayed about a foot inside of her all the way around and I just kept going. He's so careful that I can just push him in a jump-off and he gets his legs out of the way."
Laudatius is a 16.1-hand, 12-year-old Oldenburg that Warmington imported from Germany three years ago. "He hasn't done a whole lot in his life. He was a breeding stallion for a couple of years," said Warmington. "He's a great horse and he's gotten better and better. He's grown up. He did a couple of Grand Prixes last year. We started him doing that. This was certainly big enough--this was probably a small Grand Prix. That's where he's at right now--still making the transition. He was doing 4'3" over in Germany. We've taught each other along the way. I'm very proud of how he went today."
Today's class was also a qualifying Grand Prix for the Cosequin® U.S. Grand Prix League Invitational Finals to be held in Culpeper, Virginia, September 26-30, 2001.