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McLain Ward Wins $25,000 Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions Grand Prix at Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions presented by State Line Tack

Gladstone, NJ- McLain Ward of Brewster, NY rode Viktor, the Dutch gelding he co-owns with Harry Gill, to the top of the $25,000 Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions Grand Prix presented by State Line Tack Friday at the Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions held at the USET Olympic Training Center in Gladstone, NJ.

Out of a starting field of 13 horse-and-rider combinations, six qualified for the jump-ff by riding clear in the first round. All six of the combinations in the jump-off went clear again so the final standings came down to the numbers on the clock. The first to go in the jump-off, Candice King, set the standard by going clear and fast with a time of 40.109 seconds. After King set the pace, the jump-off continued to get faster as Ward on his first mount, Rio, Nona Garson on Capital S, and Kim Frey on Conowara laid down fast trips.

The competition came down to the last two riders, Ward and Margie Engle, who currently sit at the number one and two positions respectively on the USET Computer List. The second to last rider to go, Engle, on Hidden Creek’s Perin, beat the previous riders’ times by over two seconds. Ward proved that he was up the challenge of going even faster and crossed through the timers a mere two- tenths of a second faster than Engle.

Ward was impressed with the caliber of competition in the class. “There were 12 or 15 very good horses here today,” he commented. “It was a very nice group of horses today and an extremely fast jump off.”

The Bayer USET Festival of Champions continues for the jumper riders at what Friday’s Grand Prix winner calls a “beautiful venue here at the USET.” Many of the riders who competed in the $25,000 Bayer/ USET Festival of Champions Grand Prix used the class to help prepare themselves and their horses for the main event of the Festival to take place on Sunday, the $50,000 Rolex/USET Show Jumping Championship.

Further information and results of the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions Presented by State Line Tack are available at the USET website at

The United States Equestrian Team is a non-profit organization that selects, trains, equips and finances equestrians of the highest possible standard to represent our country in major international competition, including the Olympic Games and the World Championships. To accomplish this, the USET seeks out and nurtures the development of talented athletes - riders, drivers and horses - and provides the support and guidance they need to help them attain their fullest potential. For more information on the USET, please call (908) 234-1251, or visit USET ONLINE at


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