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WEF WEEK 1: January 28 - February 1, Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI***

McLain Ward And Quickstar Win 1.45 Meter Jeffery Welles Aboard Ursa Major Wins 1.40 Meter

WELLINGTON, FL - January 28, 2004 - The 32nd annual Winter Equestrian Festival opened today at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club show grounds in Wellington, Florida, with the five-day Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI***. The 2004 WEF runs from January 28 through March 21 in Wellington, and March 24 through April 3 in Tampa, Florida.

Highlighting today's 32 competitions in eight rings were two heavily contested jumper classes in the Internationale Arena. In the morning class, McLain Ward riding Quickstar II Z won the $7,500 1.45m, Time First Jump-Off Table II, Sec 2(b) class, besting 44 entries. In the afternoon, Jeffery Welles aboard Ursa Major won the $5,000 1.40m, Faults Converted Into Seconds, Table III class, topping a whopping roster of 120 entries. Course designer for the week is Javier Fernandez.

In the $7,500 Time First class, riders negotiated a 14-effort course. Those that went clear immediately tackled the eight-effort jump-off course. With only four riders to follow, Ward put in two clean rounds, completing the jump-off in 35.119 seconds, edging out Federico Sztyrle aboard Mythos who had led for most of the class. "It was nice to start off with a win," said Ward, 38 of Brewster, NY. "Quickstar is a new horse for me and my sponsor, Double H Farm and the Harrison family. We've put together a great partnership and a great string of horses, so this is a great start to the year. We showed her two weeks ago in a Littlewood Grand Prix - it was the first class we ever showed her in and she won that. This is her second class and she won that, so we're two for two. We'll keep knocking on the door." Quickstar II Z is a 10-year-old, 16.2-hand, French-bred, bay mare.

Jeffery Welles went 50th in the order and posted a clear round in 64.027, then had to wait for 70 more riders to see if the time held up in the $5,000 Faults Converted class in which every knockdown added four seconds to the rider's time. "It's a big field and he really covers the ground, so I didn't feel like I was having to fly around too much," said Welles, 41, of Pound Ridge, NY. "He was good on the turns and jumped very well at the same time - the speed didn't interfere with his jump." Ursa Major is an 11-year-old, bay, 17-hand, Belgian gelding owned by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Croft.

Welles pointed out that many of the riders were in the class more to train than to win, getting their horses used to the big ring on the first day. But his game plan was different. "He's a seasoned horse. I'm not showing him in the grand prix this week; if he were showing in the grand prix, maybe I'd go a little slower and take it easy but he's got a cool head and it doesn't really upset him to gallop like that. Some horses that are hot get quick and flat, so it's not really the best thing to gallop and really go for it the first class, but a horse like him it doesn't affect him in a bad way. He's a horse that likes a little bit of a challenge. I went in to try and take a nice gallop around and take a shot at it."

For full results of today's classes, 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.

January 28 - February 1 Nutrena/Western Hay Wellington Classic CSI***
February 4 - 8 Bayer/USET Gold Coast Jumper Classic CSI***
February 5 - 8 Wellington Dressage (Qualifier for Olympic Selection Trials)
February 11 - 15 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale CSI***
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 1 $35,000 Farr XTN Grand Prix of Palm Beach, presented by Western Hay, CSI**
February 8 $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup, CSI***
February 15 $50,000 Kilkenny/ICH Internationale Cup, CSI***
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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