Wellington, Florida, USA – February 23, 2022 – International jumper and national hunter, jumper, and equitation competition debuted Wednesday for the start of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival’s (WEF) week 7, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds. The seventh week features FEI-rated five-star and two-star competition and will highlight the $406,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI 5* during “Saturday Night Lights” on February 26. On Wednesday, February 23, the highlight class was the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 5*. Speed class specialists McLain Ward (USA) and Catoki claimed the victory in the class.
Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) track had 57 combinations contest the two-phase course. Representatives from 15 different countries made up the field during one of the series’ top weeks. By the halfway mark of the class, Ward and Catoki resided in the top position having cleared both phases clean with a blazing time of 32.26 seconds.
Ward and the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding (Catoki x Caretello B), owned by Marilla Van Beuren, Bob Russell, and McLain Ward, are no strangers to a victory gallop at WEF having had top placings already this season including a win in the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix during WEF 1.
“This is really Catoki’s job and what he excels at is these five-star speed and ranking classes,” explained Ward. “He is naturally so fast that you don’t have to do anything extreme which automatically gives you better odds.”
“I thought the course was friendly today,” continued Ward. “It was a bit short, which is never a bad thing for my horse. You can see these classes are super competitive right now, and the level of quality competition here is very high. You have to do everything you can and hope you come out on top.”
Final Results – $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI 5*
1) McLain Ward (USA) & Catoki – 0 / 0 – 32.26
2) Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) & Dirka de Blondel – 0 / 0 – 32.34
3) Katie Laurie (USA) & Cera Caruso – 0 / 0 – 32.52
Source: Press Release Summer Grace and Amanda Picciotto Feitosa / Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot