Mario_at_2009_WEF_copy.jpgCanada’s Mario Deslauriers aboard Lutopia won the $25,000 Gold Coast Feed Speed Derby at the first headline event of the 2009 FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Sunday. Jimmy Torano on Heechhiem’s Tampa won the $25,000 Gold Coast Feed Six-Bar Competition.

Deslauriers, who been riding Lutopia, owned by Jane F. Clark, since August last year, was fault-free in 104.276 secs. to beat out 19 other riders for the top prize of $7,500.

Leslie Howard, of Westport, Conn. was also fault-free, on Lennox Lewis 2, 2.088 secs. further back to place second. Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y. on Prima rounded out the top three to take home $5,5000.

Deslauriers had great confidence in his horse going into the competition with a course of 21 jumps including a bank and a table that was designed by Olympic course designer Steve Stephens.

He said he just “let her do her thing.”

The long derby course during the first week of WEF proved to be more of a challenge to the rest of the field. A blue and white lattice one-stride positioned by the in-gate of the International Arena gave many of the riders a tough time. It led to two riders being dismounted and two others ran out.

The crowd that came out in perfect South Florida tropical weather were excited by the twin bill of the speed class and a six-bar competition of nine combinations.

Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. won the six-bar on the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood that he has owned since August last year. The gelding had won a six-bar in The Netherlands before he bought him.

“The jump was not a big deal,” he said of the final jump which reached a height of 6 ft. 3 ins. “I had jumped him at six feet earlier in the week so I knew it would not be a problem.”

$25,000 Gold Coast Feed Speed Derby

Pl  Horse                         Rider                            Nat        Faults           Time

1.  LUTOPIA                    MARIO DESLAURIERS    CAN       0                  104.276

2.  LENNOX LEWIS 2        LESLIE HOWARD           USA        0                 106.364

3 . PRIMA                       BEEZIE MADDEN           USA        4                 109.290

4.  CHILI PEPPER            LAURA CHAPOT             USA        4                 109.358

5   BRADBERRY              LAURA CHAPOT             USA        8                 110.814

$25,000 Gold Coast Feed Six-Bar Competition

Pl   Horse                             Rider                           Faults


1. HEECHHIEM’S TAMPA         JIMMY TORANO            0

2T. PAPAGANO 077               PABLO GAMBOA           4

2T SHAKESPEARE                 MICHAEL TOKARUK       4

2T  OKIDO                           CODY AUER                  4