Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mario Deslauriers wins American Invitational equestrian title in Tampa

TAMPA — Mario Deslauriers won the $200,000 American Invitational on Saturday night after defeating 31 other riders under the lights of Raymond James Stadium.

Deslauriers, 47, captured the title over four other riders who made it to Olympic course designer Steve Stephen's shorter, faster jump-off. Deslauriers won with a time of 44.50 seconds, defeating Molly Ashe-Cawley by 1.31 seconds before a crowd of more than 8,000. The 41-year-old Wellington resident also won the Invitational in 2001 and 2002.

Beezie Madden, 48, of Cazenovia, N.Y., was in contention early with her time of 46.31 but finished third. She was the Invitational winner in 2005 and 2007.

Deslauriers said his horse Cella, who just recovered from a toothache, performed very well in the first round and "jumped even better in the jump-off." It was her first major (Grand Prix) class in three weeks.

"To walk in here and do this," he said. "She's incredible."

Madden said this was the "first real appearance" of her horse Simon. She said she could have pushed harder to go faster.

Ashe-Cawley said her horse Carissimo "has been working his way toward this (event). He's a great horse."

Last year's champion, 31-year-old Kent Farrington of Greenwich, Conn., lost his bid for the title when he had one knockdown for four faults and a time of 45.10 seconds. Charlie Jayne, 26, of Elgin, Ill., was the fifth rider in the jump-off but incurred three knockdowns and a time penalty of 51.59 seconds, over the 50 seconds allowed.

The five were the only riders to complete the first round without a fault, forcing the jump-off.

Deslauriers won $60,000. Ashe-Cawley won $40,000, and Madden took home $30,000.

This was the 40th anniversary of the prestigious world-class event, named after its late founder, Gene Mische. The field of contenders included a corps of Olympians and international champions.

Opening ceremonies included a parade of horses representing nine breeds: Akhal-Teke, Appaloosa, Friesian, Morgan, Paint, Quarter Horse, Saddlebred, Trakehner and Gypsy Vanner. The fans cheered when the black and white Gypsy Vanner bowed before leaving the stadium. The crowd went wild with the next act — a trick rider who stood on the backs of two horses while twice jumping over a flaming pipe. The feat was especially impressive because horses have a natural fear of fire.

Mario Deslauriers wins American Invitational equestrian title in Tampa 04/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve


    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]