Abigail McArdle and Victorio 5 topped a field of 85 entries to win the $37,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 CSI3* on Thursday, January 23, during week three of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
On their way to the win in Thursday’s featured class, McArdle and Victorio 5 were one of 11 entries to navigate the first-round course without fault and elect to return to face-off over the Kelvin Bywater (GBR) designed short course.
When McArdle returned to the ring, the time to beat had been set at 45.39 seconds by Lucas Porter (USA) and C Hunter, owned by Sleepy P Ranch, but quick foot speed and a skillful slice to one fence in particular would ultimately clinch the victory for McArdle with an unbeatable time of 43.98 seconds. Porter’s time held up for second place, while third place with a time of 46.98 seconds went to Jessica Springsteen (USA) and RMF Tinkerbell, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm LLC.
“I’ve never won a WEF [Challenge Cup] before; this is a first, so I’m very, very happy!” said McArdle, 25. “It was a very difficult first round track; I went for it in the jump-off, and it paid off.”
McArdle has been partnered with Victorio 5 for the last years and has been moving the 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion (by Uccello), owned by Victorio Equine Group, up the ranks since riding him to top results in the Under 25 division.
“We’ve been building up,” said McArdle, who rides with Plain Bay Sales LLC, and who will now point Victorio 5 at Saturday night’s $137,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI3*. “It’s such a good horse. He really deserves this win; he’s just the best horse in the world. He’s freaky careful, super brave, and easy.”