Andretti S Takes Second Place Finish During $35,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round I at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival

The first week of the Winter Equestrian Festival kicked off with a phenomenal start for Cherry Knoll Farm and Olympian Laura Kraut. On the opening day of the show, Kraut and Constable II, owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, put in a clear round during the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper speed class in 74.224 seconds for the eighth place finish, while barn mate Andretti S, owned by the Stars and Stripes syndicate of which Cherry Knoll Farm is part of, narrowly passed Constable II for the seventh place finish in 72.217 seconds. It proved a strong warm-up for the chestnut geldings, who entered into the first round of the $35,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round I and came away with double-clear rounds.

Only 12 horse and rider combinations of the 48 contending advanced into the Eric Hasbrouck-designed jump-off in the International Arena during Thursday's $35,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round I. Laura Kraut and Andretti S were the early clear pathfinders in the class, and they were the first to return to jump-off, setting the time to beat at a quick and clear 36.073 seconds.

"He felt great, both yesterday and today," Kraut said. "He doesn't feel like he's missed a beat. I jumped him in the Thanksgiving show, and he was very, very good then. I made a little bit of a mistake last year and gave him a large break, and it took me almost the entire year to get him back in form. So I made up my mind that I was going to come right out of the gates this year, and he started well. I'm really happy with him."

De Miranda and AD Nouvelle Europe Z, owned by Victory Equestrian Sport BV and A.A. De Miranda Neto, were the very next to return, and the pair cut Kraut's time at the top of leaderboard short with their clear time of 35.262 seconds.

While 10 other combinations would come after Kraut and De Miranda, none would catch the quickest two, giving De Miranda the victory and Kraut and Andretti S the second place finish. Third place would go to Filip De Wandel and his own Gentley with a time of 36.221 seconds, while Kraut would also round out the top four aboard Cherry Knoll Farm's Constable II.

"Constable just turned 9, so this is sort of his coming out year," Kraut said. "I have four 9-year-olds right now, so I'm having to sort of stagger them, and Constable is probably the one with the most amount of mileage so I thought I'd begin him this week, and I'm really pleased with him."

Kraut plans to alternate weeks of showing Constable II and Andretti S with a number of her other mounts during the 2016 WEF. To learn more about Cherry Knoll Farm, please visit www.cherryknollfarminc.com. For more on Laura Kraut, please visit www.laurakraut.com.