Competition narrowing down Olympic hopefuls


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. -- Peter Wylde had a perfect trip on Fein Cera and moved into the lead at the trials for the Olympic show jumping team on Saturday.

Wylde, aboard the same horse with which he won the individual bronze medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Spain, had one of three faultless performances in the single-round competition -- the fourth of six trial rounds -- at the Oaks Blenheim Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park

Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, Fla., on Gardenio, and Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., aboard Judgement, were tied with Wylde.

The riders, competing for four remaining spots on the Olympic short list, were tested on a 16-jump course designed by Leopoldo Palacios, who also laid out the route for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Chris Kappler of Flemington, N.J., made the list in April after being excused from the trials because of his outstanding record with the stallion Royal Kaliber.

Madden was among those who had no jumping faults but incurred a single time penalty Saturday. She dropped from first after the initial three trials in Del Mar, Calif., last weekend and now is third with seven penalties overall with De Silvio, and fourth with eight penalties with her other horse, Authentic. Others with only a single time fault were McLain Ward of Bedford, N.Y., Lauren Hough of Wellington, Fla.

Wylde has four penalties over four trials rounds.

The competition ends Sunday with back-to-back classes. The rest of the short list, in addition to Kappler, is expected to be named by Tuesday.

The five riders on the short list will go to Europe next month and continue their Olympic preparation at shows in Germany.