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Rafalca out of contention; Romney VP announcement expected soon

August 07, 2012|By Robin Abcarian
  • Jan Ebeling seen riding Rafalca on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Greenwich Park in London.
Jan Ebeling seen riding Rafalca on Day 11 of the London 2012 Olympic Games… (Alex Livesey / Getty Images )

Too bad they don’t give out Olympic medals for garnering attention. If they did, Ann Romney’s horse, Rafalca, would have been a shoo-in for gold, as the horse’s presence in the dressage competition at the London Games generated international publicity for the rarefied sport.

As it turned out, though, this was not Rafalca’s moment to shine.

The 15-year-old mare, ridden by Ann Romney’s trainer, Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, was eliminated from competition Tuesday, finishing 28th out of a field of 50 horses and riders in the Grand Prix Special. Only the top 18 pairs advance to the final dressage event, Thursday’s freestyle competition. (The team gold medal in dressage was won by Great Britain, which upset the German team. The Netherlands earned bronze. The U.S. team finished fifth.)

Romney, who visited her ancestral country of Wales over the weekend, was back in London on Tuesday, in the VIP stands for the competition. She did not sound disappointed at all.

“It was wonderful,” she told CBS Sports. Rafalca, she said, “was elegant and consistent again. We just love her.”

All of which is fascinating to dressage fans, but hardly the political point.

Which is: Now that Rafalca’s Olympics turn has come to an end, Romney can return to American soil, and her husband, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, can finally announce his vice presidential pick with his wife at his side.

Mitt Romney’s campaign did not respond to an inquiry about his wife’s travel plans. Her husband, however, is preparing to launch a four-day bus tour this weekend that will take him to some states that are expected to be hotly contested in November.

The Romney Plan for a Strong Middle Class tour will begin on Saturday in Virginia, then roll into North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, where Romney is expected to be joined by someone many believe is at the top of his list for No. 2: Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

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robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Twitter: @RobinAbcarian

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