Nearly forty entries took to the Sanctuary Arena this afternoon for the $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. Speed and agility were the name of the game this afternoon with courses that offered few inside turn options and rewarded those that could leave out strides in several bending lines.
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix
David Beisel and his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan) stole the win in this afternoon’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix for the second week in a row. The course for the class, designed by Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky, featured fifteen jumping efforts including three combinations. Eight of seventeen entries managed a clear first round and returned for the jump off, but Beisel and his scopey bay gelding were unstoppable again this week.
Nicole Loochtan and her own Famoso D’IVE Z (For Pleasure x Radetzky) set the pace in this afternoon’s class. The pair earned a third place finish in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m at World Equestrian Center in December and were on form this afternoon. Loochtan and the twelve year old Belgian Warmblood gelding were quick and clear in the first round in a time of 73.119 seconds, well under the time allowed of 82 seconds. The pair returned first in the order for the jump off, managing a second clear round in just 36.127 seconds, challenging the remaining entries to beat their time.
Lisa Goldman-Smolen and her own As Di Sogrand (As Di Villagana x Grand Soso 2) trailed Loochtan and Famoso D’IVE Z by just fractions of a second. The pair took fifth place on Thursday in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m, preparing them well for this afternoon’s class. Goldman-Smolen and the nine year old Hanoverian gelding were clear in the first round in 68.762 seconds, signaling that they would be strong competitors in the jump off. They returned for the short course about mid-pack, taking one inside turn to the one stride combination and crossing the timers at 36.552 seconds, moving into second place.
David Beisel and his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan) were last to contest the course. The pair took top honors in last week’s $25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix and returned to the Sanctuary Arena this afternoon looking for another victory. Beisel and the ten year old KWPN gelding took a quieter approach to the first round, leaving all rails up in a time of 75.817 seconds. The pair returned last in the order for the jump off, gaining speed and hugging the inside track. The bay gelding flew through the timers at 35.767 seconds, easily moving into first place.
We caught up with Beisel after the class to chat about his win, “This was the only class I did with Essince this week. I’ve shown him a bunch here and we’ve enjoyed it. I thought he maybe needed a little time to freshen up, so I rode him at the farm every morning earlier this week. The weather was beautiful, so I was able to ride him outside a few days. I flatted him yesterday in the middle of the derby, so that was his time. I actually had a pretty busy day today, so my daughter Izzy flatted him today to get him ready for me, which worked out great.”
Beisel continued, “Last week he jumped clear and gave me a really good effort, but it felt a little rough. Today, he started out a little nervous getting going, then as he went I felt like he got more and more relaxed. He was jumping higher and nicer. In our warm up, I tried to do some simple exercises. I think I only jumped 1.25m in our warm up for the first round. After the first round, Izzy got on and kept him walking because I had to run over to train my son Cooper in the low derby. When I came back I jumped two jumps and I thought he went into the jump off great. He was really relaxed and nice. The jump off came up great. I was noticing when I went in after the first two jumps in the jump off, everyone’s tracks went around the island, and I felt like Essince turned inside a little quicker there than most. I thought he flew to the in and out, then I thought to just jump the last two clear. My daughter had a really good first pump last week, so I had to keep up with her and do the same after the jump off.”
Beisel also added, “Thanks to my wife Paige for letting me own Essince, to my kids, Allie McBreen and Francisco for helping out. Thank you to CWD for the saddles and Antares for the helmets.”
$25,000 World Equestrian Center Grand Prix Results
- Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 35.767
- Famoso D’IVE Z, Nicole Loochtan – 0 | 0 | 36.127
- As Di Sogrand, Lisa GOldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 36.552
- Harakiri Z, Madeline Reich – 0 | 0 | 37.075
- Nike, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 37.095
- Gotham, Rachael Howard – 0 | 0 | 37.485
- Rarity, Adeline Rohrbach – 0 | 0 | 37.875
- E. Umomia, Michael Kocher – 0 | 4 | 35.011
- Lasco 29, Summer Hill – 0 | 4 | 36.456
- Da Vinci, Faith Davis – 0 | – | –
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
Earlier in the evening Lisa Goldman-Smolen piloted her own Bengtsson VDL (Buballu VDL x Uzmakieka VDL) to the win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. The course for the class, also designed by Bobby Murphy, was similar to that of the Grand Prix with fourteen jumping efforts featuring two combinations. With just one inside turn option in the jump off, speed was the key to success on the short course.
The pace setters in the Futures Prix were Leann Kelly and Sarah Hunter’s Graf Joe (Graf Top x Aline). The pair clearly have a fantastic rapport and were prepared to take on the course this afternoon. Kelly and the ten year old Hanoverian gelding were quick and clear in the first round in a time of 72.190 seconds and advanced straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event. The pair took one inside turn to fence eleven, stopping the clock at 31.496 seconds and setting the pace for the remaining entries.
None were able to best Kelly and Graf Joe’s time until the tail end of the class. Michael Kocher and Woodland Hills’ Dillandra (Zapatero VDL x Willandra) were a touch faster in the first round crossing the timers at 71.464 seconds. The pair took second place in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m in December and were on fire for this afternoon’s class. Kocher and the eleven year old Dutch Warmblood mare continued straight to the jump off, besting Kelly’s time by just over a second at 30.216.
One of the last to go in the class was Lisa Goldman-Smolen and her own Bengtsson VDL (Buballu VDL x Uzmakieka VDL). The pair earned a win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m last January and have been collecting top placings since. This afternoon, Goldman-Smolen and the eight year old KWPN gelding managed the quickest first round time of the class at 64.185 seconds and continued straight to the jump off. Goldman-Smolen and the fiery bay gelding picked up even more pace, leaving a stride out in a line and stopping the clock at 29.439 seconds for the win.
Goldman-Smolen of Red Coat Farm in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois stuck around after the awards presentation to chat with us ringside about her win, “Don’t tell all of my other horses, but Bengtsson VDL is my favorite. He reminds me of my old speed horse Morocco, which was my all-time favorite horse. He was one of the two horses that kind of put me on the map. I won my first Grand Prix, my first FEI class, all of that on those two. I found this little horse in Ocala two years ago and it was the first horse I’ve ever sat on that reminded me of Morocco. He’s such a character at the barn. He’s kind of a barn favorite. He’s fast, he’s feisty, he likes to eat almost anything you put in front of him. He’s just a sweetheart. He’s a little hot potato.”
When asked about her jump off, Goldman-Smolen replied, “Normally I don’t do leave-outs with him. Normally he’s so fast across the ground that I don’t need to. He doesn’t have a big stride, so I typically add in all of the lines in the first round, then do the number in the second round. I did actually end up doing the five in the last line, which was the leave-out. When I went down that line in the first round and had to pull to do the regular number, I noticed that we were on step. When we’re on, we’re really on. Every jump just came up. Nothing is more fun than galloping around on that little horse.”
Goldman-Smolen also commented on her students’ rides, “I had three students in the class. Two of them made the jump off and I think ended up sixth and ninth. One of them was on a green horse and this was the biggest track she’s ever done. Two of them are here from college, so it’s great when they get a chance to come horse show.”
She also added, “I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsors. Without them, we couldn’t be here. Thank you to Samsheild, CWD, Finish Line, RJ Classics and Nutrena. Whether it’s dressing me or getting a horse ready, it takes a village and they really help out a lot.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- Bengtsson VDL, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 29.439
- Dillandra, Michael Kocher – 0 | 0 | 30.216
- Graf Joe, Leann Kelly – 0 | 0 | 31.496
- Caiman des Sequoias – 0 | 0 | 32.019
- Aintree Z, Katia Manuel-Adams – 0 | 0 | 33.305
- Honey Girl, Kyle Perkovich – 0 | 0 | 35.396
- Cassina GK, Alexis Bodo – 0 | 4 | 32.649
- Vegas H, David Beisel – 0 | 4 | 34.796
- Contessa, Stefanie Shaw – 0 | 4 | 35.788
- Colton Playtime, Alexis Bodo – 0 | 12 | 30.712
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.