Wilmington, Ohio – The Sanctuary hosted the first feature class of Winter Classic #1 at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington on Thursday, December 1, as a field of nine gathered in the Sanctuary Arena to vie for top honors in the $10,000 WEC Welcome Stake. Ultimately, it was Darby Pease and Carel Van Donderen that topped the leaderboard to find themselves in the WEC winner’s circle once again.
Bobby Murphy (USA) crafted a technical 12-obstacle first-round track. The winding course included multiple related bending lines, requiring each rider to keep track of their horse’s stride and scope to ensure meeting the base of each element accurately. Riders that posted a fault-free first round immediately advanced to the jump-off phase. Only three horse-and-athlete combinations qualified for the short course, which consisted of 8 obstacles and three options to make inside turns to shave precious time off the clock.
Linda Radigan and longtime partner Balveneur Z were fourth to go in the order. The duo delivered a conservative, steady first round track to ensure a clear ride and a spot in the jump-off. Radigan of Riverbend Jumpers in Vermilion, Ohio, took on the short course with confidence. She piloted her flashy 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding to an effortless double-clear, crossing through the timers in 43.552 seconds. The pair held the lead until Pease came back on her second mount to challenge their time.
Pease of Danville, Kentucky, is no stranger to the spotlight in the Sanctuary Arena. The young professional claimed her very first grand prix win aboard her seasoned partner, Carel Van Donderen, during the WEC – Wilmington Fall Classic 2. Louisa Robb’s 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding has proven to be a top mount for Pease as they continue to find themselves on the podium.
“Carel [Carel Van Donderen] has jumped everywhere. He is very experienced, and I have had him for about 8 months now. He is the best teacher. He is helping me learn to go fast and he is always in it to win it.”
Pease entered the Sanctuary looking to best Radigan’s quick jump-off time. Having ridden the track on her 7-year-old KWPN mare Kamorka S in the beginning of the class, she used her knowledge to her advantage posting a clear first round with Carel Van Donderen. The duo galloped through the timers in a blazing fast time of 40.213 seconds to take the lead. “I did my 7-year-old first and this was her first Welcome. So, it was nice to have my best horse going second and he really loves to go fast,” Pease reflected on her mounts in the $10,000 WEC Welcome Stake.
Miguel Ventura of Fairview, Tennessee, and Zenvo11 rounded out the podium in the first feature class of the week. The 9-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Kelly Jarrell showcased his promising talent, demonstrating experience beyond his years with Ventura in the irons. The pair jumped one of only three double-clear efforts, landing through the timers in 45.647 seconds to secure their third-place position.
$10,000 WEC Welcome Stake Results:
1 Carel Van Donderen, Darby Pease, Louisa Robb: 0 | 0 | 40.213
2 Balveneur Z, Linda Radigan, Linda Radigan: 0 | 0 | 43.552
3 Zenvo11, Miguel Ventura, Kelly Jarrell: 0 | 0 | 45.647
4 Grain D’ Ry, Raquel Mazur, Raquel Mazur: 0 | 4 | 45.049
5 Diaz Barbotiere, Izzy Beisel, Izzy Beisel: 4 | 70.111
6 Cachassini’s Boy, Corri Goldman, Corri Goldman: 4 | 73.579
7 Vegas H, Izzy Beisel, David Beisel: 4 | 76.691
8 Kamorka S, Darby Pease, Darby Pease: 4 | 47.727
9 Flex Star, Raquel Mazur, Raquel Mazur: 22 | 96.999