Seventeen fierce competitors took to the Sanctuary arena in tonight’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD, starting the WEC Winter Classic #5 off with some excellent equestrian sport. Tonight’s course allowed entries 78 seconds to complete the first round, featuring a triple bar and multiple combinations. Tonight’s course began at the top of the arena with a vertical, then entries rode down the diagonal over a triple bar and a vertical. From there, entries rode up the diagonal over a combination, then continued over an oxer. Entries then took a bending line to a vertical at the top of the ring, headed back down the diagonal to an oxer-to-vertical combination. Next, entries bent to an oxer coming home, rode back up the CWD vertical by the grand stands, and once again bent across the center of the arena to an oxer. To finish, entries rounded the top of the ring and jumped a vertical heading home.
Twelve of the seventeen entries jumped a clear first round tonight, signaling there would be serious competition on the short course. The Table II format had entries staying in the ring to jump off after a clear first round. While almost all entries made it to the jump off, the competition did not really heat up until Taylor Kain entered the ring aboard her own Caphur (Cardento x Phuria). Kain and Caphur have been regulars during the Winter Series of the Midwest, taking fourth in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and fifth in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m just two weeks ago. The pair delivered a clear first round in a quick 69.078 seconds, then continued straight to the jump off. The course for the short round saw entries beginning over jump one, bending to the triple bar, rolling back to the CWD vertical, continuing to the oxer across the center of the arena, jumping the oxer-to-vertical combination, then finishing on the oxer heading home. Kain and Caphur managed to make a slick turn to the oxer-to-vertical combination, shaving seconds off of their time and stopping the clock at 33.344 seconds, which set the pace for the rest of the class.
Next to take to the course was Sam Pegg aboard Ten Sixty Stables’ Hilma. Pegg and Hilma have a great history at World Equestrian Center, winning the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m in early October. The pair were clear in the first round in a time of 70.338 seconds, then continued into the jump off to contest Kain and Caphur’s time. Pegg and Hilma jumped easily through the jump off with enough speed to beat Kain and Caphur’s time by just fractions of a second, crossing the timers at 33.124 seconds.
Pegg and Hilma held their lead for a few rounds until Lisa Goldman-Smolen marched into the arena. Goldman-Smolen is a familiar face at World Equestrian Center, and has been excelling throughout this year’s Winter Series of the Midwest. Just last week, Goldman-Smolen took second place aboard Sovereign in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. Tonight, Goldman-Smolen rode her own Bengtsson VDL (Buballu VDL x Uzmakieka VDL). The pair meant business, jumping the first round in 67.110 seconds, eleven seconds under the time allowed. Goldman-Smolen and Bengtsson VDL continued to the jump off, racing across the course at an incredibly speedy time of 31.960 seconds.
Though Goldman-Smolen and Bengtsson VDL’s jump off time seemed impossible to beat, Doug Boyd and Sapphire Riding Academy’s Berkley III (Pall Mall H x Resina) were up for the challenge. The pair jumped the first round in 69.377 seconds, then continued into the jump off with a clear plan in mind. Boyd and Berkley III sailed over jump one, cleared the triple bar with ease, then took an inside turn to the CWD vertical that no other entries even attempted as the crowd waited with anticipation to see whether his decision would pay off. The pair cleared the CWD fence, then continued through the rest of the course without taking any rails, and crossed the timers for the win at 31.206 seconds. Boyd and Berkley III trotted back by the CWD jump before exiting the arena and Boyd commented to the elated crowd about how tight the turn was. The crowd erupted in laughter, then Berkley III received a few well-deserved pats from fans before exiting the ring.
We caught up with Doug Boyd of Sapphire Riding Academy in Mettawa, Illinois after the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m to chat about his unbelievable ride in the class. When asked about his astounding turn to the CWD vertical, Boyd replied, “Lisa and Sam are very hard to beat. They’re both very fast, fearless riders. I just had to go for it. I got away with a little luck there, but it paid off!” Boyd was thrilled with Berkley III, a twelve-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that Boyd has been riding for three years. When asked what’s next for Berkley III, Boyd replied, “We’re going to do a couple of [World Equestrian Center Winter Series of the Midwest] shows this winter, then possibly go down and catch the tail end of some of the big Grands Prix in Florida.” We are excited to see what Boyd and Berkley III have in store for us throughout the rest of the Winter Series!
$5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m Results:
- Berkley III, Doug Boyd – 0 | 0 | 31.203
- Bengtsson VDL, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 31.960
- Hilma, Sam Pegg – 0 | 0 | 33.124
- Cosmea Z, Taylor A. Flury – 0 | 0 | 33.284
- Caphur, Taylor Kain – 0 | 0 | 33.344
- Oliver’s Army, Lauren E. Ditallo – 0 | 0 | 33.384
- Shuttergold, Taylor Kain – 0 | 0 | 34.019
- Waddison, Lauren E. Ditallo – 0 | 0 | 36.677
- Altesse De Virton, Karen McFarland – 0 | 0 | 37.966
- Zero Gravity, Lauren E. Ditallo – 0 | 0 | 38.758