This afternoon brought terrific jumper action to the Sanctuary Arena for the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design. Nearly fifty entries took to the ring between the two classes with tight jump off competition at the top of both classes. The elegant ringside Exhibitor’s Party featured a delicious spread from the Paddock Club including mini Beef Wellington, brie and raspberry bites and fried gouda, all generously sponsored by Dragonfly Academy.
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix
The $25,000 WEC Grand Prix featured a technical track by course designer Bobby Murphy of Lexington, Kentucky. The course featured several combinations, an impressive triple bar, and a fence across the top of the ring that caught a few riders off guard, resulting in a some four-faulters in the first round. Twenty three entries contested Murphy’s course, but it was Jill Gaffney aboard Freestyling Farms, LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook) that captured the win. For their first place finish, the pair received their lion’s share of the $25,000 purse along with items from WEC sponsors including a $100 gift certificate from Dandy Products.
Of the twenty three entries, just five advanced to the jump off. One of the first to jump a clear first round was Michael Burnett and his own Chagrand (Chacco-Blue x Centogrina). The pair have taken top placings in several Welcome Stakes, Futures Prix and Grand Prix throughout 2019, including a recent second place finish in the Open Welcome at Chicago Equifest III in early August. This afternoon, Burnett and the ten year old Oldenburg gelding proved early on to be strong competitors, finishing the first round with all rails up in a time of 70.021 seconds, well under the time allowed of 84 seconds.
Next to jump clear was David Beisel and his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair earned a first place finish in a $25,000 WEC Grand Prix earlier this year and have been fierce competitors since then. Beisel and the ten year old KWPN gelding also took fifth place at WEC earlier this week in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m. Today, the pair cleared each fence with ease, delivering a faultless first round in 71.602 seconds.
One of the last to jump a clear first round was reigning WEC open jumper champions Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms, LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). Gaffney and the thirteen year old Irish Sport Horse Mare have taken home three WEC Grand Prix wins in 2019 and clearly came prepared to make it a fourth tonight, jumping the first round clear in a time of 72.247 seconds.
The course was refreshed and five returned for the jump off with Burnett and Chagrand taking to the course near the top of the order. The pair were first to go double clear, taking inside turns to fence six and the nine-a-b combination. Burnett and Chagrand raced though the timers at 38.301 seconds, setting the pace for the remaining entries. Beisel and Essince W were next to attempt the short course, also taking the inside track. Essince W’s massive stride bought the pair valuable time as they crossed the timers in 37.144 seconds, just ahead of Burnett and Chagrand. At the bottom of the order was Gaffney and Carlton Cafe. The pair raced through the course in their signature jump off style, hugging the inside turns and spending little time in the air. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe blazed through the timers at an incredible 35.157 seconds, sliding into first place and moving Beisel and Burnett to second and third place, respectively.
Gaffney took a moment to chat with us ringside after the class, “The first round was really nice. I thought Bobby did a really nice job on the course, it was really good. It was just technical enough. My mare never looks at anything and at number five, the black skinny fence, she kind of looked at it, which took me by surprise. I just kicked her a little bit and, of course, she was amazing. In the jump off, between David Beisel, Michael Burnett, Alex Jamael and Darby Pease, I thought I’d better go fast. I didn’t watch anyone else go, so I just went as fast as I felt like she could go.”
Gaffney added, “I’m glad to be back at World Equestrian Center again. We haven’t been back since the Winter. We have a lot of really nice young horses right now. The ones we did bring went to Princeton Young Horse Finals and jumped clear rounds. So, we have a bunch of new horses that are here. It’s fun to bring them here, this is a great venue for young or new horses.”
When asked about who received this afternoon’s Groom’s Award of $100 cash and a $50 WEC Gift Card for Carlton Cafe’s stunning turnout, Gaffney replied, “The Groom’s Award goes to my husband, Trevor Gaffney, but he’s so much more than that. We do it all together and do it ourselves. We love it and we have clients that understand and are helpful. We have a great group of horses and people. We have a great team.”
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix Results
- Carlton Cafe, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 35.157
- Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 37.144
- Chagrand, Michael Burnett – 0 | 0 | 38.301
- Cassini Quid, Alex Jamael – 0 | 4 | 37.687
- First Lady BH, Darby Pease – 0 | 4 | 39.348
- Chanel, Sarah Meier – 4 | 68.188
- Berkley III, Doug Boyd – 4 | 70.200
- Shuttergold, Taylor Kain – 4 | 72.247
- Cracky Z, Christi Israel – 4 | 73.325
- Angelo, David Beisel – 4 | 74.166
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m
This afternoon’s $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m sponsored by Voltaire Design also saw intense competition between twenty six entries, with about five-tenths of a second separating the top three placings. Gaffney nearly snagged a second win, but it was Richard Rinehart and Allison Vinatieri’s La Dolce Vita VDL (Zapatero VDL x Tilly) who stole the win from the bottom of the order.
The pace setter for this afternoon’s Futures Prix was Taylor Kain and Eirecon Equine Sales’ Gipsy 1134 (Corlensky G x Landina). The pair won a $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m at WEC in early August and were prepared to repeat history in this afternoon’s class. Kain and the eight year old Oldenburg mare took to the first round in their usual quick style, jumping clear in a time of 78.519 seconds, well under the time allowed of 86 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off of the Table II 2b event, picking up speed and taking the inside track to fences two and seven, as well as the nine-a-b combination. Kain and Gipsy 1134 crossed the timers at 37.679 seconds, setting a tough time to beat for the other entries.
Kain and Gipsy 1134 held the top spot for most of the class until Jill Gaffney and Freestyling Farms LLC’s Z Love Story (Hunter x Elli) entered the ring. Like Kain and Gipsy 1134, the pair also took the top spot in a $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m at WEC earlier this year. Today, Gaffney and the twelve year old Holsteiner mare were quick in the first round, jumping clear in a time of 78.932 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off, mirroring Kain’s inside track and galloping through the timers with all rails up at 37.644 seconds, moving into the top spot by about three-hundredths of a second.
Gaffney and Z Love Story appeared unbeatable until the end of the class when Richard Rinehart and Allison Vinatieri’s La Dolce Vita VDL (Zapatero VDL x Tilly) stepped into the ring. The pair have taken top placings in 1.15m and 1.20m jumper classes throughout the Summer, preparing them for today’s class. Rinehart and the nine year old Dutch Warmblood gelding took a more conservative approach to the first round, jumping clear in a time of 82.558 seconds. The pair picked up speed on the short course, also negotiating the inside track and blazing through the timers at 37.132 seconds, stealing first place.
We caught up with Rinehart after the awards presentation to chat about his ride in the class. “It was nice to ride La Dolce Vita VDL again. I call him Ferrari. He had a Summer of limited mileage and it’s good to dust him off. In his career he’s done some Junior Jumpers, Children’s Jumpers and this is his second Futures Prix win. I’m looking forward to moving him up to the Grand Prix.”
When asked about La Dolce Vita VDL’s personality,Rinehart replied, “He’s just awesome. I can’t say enough good things. He’s like a Labrador Retriever, always wanting to please. He’s a very nice horse.”
Rinehart also added, “I’d like to say a special thank you to the Vinatieri family for giving me the opportunity to ride and work with him.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30m Results
- La Dolce Vita VDL, Richard Rinehart – 0 | 0 | 37.132
- Z Love Story, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 37.644
- Gipsy 1134, Taylor Kain – 0 | 0 | 37.679
- Five Star, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 38.421
- Erinus, John Jamieson – 0 | 0 | 43.452
- Gotye, Lanie Thomas – 0 | 0 | 44.333
- Wondergirl, Diana Conlon – 0 | 0 | 47.805
- Incanto Notturno, Alex Jamael – 0 | 4 | 40.491
- Malibu, Darby Pease – 0 | 4 | 41.954
- Candorra R, Will Baker – 0 | 4 | 42.692
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.