A winter storm with blizzard-like conditions surged through the Midwest today for the second week in a row, bringing freezing rain and blustery winds. Like last week, exhibitors and spectators kept warm inside the climate controlled show grounds at World Equestrian Center, walking about in comfortable clothing without the need for heavy coats and bulky layers. And the weather outside didn’t deter spectators from gathering in the grandstands of the Sanctuary Arena tonight to watch both the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix sponsored by Voltaire. The tracks for both of tonight’s classes were designed by Keith J. Bollotte, a course designer with more than thirty years of experience in the equestrian industry.
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix
The course was set for tonight’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix, featuring a triple bar, a Swedish oxer, two combinations, and 16 total jumping efforts. One of the first to go in the class, Jill Gaffney entered the ring aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Jordan. They won the $7,500 Futures Prix at the World Equestrian Center in October, and have been working their way into the Grands Prix. The speedy pair jumped the first round clear in 77.888 seconds, eight seconds under the time allowed of 86 seconds.
One of the fastest first rounds of the class was ridden by Lisa Goldman-Smolen aboard Barbara J. Disko’s Sovereign. The pair were returning to the Sanctuary Arena after their second place finish in Thursday’s $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m. Goldman-Smolen and Sovereign jumped one of the fastest clear first rounds of the night, stopping the clock at 76.054 seconds.
Gaffney returned later in the class aboard her second mount, Freestyling Farms LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). The pair took their time in the first round, ensuring a clear round and crossing the timers at 81.088 secoonds, still well within the time allowed.
The head-to-head battle between Gaffney and Goldman-Smolen ensued in the jump off. Though ten entries jumped double clear tonight, it was the ladies who took center stage as Gaffney and Goldman-Smolen that went back and forth for the win. Gaffney returned to the ring first aboard Jordan, riding a clear, steady jump off in a time of 37.212 seconds. Goldman-Smolen then returned aboard Sovereign, challenging Gaffney by stepping up the speed. The pair stopped the clock at 35.393 seconds.
Gaffney returned again, this time aboard Carlton Cafe. Knowing the time she needed to beat, Gaffney and Carlton Cafe left it all in the ring, cranking up the pace in hopes for the blue. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe galloped through the timers at 35.333 seconds, beating Goldman-Smolen by about six one-hundredths of a second.
Jill Gaffney of Freestyling Farms, LLC in Batavia, Ohio took a moment after her win to chat with us about her rides in tonight’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. “I had two in it,” Gaffney explained, “Both horses jumped great, I’m so happy with them.” As for Carlton Cafe, Gaffney explained, “We’ve had her since she was five. We brought her to the U.S. and developed her from the 1.00 m. We have done the $1 Million classes in California, we do World Cup Qualifiers, we do the 1.50 m Grands Prix…she’s just amazing. She’s all heart. She owes us nothing.”
Gaffney, who has become a frequent exhibitor at World Equestrian Center, adds that she is looking forward to returning during this winter series, “We have a lot of young horses, and this venue is fabulous for young horses…all horses actually. This is just a great facility. We’re really happy to be here and we will definitely be back throughout the winter.”
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix Results
- Carlton Cafe, Jill M. Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 35.333
- Sovereign, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 35.393
- Jordan, Jill M. Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 37.212
- Colato Sabata, David Q. Beisel – 0 | 0 | 37.791
- Lazuli II SCF, Jennifer Waxman – 0 | 0 | 38.561
- Kir Royal SCF, David O’Brien – 0 | 4 | 36.214
- As Di Sogrand, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 4 | 36.674
- Hindsight, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 4 | 37.642
- Essince W, David Q. Beisel – 0 | 4 | 39.093
- Silver Spring, Megan Bash – 0 | 8 | 38.020
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m
The course for the $7,500 Futures Prix sponsored by Voltaire was similar to that of the Grand Prix with two combinations, with the exception of a triple bar or Swedish oxer. The class was run in a Table II format, so entries continued straight to the jump off after a first clean round.
One of the first to go in the class was David Q. Beisel aboard Phyllis Harlow’s For Sunday (For Pleasure x Patoile T.H.). The pair were the pace setters of the class, jumping the first round clear in a time of 63.858 seconds, seven seconds under the time allowed of 71 seconds. The pair continued straight to the jump off, executing impressive turns and using For Sunday’s big step to leave out strides at several fences, which had spectators on the edge of their seats in awe. At the end of their jump off, the pair had set a blistering pace of 32.581 seconds.
Though eighteen more entries tried, ten of which making it to the jump off, none were able to best Beisel and For Sunday’s time. The closest were Richard L. Rinehart and Caron Stucky’s Uranus 112 (Uccello x Conny), who jumped a clear first round in 65.312 seconds, then continued into the jump off for a second clear round in 32.792 seconds, just two-tenths of a second behind Beisel and For Sunday.
Lisa Goldman-Smolen and her own Bengtsson VDL (Buballu VDL x Uzmakieka VDL) were also hot on Beisel and For Sunday’s trail. The pair jumped a clear first round in an imppossible 58.775 seconds, then continued to the jump off to jump a second clear round, stopping the timers at 32.798 seconds.
We caught up with David Beisel of David Beisel Stables in Goshen, Ohio after the class to chat about his win with For Sunday. “I’ve been riding Sunday for 5 years this year,” Beisel explaining his history with the mare, “Phyllis (Harlow) bred her, and she was born and raised in a pasture behind her house in Ocala. She’s out of a mare named Patoile that we used to have, and she’s by For Pleasure.” Under David’s guidance, For Sunday earned the 2017 USEF Horse of the Year in the 7-year old Jumpers. Beisel added that For Sunday is just coming back and getting back into shape after a break where they collected embryos from her. As for her performance today, Beisel was happy with how For Sunday went throughout the class, “She was ready to go today,” noted Beisel, “You can’t ask her to try any more than she does. She really enjoys it. She was great.”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m Results
- For Sunday, David Q. Beisel – 0 | 0 | 32.581
- Uranus 112, Richard L. Rinehart – 0 | 0 | 32.792
- Bengtsson VDL, Lisa Goldman-Smolen – 0 | 0 | 32.798
- Angelo, David Q. Beisel – 0 | 0 | 33.395
- KTS Diregina, Allie L. Mcbreen – 0 | 0 | 34.316
- Don Gerhard, Madeline K. Dunlap – 0 | 0 | 35.651
- La Belle SCF, Jennifer Waxman – 0 | 0 | 36.428
- Alexa 410, Renee Connors – 0 | 0 | 36.602
- Cornetta KF, Charlotte E. Clark – 0 | 0 | 37.222
- In Private, Lindsay Lyden – 0 | 4 | 34.500
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.