There was plenty of Jumper action in the Sanctuary Arena tonight as Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe topped the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. The pair were unbeatable in the class, setting an early pace and holding their lead throughout the jump off. This is Gaffney’s second trip to the winner’s circle this week, taking the blue on Thursday aboard Z Love Story in the $5,000 Welcome Stake.
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix
Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe took the win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. Along with their other prizes, the pair received a $100 Dandy Products gift certificate and a prize pack from Horse First for their win. Husband/Groom Trevor Gaffney received the Groom’s Award, which include $100 cash and a $50 WEC Gift Card, for Carlton Cafe’s beautiful turnout. Tonight’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix course featured flowing lines, one double combination and a triple combination, asking horses and riders to navigate the course with accuracy. At the top of the order of go was Jill Gaffney aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). The pair have a great track record in the Grands Prix at World Equestrian Center, placing sixth last Fall. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe were precise and quick, jumping the track clear in a time of 76.562 seconds, three and a half seconds ahead of the time allowed of 80 seconds.
Taylor Flury was also among the clear first-rounders aboard AlibooFarm, Inc.’s Cosmea Z (Calvados Z x Zianne). The pair took the blue in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix just last week, with stellar skill and technique. Tonight Flury and Cosmea Z jumped their clear first round in a time of 76.369 seconds.
Sam Pegg had one of the fastest first round times in the class aboard Ten Sixty Stables & Co.’s Hilma. The pair were speedy but careful, leaving all of the rails up for a clear first round in a time of 74.314 seconds.
Ten entries returned to the jump off, with Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe first to go. The pair continued their precision from the first round, picking up the pace and blazing through the timers with a clear round at 29.923 seconds. This remained the time to beat for the remaining nine entries. Though all tried, none were able to best Gaffney and Carlton Cafe’s time. Taylor Flury and Cosmea Z were closest to Gaffney and Carlton Cafe’s time, jumping a clear round in 30.930 seconds, followed closely by Sam Pegg and Hilma with a clean round in 31.136 seconds.
We caught up with Jill Gaffney after her win in the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix to chat about her ride. “I knew, going first, and having Kevin McCarthy, Taylor Flury…all of these fast people behind me, that I was going to have to go as fast as I possibly could. So I went as fast as I thought I could and it was awesome,” Gaffney explained. “I want to practice for the Summer when we jump some of the bigger classes and Four Star classes and stuff like that. I feel like I’m really ready and my horses are ready!”
Gaffney went on to describe her mount, Carlton Cafe. “Carlton Cafe is 13 this year. We’ve had her since she was seven. We kind of brought her up through the ranks. Her and I clicked after a while and she’s been awesome. She’s great, she owes us nothing. She’s the most consistent horse, she’s jumped a lot of clear rounds.”
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix Results
- Carlton Cafe, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 29.923
- Cosmea Z, Taylor Flury – 0 | 0 | 30.930
- Hilma, Sam Pegg – 0 | 0 | 31.136
- Chardonay Haras Des Barrages – 0 | 0 | 33.721
- Catch A Star HSS, Kevin McCarthy – 0 | 4 | 31.092
- Quantos, Jason Berry – 0 | 4 | 31.482
- Calano Z, Taylor Flury – 0 | 4 | 31.666
- Jordan, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 4 | 31.775
- Light Show, Summer Hill – 0 | 8 | 30.063
- Oliver’s Army, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 8 | 31.277
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m
The $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire marked a milestone for Owen Gajoch as he took his first Futures Prix win aboard his own Katmandu L (Monte Bellini x Attica L). Riding toward the end of the class, Gajoch knew the time he needed to come out on top in the class. Like in the Grand Prix, the time to beat in the Futures Prix was set early on by Jill Gaffney, this time aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Z Love Story (Hunter x Elli). The pair took first in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m on Thursday and were still on a roll. Gaffney and Z Love Story jumped a clear first round near the beginning of the class in a time of 70.334 seconds, then continued straight to the jump off of the Table II event to jump a second clear round in a time of 34.315 seconds.
Gajoch and Katmandu L entered the ring ready to compete, jumping a clear first round in a speedy time of 66.625 seconds. The pair continued to the jump off, keeping their forward pace and turning tight, crossed the timers at 33.742 seconds for the win in the class and Gajoch’s first ever Futures Prix victory.
We caught up with Owen Gajoch of Columbus, Ohio, after his win to chat about his ride in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m aboard Katmandu L. Gajoch began by explaining his strategy for his ride, “I was just trying to ride smart in the first round and I tried to keep it steady through the second round. I got a little long to the oxer, but it worked out and it was a great round other than that one little mistake.” Gajoch went on to explain that he has partnered with his mount Katmandu L since late Summer 2018, and that they continue to progress as a team. As far as his future plans with Katmandu L, Gajoch says, “I’ll keep doing him in the Low Juniors and maybe the Mediums, and then do him in whichever Prix I can. This is my first Futures Prix win, and hopefully the first of many!”
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m Results
- Katmandu L, Owen Gajoch – 0 | 0 | 33.742
- Z Love Story, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 34.315
- ERP van www.olland.biz, Katia Manuel-Adams – 0 | 0 | 34.858
- Aintree Z, Katia Manuel-Adams – 0 | 0 | 39.610
- Swift Action, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 40.850
- Geronimo 132, Sandra Zimmerli – 0 | 8 | 42.498
- Conafino Z, Michelle A. Mahoney – 0 | 8 | 44.072
- Itile Horta, Olivia Epple – 0 | 19 | 54.068
- Capone, Meg McTiver – 4 | 63.667
- Gwen MC 1, Kevin McCarthy – 4 | 68.223
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.