The $25,000 WEC Grand Prix Sees a Three-Peat for Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe
It was a special night in the Sanctuary with heartwarming wins by two talented owner/rider/trainers in both the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix and the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design. Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook) claimed victory in the Grand Prix ring for the third time during the 2019 Winter Series of the Midwest, having won the class in both Week 4 and Week 7. The Futures Prix also saw a fantastic win by Meg McTiver and her long-time mount Capone (Chicago Z x Palaris II), who she describes as “the little horse that could”.
$25,000 WEC Grand Prix
Tonight’s $25,000 WEC Grand Prix was a three-peat win for Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe. The pair were precise and incredibly quick throughout the entire class, and there was no denying their wealth of talent. In addition to the lionshare of the $25,000 purse, the pair received items from WEC sponsors including a prize pack from Horse First and a $100 gift certificate from Dandy Products.
Plenty of talented riders gathered in the Sanctuary Arena tonight for the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix including Jill Gaffney with two entries, David Beisel with four entries and Lauren DiTallo with three entries. The course for tonight’s Grand Prix featured a one-stride combination, a triple combination, forward lines, and many opportunities for inside turns.
Near the top of the order of go was David Beisel aboard his own Essince W (Chacco Blue x Rossan). The pair are regulars to the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix, having taken many top placings throughout the 2019 Winter Series of the Midwest, including a first place finish during Week 3. Beisel rode a straightforward, consistent first round, with Essince W clearing the fences with plenty of room to spare. The pair went clean and crossed the timers at 70.397 seconds, within the time allowed of 72 seconds.
Next in the order of go was Jill Gaffney aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Carlton Cafe (Carlton Clover x Moytura Spook). The pair have brought serious competition to the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix, taking the win both times that they have entered the class during the 2019 Winter Series. Gaffney and Carlton Cafe blazed around the first round, leaving all of the rails up and crossing the timers at 68.819 seconds, proving yet again that they are serious competitors.
Last in the order of go, David Beisel returned to the ring, this time aboard Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC’s For Sunday (For Pleasure x Patoile T. H.). The pair took first place in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m just last week, and moved up to the Grand Prix this week. Beisel and For Sunday brought their A-game again tonight, jumping a clear first round in a time of 68.525 seconds.
The course was reset and six horse and rider pairs returned for the jump off: Jill Gaffney with two rides, David Beisel with two rides and Lauren DiTallo with two rides. First to jump off was David Beisel aboard Essince W. The pair were quick, keeping their pace throughout their tight turns and crossing the timers at 30.329 seconds, setting the time to beat. Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe followed Beisel, duplicating his inside turns and stepping up their pace. The pair shot through the timers at 28.896 seconds, besting Beisel’s time by almost two seconds. Beisel returned again aboard For Sunday, who is notoriously quick in the jump off. However, the pair could not catch Gaffney and Carlton Cafe, stopping the clock at 30.787 seconds for third place.
Jill Gaffney took a few minutes to chat with us about her rides after the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. “She’s amazing,” Gaffney beamed about first place finisher Carlton Cafe, “In the first round, she jumped fantastic, but she was really bold. She was like, ‘Mom, I don’t have to listen to you.’ There were a few places where I though she was going to pull me through a jump and I really had to get strong with her. I think she’s gotten a little cocky. Then she kind of settled and, before the jump off, I felt like she was back where I wanted her at. I watched David go on his first one and he was super smooth. I knew I had to be fast with David having two in it and Lauren having two in it!” Gaffney also noted that this is the third Grand Prix in a row that Carlton Cafe has been entered in and won (the other two being in Weeks 4 and 7 of the Winter Series of the Midwest), and she could not be more thrilled with her mare.
Gaffney was also extremely pleased with Z Love Story’s performance in tonight’s Grand Prix, “She jumped great. In the first round, she took a hard look at fence six, but she cleared it. So, in the jump off, I went around to give her a better approach, because I’d rather a double clear than scare her. She’s naturally fast, but some of the others were still faster. I’m so blessed, I have a whole fleet of really nice horses, and most of them are girls! I love it!”
Gaffney’s husband, Trevor Gaffney, received the Groom’s Award tonight for Carlton Cafe’s stunning turnout, which included $100 cash and a $50 WEC Gift Card. Gaffney noted fondly, “Trevor does it all: he trains, he grooms, he’s a supportive husband. Without him, I couldn’t do this. We’re a great team. We compliment each other so well, we’re such opposites, and it really works. I could not and would not want to do it with anyone else.”
Watch Jill Gaffney and Carlton Cafe’s winning round, courtesy of ShowNet
$25,ooo WEC Grand Prix Results
- Carlton Cafe, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 28.896
- Essince W, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 30.329
- For Sunday, David Beisel – 0 | 0 | 30.787
- Z Love Story, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 30.958
- Oliver’s Army, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 0 | 33.453
- Zero Gravity, Lauren DiTallo – 0 | 0 | 36.465
- Angelo, David Beisel – 4 | 68.323
- Wadisson, Lauren DiTallo – 4 | 68.750
- Five Star, David Beisel – 4 | 70.905
- Canmore 2, Ann DeMichele – 8 | 79.914
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m
The $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design saw an exciting win by Meg McTiver aboard her own Capone. The course for tonight’s Futures Prix was similar to that of the Grand Prix, but featured a one-stride combination in place of the Grand Prix’s triple combination, and several of the fences were reversed.
First in the order of go was Jill Gaffney aboard Freestyling Farms LLC’s Jordan, third place finishers of the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix during Week 4 of the Winter Series of the Midwest. The pair jumped a quick, clear round in a time of 68.092 seconds, four seconds under the time allowed of 72 seconds. Gaffney and Jordan continued straight to the jump off of the Table II event, speeding around the course and taking tight inside turns, jumping clean and setting the time to beat at 28.864 seconds.
None came close to Gaffney and Jordan’s impressive time until Meg McTiver and her own Capone (Chicago Z x Palaris II) entered the ring about midway through the class. The pair have taken top placings in the 1.25 m Jumpers throughout the Winter Series, and were prepared to bring the heat to tonight’s $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m. McTiver and Capone rode the fastest first round of the class, leaving all of the rails up in just 64.901 seconds, showing they meant business. The pair continued to the jump off with the same speed. Capone was incredibly careful with his front end, never thinking about touching a rail as they flew through the short course. McTiver and Capone crossed the timers at 28.033 seconds, beating Gaffney and Jordan’s time by just fractions of a second. They held their spot atop the leader board through the remainder of the class for the blue ribbon in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m sponsored by Voltaire Design.
We caught up with Meg McTiver of Porcupine Flatts Equine Training and Sales in Johnstown, Ohio, after the class to chat about her winning ride. “Capone has been jumping awesome and in the first course my goal was to just go clear. Then, when we went to the jump off, I wanted to do the inside turns and keep a good pace. When I got out there, he had his game face on. He was ready. He felt great, I could tell he wanted it. He was one hundred percent on board and he wanted to be the winner,” explained McTiver, “He’s ‘the little horse that could’, because he’s only fifteen hands tall. I’ve had him since he was three. I got him as an un-broke stud from Germany in a field, so I gelded him and broke him out. He’s come a long way since then. He’s my ride, we’re like peanut butter and jelly. We just know each other and we’ve been together forever. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Watch Meg McTiver and Capone’s winning round, courtesy of ShowNet
$7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m
- Capone, Meg McTiver – 0 | 0 | 28.033
- Jordan, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 0 | 28.864
- Cayman, Abigail Fox – 0 | 0 | 35.309
- Swift Action, Jill Gaffney – 0 | 4 | 31.846
- Aragon, Cassidy Oppermann – 0 | 4 | 32.513
- Rumorosa, Allie McBreen – 0 | 4 | 32.712
- Air Guitar, Erin Ferguson-Hughes – 1 | 72.067
- Tangelo VZ, Stacey Friend – 5 | 72.573
- KTS Diregina, Allie McBreen – 8 | 68.643
- Leonard van Dorperheide, Maggie Brink – 23 | 78.516
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.