Wilmington, Ohio – Feature competition for Winter Classic #2 kicked off Thursday evening with the $10,000 Welcome Stake at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. Twenty-two horse-and-athlete combinations gathered in the Sanctuary Arena to contest over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) impressive tracks. Richard Rinehart and Vincent were unstoppable, holding their early lead through the entirety of the class.
Jorge’s 12-obstacle first round track proved a technical test for the competitive field of athletes. With a triple combination to a long five stride, multiple related bending lines and a three stride across the diagonal, athletes were required to think quickly to meet the base of each obstacle accurately. Seven riders qualified for the jump-off phase, where they immediately participated in a short course that included three opportunities for inside turns, ending on long unrelated bending line.
Rinehart and Ron Caraway’s Vincent (Van Gogh x Nirande) went fourth in the order, already looking to challenge the first two double clear rounds. Coming off an incredibly successful fall season, the duo entered the Sanctuary with confidence that they could add yet another win to their growing record.
“I have been riding Vincent for about a year and a half. He is such a great horse, and he is very careful. I am really happy with him and how he has performed at this venue. I hope to eventually move him up to some bigger grands prix.”
Rinehart of Rinehart Farm in Westfield, Indiana, piloted the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to an easy clear first round, preparing them for a confident ride in Saturday’s $30,000 Grand Prix. Moving into the jump-off, Rinehart left one stride out in the only related line on the track, quickly balancing up to the one stride to ensure a fault-free, winning round. “My plan was to be prompt in the beginning and then I decided to do five strides down the diagonal in the jump-off,” shared Rinehart. The pair crossed through the timers in 36.740 seconds to remain on top of the leaderboard.
Third to go in the order was Charlotte Clark, owner and trainer of Kendalwood Farm in Sunbury, Ohio, and her longtime partner, Kinsella (Capitalist x Jerpoint Mist). The duo is familiar with the winner’s circle at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington as they have taken home numerous top three placings in the welcome stakes and the grands prix. The 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare carried Clark to a clear first round, never batting an eye at the technicality of the track. Moving onto the short course, Clark opened up a gallop around each inside turn to post a time of 37.277, ultimately securing their second-place finish.
Darby Pease of Danville, Kentucky, and Carel Van Donderen (Acolino x Terania Die Hoeghte) set an immediate quick pace as the first to go in the order and the first to post a double clear effort. Pease and her top mount have been the headline of many open jumper classes this fall in Wilmington. The 15-year-old KWPN gelding delivered a textbook first round track, qualifying them for the jump-off phase. Pease piloted Carel Van Donderen to a smooth, accurate second round, landing through the timers in 38.777 seconds to round out the podium.
$10,000 WEC Welcome Stake
1 Vincent, Richard Rinehart, Ron Caraway | 0 | 36.740
2 Kinsella, Charlotte Clark, Charlotte Clark | 0 | 37.277
3 Carel Van Donderen, Darby Pease, Louisa Robb | 0 | 38.777
4 El Classico, Caroline Nadalin, Caroline Nadalin | 0 | 39.452
5 Dolla 3, Sam Pegg, Ten Sixty Stables | 0 | 41.263
6 Conny 409, Kama Godek, Kama Godek | 0 | 41.837
7 Swanview Sarco Deluxe, Kali Jerman, Kali Jerman | 4 | 39.970
8 Diaz Barbotiere, Izzy Beisel, Izzy Beisel | 0 | El
9 Lady Stakkata, Kama Godek, Kama Godek | 4 | 66.875
10 Chelsy 25, Kama Godek, Kama Godek | 4 | 68.807