WEC Winter #5 Highlights
Another thrilling week of horse showing has come to a close with plenty of victories to celebrate. Professionals Doug Boyd and Lisa Goldman-Smolen were on top this week with incredible wins in both the Hunters and Jumper feature classes. It was a super fun week, with a throwback to the popular early 2000s movie Flicka showing in the Paddock Club on Friday night during the Prime Rib Dinner and a fun Nintendo Switch Dance Party Saturday night in the Paddock Club that continued well after the Grand Prix.
Thursday saw a crowd-rousing win from Doug Boyd and Berkley III in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m sponsored by CWD. Twelve of the seventeen entries in the Welcome Stake jumped a clear first round, signaling that there would be serious competition on the short course. While several entries jumped double clear rounds in the Table II event, Taylor Kain and her own Caphur (Cardento x Phuria) were the first to to take an inside turn on the short course, setting a quick pace at 33.344 seconds. It wasn’t until Lisa Goldman-Smolen and her own Bengtsson VDL (Buballu VDL x Uzmakieka VDL) entered the ring that the 33 second mark was truly challenged. Goldman-Smolen and Bengtsson VDL executed the same inside turn that Kain did in the jump off, but were incredibly quick on their feet, stopping the clock at 31.960 seconds. Immediately after Goldman-Smolen’s round, Doug Boyd entered the ring aboard Sapphire Riding Academy’s Berkley III (Pall Mall H x Resina). The pair were quick in the first round, but no one expected the incredible inside turn that Boyd took to the CWD vertical in the jump off that shaved seconds off of their time. Boyd and Berkley III flew through the timers at 31.203 seconds for the win in the $5,000 Welcome Stake 1.35 m, bringing the crowd to their feet.
Boyd continued his winning streak on Friday for the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Twenty five stunning Hunters contested the Derby course, with plenty of scores falling above the eighty mark. The cut off for the handy round landed at 80.5, and twelve returned. The top contenders all returned with scores well into the eighties and nineties. One of the last to return with a score of 84.5 in the first round was Shanna Beyer’s Lacoste (Limbus Z x Corrada), ridden by Mary Mielenz. The pair rode a lovely, consistent round, taking all four high options for a score of 87 in the handy round. This brought Mielenz and Lacoste’s overall total to 171.5, the highest score thus far. Last to return was Doug Boyd aboard Mimi Rothman’s Calido’s Son (Calido I x Pusteblume), who has an excellent Derby history including a sixth place finish in the 2018 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship Derby Challenge last August. The pair returned with the highest score of the first round of 92, riding a second impressive round. Boyd and Calido’s Son took several handy turns and all four high options, earning a score of 88 in the second round, which brought their total score to 180, winning then the class.
Saturday it was Lisa Goldman-Smolen’s turn for the spotlight, but it certainly did not come easily. Goldman-Smolen and Boyd entered their second head-to-head battle of the week during the jump off of the $25,000 WEC Grand Prix. Both jumped a clear first round and returned for the jump off, determined to win. Boyd rode Berkley III again and the pair mirrored their incredible turning abilities from the Welcome Stake on Thursday, challenging Goldman-Smolen to beat their fast time of 38.893 seconds. Goldman-Smolen rode Barbara Disko’s Sovereign (Frontal x Galledent) in the Grand Prix. The pair rode into the ring for the jump off with sheer determination, executing Boyd and Berkley III’s turn perfectly, then blazing through the rest of the course, stopping the timers at 37.678 seconds, over a full second quicker than Boyd and Berkley III for the win.
Lisa Goldman-Smolen also had a special win in the $7,500 Futures Prix 1.30 m on Saturday aboard Bengtsson VDL, whom she took second on in the Welcome Stake on Thursday. The pair were double clear in the Futures Prix, jumping an incredibly fast round in the jump off in just 38.967 seconds. The next fastest time in the jump off was 45.490 seconds, proving the insane talent of both Goldman-Smolen and Bengtsson VDL.
Saturday also saw nineteen entries in the $2,000 Non Pro Hunter Derby 2’6″ where Barbara A. Brungess emerged victorious aboard her own Levianto (Landkoenig x Coco Chanel Z). The pair scored an 81 in the first round, then returned to score an 84 to win the Non Pro Derby. Brungess was thrilled with Levianto, saying that this was the first Derby he’s done in a long time. She commented, “He’s a great horse. I was very happy with him today because he was attentive and he was very soft and interested in what he was doing. So I think he felt good, and I think he’s happy to be back in the show ring. He likes to travel, he gets bored at home. So he’s happy to be out and about.” Brungess has owned Levianto for almost five years, and hopes that he will be her Adult Amateur horse. She noted that trainer Troy Hendricks of Kimber-View Stables also rides Levianto, and has had a lot of success with him in the bigger Derbies.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.