Wilmington, Ohio – Winter Classic 1 kicked off the 2024 Winter in the Midwest Series at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. Sam Pegg (CAN) and Gin Tonic 158 (Graf Top x Hauptstutbuch) impressed once again in the $30,000 Grand Prix Saturday evening, while Corri Goldman (USA) rode to the win in the $10,000 Futures Prix. Michaella Gerlacher (USA) topped the $15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby Friday evening, and Izzy Beisel (USA) began the week with a win in the $10,000 Welcome Stake.
Gin Tonic 158 jumped an effortless double-clear in the $30,000 Grand Prix with a winning time of 36.657 seconds, leaving Pegg hopeful for his future.
“I think Guilherme Jorge does a great job. We were busy at home so we couldn’t come until Thursday night, so my horses jumped a class yesterday instead of the Welcome. Typically, the horses jump better as the week goes on with his courses. He is very progressive and doesn’t over face the horses, but it is difficult at the same time,” Pegg shared his thoughts on Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) expert course designing.
Goldman returned to Winter Classic 1 for her third year to earn her third consecutive featured win, this time aboard Gattaca De Vains (Kannan x Saga Des Nauves) in the $10,000 Futures Prix.
Goldman, of Edgewater, Maryland, spoke on her successful experiences developing young horses at WEC – Wilmington, “The past three years I have had seven-year-olds here. The classes that are offered at WEC are really nice opportunities for young horses. I did the welcome with this horse the other day and thought that jumping the height of the grand prix might scare her a bit, so it is so nice to have the futures as an option for developing horses.”
Scores of 90 and 87 landed Gerlacher and Frances Conti’s Callestino (Cellestial x Olympic Fire) on top of the $15,000 USHJA National Open Hunter Derby.
“It feels great to be on top! It feels like it has been my whole life waiting,” Gerlacher laughed. “It really has been since the first year WEC was open that I have won a derby here. I have gotten a million second places though!”
Jordan Melfi (USA) surpassed the competition with MF Starboy (Like Angel x Frisia) in the $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro Hunter Derby with scores of 94 and 92 and an overall of 186, 16 points higher than second place.
Melfi was delighted with his first ever trip to WEC – Ohio, “I have been to Ocala, and after being there I really wanted to see what Ohio was all about. I love it here and am happy that we came. It is so homey here!”
Beisel continued her winning ways with Vegas H (Valentino x Cobrah) in the $10,000 Welcome Stake with a leading time of 37.284 seconds.
Beisel and Vegas H are longtime partners and have tackled some of the trickiest tracks together with top results, including the USEF Junior Jumper National Championships at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, but their recipe for success is simple, “In the summer, I ride him bareback a lot! We just flat him and we really only jump courses right before the horse shows. Vegas just hangs out!”
Sophie Carlin and TC Gaston (Ogrion Des Champs x Girl IV) were victorious in the $3,500 Non Pro Derby 2’6” on Saturday afternoon.
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Results can be found at wec.net.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.