Wilmington, Ohio – Competition at Winter Classic #2 came to a close Sunday, December 11. Darby Pease claimed her second grand prix win with Carel Van Donderen in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix. Greg Crolick dominated the R+L Arena on Friday evening taking first and second place in the $15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby.
Pease of Windcrest Farm piloted her winningest mount, Carel Van Donderen (Acolino x Terania De Hoeghte), to their second grand prix win together Saturday evening in the $30,000 WEC Grand Prix. The 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Louisa Robb was incredibly quick and careful to best the field.
Pease took on the class with unwavering support behind her. Her trainer Teri Knowlton, as well as Tom and Hillary Gromus. “Nobody works harder than this girl does. It has been so crazy to watch her journey with all these horses because she never gives up. The first win is luck, the second one is real,” comments Knowlton.
Leann Kelly of Winslow Farm in Valencia, New York, claimed her second consecutive win in the futures prix earlier Saturday afternoon in the $10,000 Triple Crown Futures Prix aboard Graf Joe (Graf Top x Aline).
“He [Graf Joe] is a really cool horse. We bought him as a 6-year-old and did him through all the young jumper competition. We have had him for quite a few years now and I think he is just hitting his prime,” said Kelly.
On Friday evening, Crolick of Greg Crolick Stables in Clarkston, Michigan, piloted Jon Cotton’s Handwritten (Cellestial x Antaris) to two scores into the 90s to take the win in the $15,000 USHJA National Open 3’ Hunter Derby. Jon Cotton’s Testify (Cassini II x Valencia T) also claimed the red ribbon with Crolick in the irons.
For the second week in a row, Isabella Griffin training out of Westminster Farm in Huntsville, Alabama, and her own Diacasir (Diarado x Ucarola) earned top honors in the $15,000 USHJA National Non-Pro 3’ Hunter Derby. The duo bested 27 horse-and-athlete combinations with an overall score of 180.
“My horse is better off the right lead. I took a bit of a different approach and went off the right to the end jump. I came back to the bending line in a forward eight strides and then took the inside track to last jump to secure the handiness,” Griffin comments on her strategy in the handy round to stay on top of the leaderboard.
Richard Rinehart of Rinehart Farm in Westfield, Indiana, and Ron Caraway’s Vincent (Van Gogh x Nirande) were unstoppable on Thursday evening in the Sanctuary, emerging victorious in the $10,000 WEC Welcome Stake.
“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,” shared Rinehart.
The $3,500 2’6 Non-Pro Derby took place Saturday in the R+L Annex Arena with Zoe Johnson and Chandler Z coming out on top.
Congratulations to all entries on a successful second week of the Winter in the Midwest Series! We look forward to having you back Winter Classic #3 Gifts Under the Tree.
Photos courtesy of Winslow Photography.
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