Tag Archives: Winter Equestrian Festival

McLain Ward Closes Out WEF Premiere

McLain Ward & Catoki. Photo © Sportfot.

The $75,000 Prestige Italia Grand Prix wrapped up Premiere Week in the International Arena on Sunday, January 7, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). While there proved to be an exciting lineup of horses and riders, two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward and the little bay superstar, Catoki, simply could not be caught.

The class consisted of twenty-six riders over a challenging thirteen-obstacle course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA), including a triple combination that caused several rails. The class started off with a bang, including several early clear trips, but as it unfolded the clear rate slowed. The first four to jump clear and make the time allowed were Chris Ewanouski (CAN), Matt Williams (AUS), Jimmy Torano (USA), and Ward. Richard Vogel (GER) and Michael Murphy (USA) in the latter half of the draw then joined the jump-off list.

McLain and his sportscar of a horse, Catoki (Catoki x Caretello B) owned by Marilla van Beuren and Bob Russell were the quickest and most precise by more than three full seconds in the jump-off, to land them with an exciting win. They crossed the timers in 29.003 seconds, while Australia’s Matt Williams finished second riding Meadowvale Cruise in 32.959 for owner Wyndmont.

“He’s feeling great,” said Ward of his 2009 Holsteiner gelding. “He’s always great after a little bit of rest. He’s won so much and goes so fast; he almost gets a little bit like a racehorse. So, we gave him a long break after Toronto and he came back a little more mellow.”

Jean Sheptoff’s Verdict Tops Hunt Ltd. 3’6” Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunter Division

The Hunt Ltd. 3’6” Amateur-Owner 36 & Over Hunter division was the exclamation point on hunter competition during WEF Premiere and saw Jean Sheptoff’s Verdict pinned as champion.

Verdict, a 2011 Zangersheide gelding by Verdi, earned two wins over fences in addition to a second and third-place ribbon for the tri-color at the conclusion of the week. “Verdict jumped beautifully this weekend,” she said of the mount, which is coming off a long break since indoor competition in the fall. “He’s feeling his best as we start to gear up for [WCHR] hunter week [during WEF 6].”

Sheptoff has had the ride on Verdict since he joined her string as a six-year-old pre-green horse. They have progressed into a solid partnership that is now earning champion honors in the highly competitive amateur-owner hunter ranks.

“The handy yesterday was a really fun course and my horse rises to the occasion in the handy, so that was a great day,” said Sheptoff of her handy victory on Saturday. “I have basically been the only one riding him since we got him, so he always tries hard for me.”

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Conor O’Regan Scores First Win of WEF Season

Conor O’Regan & Mendini DR. Photo © Sportfot.

Ireland’s Conor O’Regan has been producing Mendini DR since the mare’s six-year-old year. The now 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Hunter’s Scendix x Cassini I) carried O’Regan to victory in the $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic, the opening event of the 2023 1.50m Championship Jumper Series at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Mendini DR, owned by Erin and Jimmy Walker’s Dynomite Ranch, had a deep cheering section on Saturday afternoon as she raced to the finish line in 41.185 seconds with a second to spare over runner-up Luis Fernando Larrazabal (VEN) riding Condara for owner Victoria Heurtematte. They stopped clock at 40.477 seconds.

Of the 28 horses that started the class, five advanced to the tie-breaking jump-off over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck (USA).

“I’ve produced this horse and we are still in a building stage with her, so to get the win today is a bonus,” said O’Regan. “She’s always had a good brain, but her style is quite unique. The biggest thing with her was just to take my time and make sure she is comfortable jumping bigger. I think she proved that she can today.”

The Boys Are Back: Men’s Team Wins Battle of the Sexes

The first “Saturday Night Lights” event of 2023 started off with a bang, bringing in huge crowds and tremendous fun on January 7 with the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes, presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center. This crowd favorite event highlighted Premiere Week of the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), which runs for 13 weeks through April 2. The men’s team broke an 11-year winning streak for the women in the 14-year history of the event.

The women’s team for Battle of the Sexes consisted of team captain Nicole Jayne, Kelly Soleau-Millar, Heather Caristo-Williams, Delaney Flynn, Samantha Mackenzie, Mia Mannis, Abigail McArdle, Catherine Pasmore, Alexis Sokolov, and Ally Worthington.

The men’s team, led by captain Charlie Jayne, also included Christian Coyle, Daniel Coyle, Jordan Coyle, Alex Granato, Luis Larrazabal, Tony Stormanns, Sohnke Theymann, Michael Tokaruk, and Simon McCarthy.

The Battle of the Sexes consists of three phases, with the first being a Table C faults-converted speed course where the riders go to head-to-head over the same course, and the one with the fastest time gains a point for their team. Following the first phase, the men’s team had a commanding lead at nine to one.

In the second phase, each team had three relay groups, where a trio of riders each did a section of the course. The women’s team fought back in the second phase closing the gap by ten points.

The final phase was a match race where riders competed at the same time over a course that mirrored itself in the ring. Scores started at 11 to 14 with the men still leading, but by the penultimate match they were neck and neck. Christian Coyle brought back hope to the men’s team by overtaking Nicole Jayne in their match race with only one match remaining.

“Going into the match race, I wanted to try and be as slick and neat as possible because my horse is naturally fast,” said Christian Coyle. “I saw after number three that Nicole was still close and then going to the skinny, I thought she was a little ahead, so I took a risk to the second-to-last and it paid off. Then I could be a little cautious and make sure I left the last up. It’s a great class. There was brilliant atmosphere here tonight and it is good fun for everyone.”

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John French and Milagro Win WEF Premiere $25k USHJA International Hunter Derby

John French & Milagro. Photo © Sportfot.

John French set a high bar for the 2023 hunter season at Wellington International with Milagro on Friday. The pair jumped around effortlessly to steal the win in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during opening week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Thirty combinations set out to conquer the classic derby format class as a highlight to professional, amateur, and junior hunter competition during WEF’s 2023 debut.

Right behind French came Michael Britt-Leon and Bacchus, a 2013 Hanoverian gelding owned by Kelly Sims, in second place, followed by Greg Crolick and Zanziebar R Z, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Jon Cotton, in third place.

French and Milagro, the coming eight-year-old gelding owned by Kent Farrington, LLC, claimed the derby victory over an interesting course plan in front of two panels of judges.

“The course was different; it wasn’t your typical turns, so you had to really pay attention to where you were going. There were times you thought you’d be going left, but really you were turning a little sharper to the right,” he said after posting a first-round combined score of 186. “Sometimes you do that in the handy, but there were a lot more turns today. It was definitely a true derby course and not your normal hunter course.”

Tomas Yofre Has What It Takes in Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge

Argentina’s Tomas Yofre is off and running at WEF with a victory in the Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge on Friday riding Eliante Z, a 2013 Zangersheide mare by Ermindo W. From a starting field of 62 over a course designed by Eric Hasbrouck USA, Eliante Z proved she had the speed to top them all for owner by Stellium Sport Horses LLC.

“I am so thankful to Olivia Broder and her family for trusting me with this special mare,” said Yofre of the mount he’s only been partnered with since the end of the 2022 season. “She gets better and better. She is super careful and competitive, and I think she can win any class she wants.”

Sweeping the rest of the podium, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny took second on California Pie, owned by Oakland Ventures, and third aboard Cicomein VDL for owned HKC Collection LLC.

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Richard Vogel Wins 35k Adequan WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round

Richard Vogel & Codex 28. Photo© Sportfot.

The highly anticipated 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) season debuted this week at Wellington International. Germany’s Richard Vogel launched into the new year with a victory in the $35,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Premiere Round on Thursday. All eyes were on Vogel and his mount, Codex 28, as the pair stormed to victory over 11 other jump-off contenders.

A total of thirty-one entries jumped course designer Eric Hasbrouck’s (USA) first round. Of the twelve pairs that advanced to the tie-breaking round, eight were double clear. Vogel and Codex 28 (Contendros 2 x Espri) were the ones to beat, and they showed off an effortless and speedy final round finishing a quarter of a second ahead of two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward and Catoki.

Vogel and Codex 28, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Sportpferde Herbert, have a dynamic history together as the pair began their journey when the talented gelding was five years old. After competing for a time at the national level with its owner, Codex 28 is now back under the direction of Vogel and is pointed towards lofty goals. Vogel said that the athletic mount has to be one of his most “promising horses for the future.”

Scott Stewart Shines during Opening Week

An ever-present “one to beat” in the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) hunter ring, Scott Stewart collected tri-colors in three divisions during the first two days of professional hunter competition at WEF. The first championship came in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals 3’9” Green Hunter division in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Stadium on Thursday.

Stewart, of Wellington, FL, piloted Jordan, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding by Paname de Varnel owned by Sophie Gochman. Earning first, second, and third-place ribbons across the board, Jordan posted two scores of 88.5, 87, and 88 throughout four rounds of jumping.

“It’s exciting to be back – I love it here. I brought out a small group of horses and they all did well this week,” said Stewart of the start to his WEF season. “Sophie bought Jordan at the end of last year and he was champion throughout indoors. He’s such a good jumper and a real trier.”

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Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen Takes Final FEI Win at WEF in $50k CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*

Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen and Forever SFN. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 3, 2022 – The final day of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded 13 weeks of competition on Sunday, April 3, with the last international jumper class of the circuit on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village as well as the closing classes across all divisions at Wellington International. Kelli Cruciotti Vanderveen (USA) emerged as the last international victor as she and Forever SFN won the $50,000 CabanaCoast Grand Prix CSI2*.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) built one final challenging effort for the 45 two-star competitors in the class. He tested the entries with an early triple combination, but the efficient time allowed of 74 seconds was only the deciding factor for two duos. Thirteen more had their hopes dashed with the fault of a single downed obstacle. As the first round concluded, the returning line-up consisted of 11 representatives from four different nations prepared to battle it out over the jump-off track.

Cruciotti Vanderveen was the second to return for the short course and established the first clear round over the track with Springpaarden Fonds Nederland’s 12-year-old KWPN gelding Forever SFN (Azteca VDL x Non Stop) in a time of 38.18 seconds. Five other horses would go clear over the track, but none would come close to the leader’s blazing time.

Fabio Leivas Da Costa (BRA) and Bonne Chance Farm LLC’s Ilex put in another top effort to take second place in the class. Da Costa skillfully navigated the nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Baltic VDL x Chin Chin) through each obstacle but fell still two seconds shy of Cruciotti Vanderveen’s top time to finish in 40.14 seconds. The USA landed in both the first and third positions as Katherine Dinan galloped into third place with Dijon Terdoorn Z. Dinan piloted the Grant Road Partners LLC’s 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Diamant De Semilly x Lord Z) to a final time of 40.19 seconds just behind Da Costa.

Nicola Philippaerts Closes Out WEF with Victory

The final class in the International Arena was the $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix. With 51 entries in a starting order stacked with six Olympians and riders from 13 countries, course designer Ken Krome (USA) had his work cut out for him. He set a formidable test that only brought back six for the jump-off. Rising to the top of the class was Belgian Olympian Nicola Philippaerts riding his own Gijs.

Philippaerts came back third in the jump-off, chasing a time of 44.446 seconds set by Darragh Kerins (IRL) and Intuitive, owned by Eve Jobs, which would hold up for third place. Philippaerts and Gijs brought the winning time down to 41.421 seconds. Second place went to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games individual gold medalist Ben Maher, who rode Point Break, owned by Maher, Pamela Wright, and Charlotte Rossetter, to a clear round in 43.344 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ashlee Bond Forges Successful Partnership for Victory in $500k Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* at WEF

Ashlee Bond and Karoline of Ballmore. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 2, 2022 – The pinnacle event of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) came to an exciting conclusion on Saturday, April 2, in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*. Olympian Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Karoline Of Ballmore ascended to the top of the podium after an exciting five-horse jump-off.

Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) set a large and technical course befitting a five-star event for the 40 entries that qualified for the class. With a line-up of who’s who in show jumping, five horse-and-rider combinations were able to find the key to a clear round and return for the jump-off.

“It’s always very special to build this grand prix,” said Jorge. “I’ve been coming to Wellington since 1999. This is the fifth time in a row I’ve designed the Rolex Grand Prix. Wellington is home now, so for me it feels very special.

“It’s always very challenging [to design this grand prix course], because it’s the end of the season,” continued Jorge of his design plan. “This arena itself gives us a lot of variety. I knew I had to build a tough course, because we had a really, really strong group of horses and riders. I made some adjustments in the end because of the heat and the humidity; I took the spread out of the last few oxers, because we are all feeling the weather a little bit. But it was fantastic jumping and conditions of the field. Everything worked out very well, so I’m really happy with it.”

As a late addition to the starting order due to a scratch in the original order, Spencer Smith (USA) and Quibelle, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare by FRH Quaid x Stakkato owned by Gotham Enterprizes, LLC, were first into the ring for both the opening round and the jump-off. Over the shortened course, they had an unfortunate rail for four faults in 45.68 seconds, which would leave them in fifth place at the end of the class.

Chloe Reid (USA) was next to contest with Live Oak Plantation LLC’s Souper Shuttle. She and the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare by Stakkato x La Zarras 2, which she has ridden for three years, put in an efficient clear round in a time of 47.63 seconds to take the lead, but with two more double clear rides after her, she would land in the third-place position on the podium.

Always a threat in the jump-off, Daniel Coyle (IRL) piloted Legacy, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare by Chippendale Z x Bon Ami owned by Ariel Grange, to the fastest time of the jump-off in 43.88 seconds, but a downed jump for four faults gave them fourth place at the end of the class.

Bond and Karoline Of Ballmore, competing in their first jump-off together, were able to blaze through the jump-off course in 44.09 seconds and leave all of the jumps up to take the lead.

Daniel Bluman, winner of the 2012 edition of this finale grand prix, was clear and just off the winning pace in 44.29 seconds with Ladriano Z, owned by Over The Top Stables LLC, which gave Israel a one-two finish.

Jumper Turned Hunter Catena 5 Ends Circuit on High Note in Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 18-35

Julia Weiss, of Amagansett, NY, and her own Catena 5 reigned supreme on Saturday in the Amateur-Owner Hunters 3’3” 18-35, sponsored by Adequan.

The division took place in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring over two days and saw 18 horse-and-rider teams compete in four over fences classes and an under saddle.

Weiss and Catena 5, a 12-year-old Holsteiner mare, posted the top score over fences each day with a 90 in the handy on Friday and a 91 on Saturday. They also won the under saddle and received a second place over fences to end on a total of 36 points for the championship.

Reserve champion in the division went to Quest, owned and ridden by Stephanie Danhakl, of Pacific Palisades, CA. The pair won two of their over fences classes and were third in the under saddle to end on 24.5 points.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Debney Takes a Leap of Faith to Win $37k Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5*

Grace Debney and Zarina De Vidau. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 1, 2022 – The third day of international competition on Friday, April 1, during the final Rolex-sponsored week of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), closed out with Grace Debney (GBR) winning her first-ever five-star class in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5*.

Fourteen nations were represented in the 50-horse lineup of the five-star class. Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) built a track worthy of the day’s main event with a single-round speed challenge to be completed under an efficient time of 76 seconds. Daniel Coyle (IRL) and his top mount, Farona, took the early lead in the speed class as he stopped the clock in 55.30 seconds with Ariel Grange’s 12-year-old KWPN mare (Baltic VDL x Lux Z). The pair held the headline position until nearly the end, but Debney made it clear she did not come to take second.

Debney and her long-time partner Zarina De Vidau, a horse she has had since acquiring her to do the junior jumpers, put complete faith in one another and became the only combination to lower the time on the scoreboard below 55 seconds. By leaving several strides out across the course and relying on the trust they have built, Debney and the Temple Equestrian LLC’s 11-year-old CDE mare (Diamant De Semilly) shook up the competition with a final time of 54.97 seconds.

Gilbertson’s New Partnership Successful in $37,000 CabanaCoast 1.45m Qualifier CSI2*

Jorge’s course for the $37,000 CabanaCoast 1.45m Qualifier CSI2* left only 13 of the original 76 entries eligible for the class’s short course. The tight time allowed of 71 seconds played a factor for 10 riders, while five more fell victim to a downed rail. Riders from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Ireland, and Great Britain made up the jump-off.

Trailblazer Lacey Gilbertson (USA) was the front runner as the final adjustments were made and set the time to beat with a blazing fast double-clear performance of 38.58 seconds. Samuel Hutton (GBR) immediately followed with another clear round but settled into the temporary second place with a slightly slower time. The remainder of the competitors gave it their best shot with all but five going fault-free, but Gilbertson and Seabrook LLC’s 12-year-old BWP mare Karlin Van’t Vennehof (Fantomas De Muze x Quasimodo Van De Molendreef) held tight to the top position throughout the entirety of the second round.

Ireland’s Tom Wachman shot into the victory gallop with HH Fireball as the pair flew to a fast second place. He and Coolmore Show Jumping’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Number One D’Isp x Toulon) landed roughly half a second behind Gilbertson for the honors. Hutton slipped into the third-place position as his time of 39.67 seconds with Abdel Saïd’s 12-year-old BWP gelding H&M Kirlo van den Bosrand (Cardento 933 x Utrillo VD Heffinck) fell just below Wachman’s time of 39.10 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Noche De Ronda Makes Comeback in $37k Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5*

McLain Ward and Noche De Ronda. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 30, 2022 – The final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival jumped into a week of intense action on Wednesday, March 30, 2022. 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games team silver medalist McLain Ward (USA) won Wednesday’s featured event, the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5*, with top mount Noche De Ronda.

Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed a flowing track that used a vast majority of the field to test its 54 contenders. The two-phase course included a total of 15 obstacles with the first phase to be completed in 44 seconds and the second phase having a time allowed of 43 seconds. Jorge’s elements included several double combinations as well as a water obstacle to test some of the world’s best competitors. Eleven nations were represented in the original starting lineup with Mexico’s Eugenio Garza Perez holding on to the lead at the halfway mark of the event.

Ward piloted the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare Noche De Ronda (Quintender 2 x Lovis Corinth), a horse he co-owns with Marilla Van Beuren and Bob Russell, to the top position after the pair stopped the clock fault-free and with a time of 30.81 seconds.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny Flies to First in $216k Palm Beach County Sports Commission Grand Prix CSI4*

Darragh Kenny piloting Volnay Du Boisdeville. © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 27, 2022 – The final day of competition at the penultimate week of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) boasted a day of elite competition as the best in the world geared up for the highlight event, the $216,000 Palm Beach County Sports Commission Grand Prix CSI4*. In a nail-biting jump-off, Darragh Kenny (IRL) took the final international win of the week with Volnay Du Boisdeville.

Forty-four qualified combinations elected to contest Olaf Petersen Jr.’s (GER) challenging grand prix track, but representatives from most of the 16 nations struggled to find a successful path around every obstacle. At the event’s halfway mark, only three athletes consisting of Darragh Kenny (IRL), Petronella Andersson (SWE), and Zoe Conter (BEL) had procured an elusive jump-off spot. Petersen included a triple bar, triple combination, and two liverpool elements to test the riders. What he crafted in degree of difficulty, however, Petersen compensated for in time as he allowed a healthy time allowed of 91 seconds to navigate the course.

As the class wound down, the second half of the entries rose to the occasion and an additional six contenders emerged fault-free for a nine-horse jump-off lineup. Sweden’s Petronella Andersson was the first to take on the short course and put the pressure on as she once again cleared the timers fault-free, which would hold up for fourth place. Kenny was second into the arena and, as he shaved a second off of Andersson’s time, once again took the leading spot with a time of 39.43 seconds. The remainder of the field gave it their all, but the class concluded with his performance still in the lead.

Kenny’s fellow countryman, Mark McAuley (IRL), donned his sixth red ribbon of the circuit after chasing Kenny down to the wire and landing with mere milliseconds between them. McAuley fell just shy after landing on a time of 39.52 seconds with SNC McAuley Equestrian’s 13-year-old BWP gelding Jasco VD Bisschop (Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Krunch De Breve).

The last of the podium honors went to the final jump-off contenders, Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Ubiluc. Having seen the entirety of the jump-off class play out, Bluman piloted the Over the Top Stables’ 10-year-old Mecklenburg gelding (Ubiko x Lucian) across the track in top form and took over the third-place position after landing double clear in 40.43 seconds.

Beerbaum Bests All in Large Pony Hunter Division

The Large Pony Hunter division kicked off competition in Ring 12 on Pony Island with 18 young riders taking to the division’s final three over-fences classes. Brianne Beerbaum took the champion title of the division with consistent top performances aboard Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Rashinga. The pair rode to a first-place ribbon in three out of the four over fences classes and secured the fifth-place ribbon in the division’s under-saddle class for a total of 31 points.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Paul O’Shea and Chancelloress Win $140k CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Series Final

Paul O’Shea and Chancelloress. © Sportfot.

Competition for “Saturday Night Lights” during week 11, sponsored by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, of the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) was packed with action during the circuit’s penultimate week. While hunter riders had the opportunity to take center stage on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village over the weekend in both international and national derby events, show jumpers took to the Wellington International Arena to compete for the top prize in the $140,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final. In a mad dash across the finish line, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Chancelloress claimed the leading spot.

The night culminated with both an overall series champion as well as the final class winner. Spectators in the night’s crowd were treated to extra excitement as the new name of the venue, Wellington International, was revealed prior to the first horse on course. Course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER) raised an impressive challenge to the field of 48 starters representing 17 nations, and only five of the original entries managed to earn a slot for the short track. The jump-off came down to a battle between the U.S. and Ireland as Spencer Smith (USA), Laura Kraut (USA), and Alex Matz (USA) took on countrymen Mark McAuley (IRL) and O’Shea.

With three to follow, McAuley was the first to produce a double-clear effort in a tidy time of 36.97 seconds aboard LT Competition’s 10-year-old CH mare O’Hara ELS (Ogano Sitte x Liandero). However, the taste of victory didn’t last quite as long as hoped when O’Shea immediately followed and shaved over a second off of McAuley’s effort in 35.51 seconds.

“I knew Alex would be fast, and that Laura was after me too,” explained O’Shea. “I didn’t get to see Mark go but he is always fast, so I just tried to do the best round that I could.”

O’Shea credited his mount with rising to the occasion for the class and has high hopes for the end of season with the Trelawny Farms’ 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Chacco-Blue x Balou Du Rouet).

The Irish also took the overall victory of the CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Series as Shane Sweetnam was named the leading rider through the entirety of the circuit. Despite never having worn the winning cooler, Sweetnam’s consistency and six top-five placings throughout the season with four different mounts was enough to earn the honors.

Jimmy Torano and Laskano Can’t Be Beat in $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

As top hunter riders took their final turn on the turf at Equestrian Village, Jimmy Torano once again led the lap of honor across the grass as he claimed yet another victory aboard Isalou Inc.’s Laskano. Thirty of the country’s best hunter riders donned their shadbellies astride perfectly manicured athletes for the $50,000 USHJA International Derby. The competition was down to the wire but ultimately, as the pair have done repeatedly throughout the WEF season, Jimmy Torano and Laskano emerged at the top of the elite field. Torano and his talented mount held one of the top 12 coveted spots from the start and returned as one of the final few pairings to contest Ken Krome’s handy course.

Looking on to determine the class winner were Bob Crandall and Ken Krome from the Panel One judges box and Rob Bielefeld with Melissa Bark for Panel Two. Krome designed a handy phase worthy of its opponents that included multiple rollbacks, a trot fence, and a two-stride combination in a bending line to a bounce. Competitors could earn four additional points for high options and were rewarded with extra points for handiness.

The top 12 returned in reverse order and after returning in the tenth-place position, Hannah Isop put the pressure on the remaining riders when she and Red Ryder, an 18-year-old Selle Francais gelding, scored a total of 210 for their efforts in the handy. The massive score catapulted Isop into the lead and put the pressure on Torano to display another flawless effort.

Kelley Farmer took the yellow ribbon honors aboard a horse that is competing for the first time in the U.S.

Torano was not going down without a fight, however, and he gave it his all with the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding to earn another incredible score over the 200-mark with a total of 206 points from the respective judges. The round once again led the field, and Torano piloted Laskano to an overall score of 393 points.

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.