Kristen VanderVeen (Wellington, FL) and Bull Run’s Divine Fortune were the fastest pair of the day in Thursday’s $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake in Tryon Stadium, stopping the short-course timers in 27.668 seconds for the win. Todd Minikus (Lake Worth, FL) took both second and third place aboard Todd Minikus LTD entries, riding Juju VDM, a 2009 Belgian Warmblood mare (Toulon x For Pleasure), to a time of 28.934 seconds and piloting Calvalou, the 2007 Oldenburg gelding (Calvaro F.C. x Baloubet du Rouet), to a clear round in a time of 29.897 seconds for third.
VanderVeen noted that the 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Padinus x Caruso) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC has been in her string for a few years and is “one of the most competitive horses I’ve ridden. She’s always fighting for me,” VanderVeen shared. “She’s special to ride because she gives you a hundred percent every time she goes into the ring. She’s won a lot of classes for me.”
“I really liked the course,” VanderVeen said about the track. “It suited my mare very well. She was quite careful with the vertical-to-vertical combination after the triple bar,” she elaborated. “She’s very good at those things. I thought [the course] really played to her strengths.”
Like many competitors, VanderVeen is still playing her competition season by ear, but plans to stay at TIEC for the summer. “It’s really exceeded my expectations,” she concluded of her competition experience at the venue. “I feel that they’ve done a great job. Everybody has been very generous and kind. It’s gone very well and everyone seems to be quite happy with it.”