Thrilling equestrian sport filled the WEC Grand Arena for the $75,000 Grand Prix sponsored by Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. The course was designed by Catsy Cruz of Mexico and featured winding tracks with multiple combinations and jump-offs that rewarded a steady, accurate ride.
The $75,000 Grand Prix was sponsored by Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, where the LPGA Drive On Championship presented by Volvik is being held this weekend. In honor of the event, a stunning decorative putting green was added to the large water feature inside of the WEC Grand Area. Twenty-seven entries took a swing at the 1.50m track under the lights this evening, but Santiago Lambre was on par, taking 1st and 2nd place aboard his own Comtess and Easy Girl (Conthargos x Nanina), respectively.
One of the first entries to jump a clear first round was Bryn Sadler and Showcase 81, LLC’s Cinven CR (Clearway x Raissa CR). Sadler and the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding have earned several ribbons in feature jumper classes throughout the World Equestrian Center – Ocala Winter Spectacular including two 2nd places in $20,000 Welcome Prix classes. Tonight the pair jumped a clear first round in 82.905 seconds, well within the time allowed of 87 seconds, securing a spot in the jump-off.
Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and his own Comtess were next to jump a clear first round. Lambre and his scopey mare topped the $20,000 Welcome Prix during Week 4 of the World Equestrian Center – Ocala Winter Spectacular and returned to the WEC Grand Area tonight searching for another win. The duo left all rails up in the first round in 82.957 seconds, ensuring a return on the short course.
Lambre also secured a spot in the jump-off aboard his own Easy Girl (Conthargos x Nanina). Lambre and the 10-year-old mare have taken several top placings in various feature jumper classes throughout the World Equestrian Center – Ocala Winter Spectacular, even finishing in 2nd place in the $75,000 WEC Grand Prix during Week 4. The pair was also quick and clear in a time of 82.536.
The course was adjusted and six entries returned for the jump-off. Sadler and Cinven CR were the first entry to jump clear, leaving all rails up in a time of 37.341, setting the time to beat for the remaining entries. Next in the ring were Lambre and Comtess. With no inside turn options and just one clear, the pair kept a steady pace, ensuring that they cleared every fence while keeping a quick time. They crossed the timers at 36.506 seconds with a second clear round, moving into the top spot. Lambre still held the lead with Comtess when he returned aboard Easy Girl. He took to the course with the same strategy, keeping a strong pace but remaining careful over the fences. The pair stopped the clock at 37.216 seconds, sliding into 2nd place by just over a tenth of a second, leaving himself and Comtess in 1st place.
Lambre took time to chat ringside about his rides in the class, “All four horses that I rode in the class jumped great. I had two horses that had four faults and I was lucky to have two in the jump-off. Tonight, it was not a crazy fast jump-off like the other week. I lost one grand prix at the beginning of the winter by running to the last fence, so I thought I would stay more conservative tonight. There were no inside turns and I saw that there was one clear before me, but the time wasn’t crazy fast. I wanted to keep the rails up.”
He spoke a bit about his 1st and 2nd place mounts, saying, “Comtess is a mare that I’ve only had for two months. She is a great mare and came from a good stable in Europe. She is green, but I think she can jump the big grand prix. I’ve had Easy Girl for one year and she has jumped consistently in the grand prix classes.”
Lambre also commented on his experience at World Equestrian Center – Ocala, “It’s good to get experience under the lights at the 1.50m height. It is a great place for the horses to learn and get ready for the 5* next year. Easy Girl can be spooky under the lights, but she’s learning and gaining experience here. I think that the stadium here is even more impressive than Wellington. I have a horse in Wellington that I jumped the 5* on last week and I would like to have him here. The stadium and the jumps at World Equestrian Center are something like you would see in the Olympic Games. The best place to train my horse for the Olympics is here.”
He added, “I was in Europe for 15 years and I think that this is the best facility in the world. There is nothing like this. I’ve jumped in every country in Europe and I know all of the shows, I’ve jumped in South America and Canada, and I can say that this is the best place in the world. I came to show for one week and this is, now, my sixth week here. I have my barn and my house in Wellington and I am here because I like it so much.”
$75,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club Grand Prix Results
- Comtess, Santiago Lambre – 0 | 0 | 36.506
- Easy Girl, Santiago Lambre – 0 | 0 | 37.216
- Cinven CR, Bryn Sadler – 0 | 0 | 37.341
- Ashton Dakota, Rowan Willis – 0 | 4 | 34.368
- Cartouch III, Rowan Willis – 0 | 4 | 36.963
- Mtm Kappa Kappa Gamma, Brooke Kemper – 0 | 8 | 37.186
- CoPilot, Chase Boggio – 2 | 88.617
- Dingeman, Santiago Lambre – 4 | 79.042
- Any, Kady Abrahamson – 4 | 80.337
- Essince W, David Beisel – 4 | 80.822
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.