|The competition was tough in the $10,000 Welcome Stake 1.35m and Olympic course designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Florida had the riders really ride for the prize money.|
With a first round set at 72 seconds, 11 horse and rider teams would advance to a second round opportunity.
Ashley Foster of Brookeville, Maryland in the irons of Rolling Acres’ Stardust was the first horse and rider team to turn in a clear first round, advancing to a second round opportunity. Their clear second round in 38.751 seconds beat the time allowed of 45 seconds and set the new time to beat.
Zachary Parks of Charlottesville, Virginia aboard Jill Greiner’s Indigo Z were the next horse and rider team to advance to a second round. Even though the pair’s time of 37.960 seconds was fast, four jump faults would see the pair finish in eighth place.
Shelly Zimmerli of Fairfax Station, Virginia and Zimmerli Show Jumping, LLC’s Haydn were the next to turn in a clear first round and take their turn at the abbreviated second round course. A heartache rail at the final fence earned them four jump faults in a time of 33.308 seconds, which would see them finish in sixth overall.
Laura Gaither Ulrich of Raleigh, North Carolina, aboard her own Garda followed Zimmerli and Haydn in the order. Their second round earned them four jump faults and three time faults in 47.193 seconds leaving them with a ninth place finish.
David Matisz of Wellington, Florida and David Matisz, LLC’s M. Holliday followed in the order and advanced to a second round. Their clear second round in a time of 37.291 took the lead and set the new time to beat.
Samantha Tuerk of Wellington, Florida and Stony Ridge Management’s Camryn were up next. Four jump faults in a second round time of 37.180 seconds would see them finish in seventh place overall.
Shoshana Altschuler of Wilmington, Delaware aboard Lucy Wood’s Valegro DH Z followed Tuerk and Camryn. After posting a clear first round, the pair earned 12 jump faults in their second round in a time of 40.681 seconds, which would keep them out of the ribbons.
It would take five more trips until another horse and rider team would advance to a second round opportunity. Sulu Rose Reed of Mechanicsville, Virginia in the irons of Paula Pell’s Denali turned in a fault-free second round in a time of 35.335 seconds, taking the lead and setting the new time to beat.
“I thought Steve Stephens’ course was really nice. It was a very ‘welcoming’ welcome class,” commented Reed. “We are so lucky to get course designers of his [Stephens’] caliber here,” she added. “He is a fantastic course designer.”
“Some people had time faults in the first round. He [Stephens] designed it so if you’re not cognizant of the time allowed, you could get a time fault. I’m always thinking of time faults because I think those are the worst kind of faults,” commented Reed.
“The jump off round was challenging. My strategy was to put a little slice on the first jump and I did a bending line to the combination. Even though I had walked the last line as a 10 stride, I did count and do 9 in the jump off round-I really had to extend her stride to the last jump. Even though Denali is a really big horse, she’s really handy and just a solid citizen,” said Reed.
Grace Long of Middleburg, Virginia and G & T Equestrian’s Happiness VD Hazel Hof were the next to qualify for a second round opportunity after Reed and Denali. Although the pair went clear, their time of 37.223 seconds would not beat the leader and the pair would settle into third place.
Christina Webb of Bahama, North Carolina and Fox View Farm’s FVF Sailor Man, winner of yesterday’s $1,500 1.35 m Open Jumper Stake were the last horse and rider team to advance to a second round. Despite their fault-free second round, their time of 37.115 could not beat Reed and Denali and the pair would settle into a second place finish, leaving Reed and Denali victorious.
“I have a really nice horse [Denali] and have had her a long time. My friends own her and I think they’ve had her with me for 6 years now. So far this year she’s had a great season and she seems happy and relaxed. We made a lot of changes with her with shoeing and a lot of the little things and she’s going well,” said Reed. “When you have a mare like her that you have a relationship with, it’s hard to beat,” said Reed.
“Her [Denali’s] owner Paula is the best owner you can ride for-she always stays positive. She is a wonderful lady, super supportive owner, loves the horses and the sport and she’s really the whole package.”
Reed’s 16 year old daughter Addison also showed in today’s $10,000 Welcome Stake. “She’s got a nice horse and she came off of a really good Florida circuit. This weekend will be her first grand prix. It is so much fun to have my daughter in there with me,” she added.
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