15-year-old Carlee McCutcheon & MTM Unexpected Triumph in $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix

Carlee McCutcheon & MTM Unexpected on their way to win the $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Saturday afternoon’s $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix saw a thrilling field of 32 horse-and-rider combinations striving for the win over a tricky course designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo. The track for the Futures Prix featured a double combination and a triple combination. Twelve entries managed clean first rounds but only five jumped double clear, with Carlee McCutcheon earning two double clear spots.

McCutcheon & MTM Fortunate flying in the WEC Grand Arena. Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

Fifteen-year-old Carlee McCutcheon from Aubrey, Texas set the pace early in the class with her first mount MTM Fortunate. McCutcheon and the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding produced a clean and smooth first round, stopping the clock at 78.426 seconds with all rails up, qualifying the pair for the jump-off. “I thought that MTM Fortunate was amazing in the first round. He was really ready to jump clear and help me out,” said McCutcheon.

McCutcheon and MTM Fortunate (Cassini I x Lortina I) jumped off immediately, leaving out a stride in the last line to stop the clock at 30.817 seconds setting the pace for the rest of the class.

Marcus Gruenthal & Infante SK jumping the triple combination. Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

McCutcheon held the lead until Marcus Gruenthal and his own Infante SK took to the ring. Gruenthal and Infante SK earned the tenth-place finish in last week’s Future Prix. The pair delivered a clean first round, stopping the timers at 78.836 seconds. Gruenthal and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding advanced straight to the jump off, rolling from the double combination to the second to the last fence to stop the clock at 30.462 seconds, to eventually earn the second-place.

McCutcheon & MTM Unexpected soaring over the second to last fence in the jump-off. Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

McCutcheon returned to the WEC Grand Arena to contest the $10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix on her second mount MTM Unexpected (Sir Shutterfly x Innovation). McCutcheon and the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding were ready to steal the top spot. The pair performed a flawless first round, jumping each fence with ease, to stop the first-round timers at 76.602 seconds. McCutcheon has owned MTM Unexpected since she was 12-years-old, “We bought MTM Unexpected when he was seven-years-old from MTM Farm. We have grown up together and learned so much from each other.”

McCutcheon & MTM Unexpected smiling with her trainer/grandmother Colleen McQuay. Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected started the jump off strong, cruising from fence one to fence two in a tidy roll back. The pair galloped to the double combination, leaving both fences up. McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected flew to the large pink oxer, to roll through the last line in seven strides to stop the clock at 30.234 seconds, ultimately earning McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected the win.

“MTM Unexpected is much more of a speedy horse, so when I know he is jumping well, I go for it. My favorite part of jump-offs is being able to gallop. This course today, offered a lot of fun options and room to gallop which I really enjoyed,” stated McCutcheon.

Damian Guthrie & Gerry’s Jewels rounding out the top three. Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.

The last double clean pair to contest McCutcheon and MTM Unexpected’s time was Damian Guthrie and Florence Hessen-Scher’s Gerry’s Jewels (Mersley Mon Capatain x Lily C). Guthrie and the 10-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner mare started the jump-off with a rolling gallop and a tight inside turn from fence one to two. The pair soared through the rest of the course, stopping the jump-off clock at 30.568 seconds, earning the third-place finish in Saturday afternoon’s class.

$10,000 WEC Ocala Futures Prix Results:

1. MTM Unexpected, Carlee McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon:  0 | 0 | 30.234
2. Infante SK, Marcus Gruenthal, Marcus Gruenthal:  0 | 0 | 30.462
3. Gerry’s Jewels, Damian Guthrie, Florence Hessen-Scher:  0 | 0 | 30.568
4. MTM Fortunate, Carlee McCutcheon, Carlee McCutcheon:  0| 0 | 30.817
5. Emeraldo, Karl Beyer, Hannah Matts: 0 | 0 | 31.577
6. Hera-V, Sophia Studd, Sophia Studd: 0 | 4 | 29.528
7. Con Spirit, Nathalie Petschenig, Nathalie Petschenig:  0 | 4 | 30.997
8. Glamour Van De Kakebeek, Anne Bingler, Anne Bingler: 0 | 4 | 31.128
9. Canaan, Jenna Friedman, Oakridge Farm Performance Horses, LLC: 0 | 4 | 31.778
10. El Capone, Mindy Coretz, Mindy Coretz:  0 | 4 | 33.792

Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.