Highlights From Summer V at World Equestrian Center – Ocala
Aaron Vale and Major (USA) topped the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix during Summer V. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Aaron Vale and Major Prove Invincible in $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix
An international list of 43 competitors took on the $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix on Saturday, July 10, during week five of the World Equestrian Center – Ocala Summer Series. Of the six pairs that advanced to the jump-off, Aaron Vale (USA) of Williston, FL, and Major, a 14-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding owned by Don Stewart and Sleepy P Ranch LLC, sped to the fastest time, taking their sixth WEC – Ocala grand prix win. “When I go into the ring, I always have one of the Roberts' crosses in my pocket," said Vale. "Tonight, I actually [had] two.”
An additional $5,000 was awarded to Callen Solem and Essenar Crixus, who jumped the fastest four-fault round of Saturday night’s $75,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix, in 78.660 seconds. The non-award winning entry that received the Luck of the Draw $5,000 prize was Holly Shepherd and CHS Krooze. Winning the $10,000 Futures Prix earlier on Saturday afternoon was Carlee McCutcheon and her own MTM Fortunate.
Jennifer Bliss Proves Unstoppable in $12,500 WEC – Ocala 3'6"-3'9" Hunter Derby and $10,000 WEC – Ocala 3' Hunter Derby
Jennifer Bliss and Poker Face won the $12,500 WEC – Ocala 3'6"-3'9" Hunter Derby during Summer V. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Jennifer Bliss took back-to-back derby wins on Friday, July 9, initially taking the win in the $12,500 WEC – Ocala 3'6"-3'9" Hunter Derby aboard Poker Face, owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC. Double scores of 88 put Bliss and the 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding on a 176 total to secure the victory. Bliss returned to the derby arena for the win in the $10,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Hunter Derby with Sugarman, also owned by Harris Hill Farm, LLC.
“We have had Poker Face since he was a freshly imported four-year-old," said Bliss of her mount for the $12,500 WEC – Ocala 3'6"-3'9" Hunter Derby. "The plan was to develop and sell him, but he has totally become the family horse. He is my best friend."
Diego Bilbao and Tinker Bell Top $15,000 WEC – Ocala Welcome Prix and $15,000 WEC – Ocala 1.40m Classic
Diego Bilbao and Tinker Bell captured the $15,000 WEC – Ocala Welcome Prix and the $15,000 WEC – Ocala 1.40m Classic during Summer V. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Diego Bilbao (ESP) earned two big wins during WEC Summer V, the first coming in the $15,000 WEC – Ocala Welcome Prix on Thursday, July 8, aboard Tinker Bell, an 11-year-old Warmblood mare owned by Wyndmont, Inc. The same pair jumped to win the $15,000 1.40m Classic on Sunday, July 11. “She is a little unique because she has so much quality and so much blood that we just keep it simple for her," Bilbao explained of his winning mount. "We don’t jump too much in the warm-up to keep her as relaxed as possible so she can do the best job in the ring.”
World Equestrian Center offers hunter/jumper competition at both facilities this summer, so mark your calendars for upcoming events at WEC – Ocala and WEC – Wilmington.
July 14-18 - WEC – Ocala Summer VI
July 14-18 - WEC – Wilmington Summer 1
July 21-25 - WEC – Ocala Summer VII
July 21-25 - WEC – Wilmington Summer 2
July 28-August 1 – WEC – Ocala Summer VIII
August 4-8 - WEC – Ocala Summer IX
August 11-15 - WEC – Ocala Summer X
August 11-15 - WEC – Wilmington Summer 3