Wellington, Fla. – Jan. 24, 2021 – A change of venue was welcomed during Week Two of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) as the week’s competition concluded Sunday on the Stadium Derby Field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. As the final class of the afternoon, 57 horse-and-rider pairs contended for top honors in the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix CSI3*. After claiming the win in Saturday’s $10,000 Hermès U25 Welcome Grand Prix, Ashley Vogel and her own mount Bellissimo Z bested the field of competitors yet again to emerge victorious.
Oscar Soberón’s (MEX) 12-obstacle track tested the world’s rising young talents, with many duos experiencing difficulty across the handy course while staying within the time allowed of 87 seconds. At the conclusion of the first round, only 10 athletes managed to complete a fault-free round. Among them included Vogel, Tanner Korotkin (USA), Zayna Rizvi (USA), Katherine Strauss (USA), Lucy Deslauriers (USA), Clare Schreder (USA), Marek Leufkens (NED), Lucas Porter (USA), Madison Goetzmann (USA) and Sophia Studd (DEN). With valuable points up for grabs towards the coveted Hermès U25 Series championship, each of the ten athletes were eager for a win.
As the pathfinders for the jump-off round, Korotkin and Deauville S, owned by Castlewood Farm, Inc., put down a clean and impressive round to set the pace at 40.561 seconds. After claiming second place in Saturday’s $10,000 Hermès U25 Welcome Grand Prix, Korotkin and the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding hoped to nab the top spot during Sunday’s class. The lead would change hands, however, when Deslauriers and Luja LLC’s Billy De Beaufour shaved just over one second off of Korotkin’s time, crossing the timers in 39.437 seconds.
A few pairs would attempt to take over Deslauriers’ new leading time aboard the 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding, but none managed to leave all of the rails intact. Coming off a victory the day prior, Vogel and Bellissimo Z entered the arena with confidence, navigating the course with ease. The duo tripped the timers in 39.109 seconds, just three-tenths of a second faster than Deslauries, moving them into the top spot.
While the remaining few contenders would try to unset Vogel, she would ultimately claim victory aboard her talented 11-year-old Zangersheide mare. Deslauriers and Billy De Beaufour claimed second place, with Korotkin and Deauville S rounding out the top three.
Week Three of WEF will kick-off Wednesday, January 27, culminating in the feature class of the week, the $137,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI3* Sunday, January 30.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Ashley Vogel – $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix winner
On her win:
“[Bellissimo Z] was jumping incredible, just like yesterday. Yesterday’s [$10,000 Hermès U25 Welcome Grand Prix] was a good warm-up for today and I didn’t expect it to happen twice. She is unreal and I am really lucky to have her!”
On Bellissimo Z:
“I haven’t really jumped any FEI classes before riding [Bellissimo Z], so getting in the ring with her is a huge confidence builder. She definitely knows what she’s doing so it definitely helps going into a jump-off with a lot of fast horses and knowing I can be in there.”
On the jump-off:
“[Bellissimo Z] is naturally a super quick horse, so I hunted over to the second-to-last fence. I have a lot of confidence in her and I know she will leave the ground even if it’s a little gappy, like I was to the last line. She was awesome.”
This is my first time jumping over here at [the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in the Stadium Derby Field] and I think it’s pretty cool to get to jump on the grass. It’s definitely something different and new, but I really enjoyed it. I really like it out and I thought it was really interesting.”
Lucy Deslauriers – second place
On Billy De Beaufour:
“He was really great today. We have been building him up to the FEI level and competing him in some ranking classes and trying to be competitive in the [Hermès U25 Series] throughout WEF. We didn’t have our best day yesterday, it was definitely a wake-up call. I just tried to regroup and put in a confident effort today and I was really happy with him.”
On the jump-off:
“I wanted to be as fast as I could and keep the jumps up. I knew Ashley [Vogel] was behind and she has been super consistent on that horse, it has a huge stride. I tried to use [Billy De Beaufour’s] foot speed a little bit rather than his stride to be as fast as I could. I definitely got lucky in a few places, fence number two I totally misjudged it but he helped me out and I was really happy.”
Tanner Korotkin – third place
On Deauville S:
“My horse is incredible. He competed a couple of years ago with Laura Kraut and has been all over the world and he definitely has his own unique style of going and his own brain. He knows where he is going everywhere around the course. You have to kind of throw him off and make him think you are going one direction because he is always going to be taking you to the next jump. The first round he jumped incredible and he jumped incredible yesterday. For the jump-off today we were planning on being as quick as possible, from fence one to two in nine strides we got a little bit lost there and had to do the ten strides so I think that’s where we lost a few seconds. But he is a great horse and he has been giving tons of experience.”
On the U25 Series:
“I think it’s a great series because it gives so many young riders a great experience going in at a bigger level. It’s great to be able to go in and compete against so many competitive riders that are our age, so when we step in the 5* ring and go against all of the top riders in the world we are more prepared to do so.”
$25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix CSI3*
Horse / Rider / Owner / Country / R1 Time | R1 Faults | R2 Time | R2 Faults
1. Bellissimo Z / Ashley Vogel / Ashley Vogel / USA / 0 | 83.24 / 0 | 39.109
2. Billy de Beaufour / Lucy Deslauriers / Luja LLC / USA / 0 | 81.64 / 0 | 39.437
3. Deauville S / Tanner Korotkin / Castlewood Farm, Inc. / USA / 0 | 82.69 / 0 | 40.561
4. E Clinton / Lucas Porter / Sleepy P Ranch LLC / USA / 0 | 84.07 / 0 | 41.467
5. Dundee / Marek Leufkens / Dundee Group / NED / 0 | 80.69 / 0 | 41.962
6. Dynamo / Claire Schreder / Ceahorse LLC / USA / 0 | 85.99 / 0 | 44.817
7. Holsteins Matina / Sophia Studd / DEN / Marie Botved Studd / 0 | 84.34 / 4 | 38.765
8. Nektarina B / Zayna Rizvi / Windsor Show Stables / USA / 0 | 82.44 / 4 | 41.563
9. Coach / Katherine Strauss / Katherine Strauss, LLC / USA / 0 | 86.55 / 8 | 45.038
10. Prestigious / Madison Goetzmann / Madison Goetzmann / USA / 0 | 85.54 / 12 | 41.844
11. S.I.E.C. Larissa / Nicolette Hirt / Iron Horse Equestrian / USA / 1 | 87.4
12. Kafka Du Printemps / Helen Graves / Helen Graves / USA / 1 | 88.58