Kristen Vanderveen (USA) rode Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili to victory in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI5* to open week nine of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL, on Wednesday, February 26.
In Wednesday’s highlight class, the best was saved for last, as Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili were the final of 60 entries to navigate the two-phase course set by Alan Wade (IRL).
When Vanderveen and her 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion entered the ring, the time to beat had been set at 33.27 seconds by both Jordan Coyle aboard Picador and Andrew Kocher with Fashion V, who sat tied atop the leaderboard.
“I actually went on my first horse and came out and felt like, ‘no way anybody can beat her,’” said Vanderveen. “Then the time quickly got beat by Santiago [Lambre]. That actually fired me up a little bit with ‘Frosty.’”
Using the stallion’s big stride to her benefit, Vanderveen shaved more than a second off the previous leading time, crossing the timers in a winning 32.18 seconds.
“It was fun because, with the turns to the verticals, you could really take a risk and put a slice on those, but I think for my horse, our advantage is his stride,” said Vanderveen of the stallion owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC. “So I was able to do one less stride down the last line that I’m not sure anyone else was able to get.”
With the victory going to Vanderveen, Coyle and Picador, owned by Elan Farm, and Kocher and Fashion V, owned by Eye Candy Jumpers, finished tied for second. Fourth place went to Mexico’s Santiago Lambre aboard Ibabco, while VanderVeen rounded about the top five with Bull Run’s Divine Fortune.