Inaugural Welcome Stake Winner McLain Ward Claims Repeat Victory on Opening Day of 2018 Palm Beach Masters

McLain Ward and Hija Van Strokapelleken
McLain Ward and Hija Van Strokapelleken

Wellington, Fla. – Feb. 1, 2018 – For the third year, the Jacobs family welcomed an international field of horses and athletes to their private facility at Deeridge Farms for the CP Palm Beach Masters CSI3*-W. The opening day of competition saw World No. 3, reigning World Cup champion and inaugural winner, McLain Ward (USA), ride Evergate Stables LLC’s Hija van Strokapelleken to victory in the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake.

Fernando Martinez Sommer and Cor Bakker
Fernando Martinez Sommer and Cor Bakker

Course designer Alan Wade returned to the event for his third year, testing 52 athletes over 12 obstacles set at 1.45m in height on the grass of the Grand Prix Field with a time allowed of 77 seconds. Fourteen athletes cleared the speed without error. Tenth onto the turf was Mexico’s Fernando Martinez Sommer aboard Cor Bakker. Sommer rode his own 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding to a fault-free time of 66.83 seconds to take an early lead.

McLain Ward and Hija Van Strokapelleken claim the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake.
McLain Ward and Hija Van Strokapelleken claim the $35,000 CP Welcome Stake.

Almost a third of the way into the order of go, Ward laid down an impressive round, shattering Sommer’s time by almost four and a half seconds for an unbeatable time of 62.02 seconds. Ward and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare recently teamed up, but have already found success, claiming the first international victory of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) upon winning the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers during Week One. While some people used Thursday’s class for training, Ward noted the prize money was the same as Friday’s $35,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier and decided to take advantage. Ward also claimed the same victory in 2016 during the first year of the Palm Beach Masters aboard HH Carlos Z.

Hunter Holloway and Eastern Jam-2
Hunter Holloway and Eastern Jam

Rounding out the top three was young athlete Hunter Holloway (USA) aboard Hays Investment Corp.’s Eastern Jam in third place. Holloway and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding finished a clear round in 67.42 seconds. The pair has already had a successful start to their year, finishing second in the $25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix at WEF Week Two.

Friday, Feb. 2, will feature the $35,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier presented by SOVARO beginning at 2 p.m. to qualify for Sunday’s $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Wellington CSI3*-W beginning at 1 p.m. The 2018 CP Palm Beach Masters CSI3*-W offers one of the final two East Coast qualifiers in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping North American League determining which U.S. athletes qualify for the final in Paris, France in April.


McLain Ward – $35,000 CP Welcome Stake winner

On Hija van Strokapelleken:
“Hija is a mare owned by Jenn Gates and Evergates Stables. Jenn was nice enough to send the horse to me to compete and eventually sell. I’ll hopefully get to compete with her until then. She’s a wonderfully experienced grand prix horse with a massive stride and very good jump. I’m enjoying her very much!”

On the day:
“I’m lucky enough to have a good string of horses so that I could have two horses in this event. Today’s money is as good as tomorrow, I believe, so I’m gonna work hard for it. Even with everyone training today, it was a good day to take a little advantage. I did a training round with HH Callas setting her up for the weekend, but with Hija our goal was to come in and try to pick off this first class.”

Fernando Martinez Sommer – $35,000 CP Welcome Stake reserve champion

On Palm Beach Masters:
“It’s a beautiful place! It’s my first time here and I’m very happy to be here!”

On Cor Bakker:
“I’ve had him for the last two and a half years. I bought him as a young 8-year-old, he’s 10 now. I’ve did a couple grand prixs with him this past summer. I hope to keep him at this level and be successful.”

Hunter Holloway- $35,000 CP Welcome Stake third place

On Palm Beach Masters:
“It’s a wonderful horse show. I came last year and thought I had to come back! It’s a top-class event and I just love it.”

On Eastern Jam:
“He’s be a wonderful horse to bring along. I got him about two years ago when he was doing the 1.20m. He’s an investment horse for Hays Investment Corporation. To see him now at this level, is something for me to be proud of. I just wanted to have a nice smooth round today and he let me go a little faster around the corners. He marched right in and was super confident.”


$35,000 CP Welcome Stake
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Faults | Time
1. Hija van Strokapelleken / McLain Ward / USA / 0 | 62.02
2. Cor Bakker / Fernando Martinez Sommer / MEX / 0 | 66.83
3. Eastern Jam / Hunter Holloway / USA / 0 | 67.42
4. Waterford / Lauren Hough / USA / 0 | 67.73
5. Dixson / Ian Millar / CAN / 0 | 68.41
6. Austria / Amber Harte / USA / 0 | 68.87
7. Polias de Blondel / Alexandra Paillot / FRA / 0 | 69.02
8. Donna Speciale / Leslie Burr-Howard / USA / 0 | 69.99
9. Imogen de Regor / Callan Solem / USA / 0 | 71.50
10. Confu / Laura Kraut / USA / 0 | 72.11
11. Aristoteles V / Jonathan McCrea / USA / 0 | 73.37
12. Charly Chaplin S / Kerry Mc Cahill / USA / 0 | 73.45

For full results, please click here.

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