Traverse City, Michigan, USA. – July 30, 2020 – Boasting a CSI 3* rating, the fifth week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, kicked off FEI competition Thursday with the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3*. A series of new competitors were drawn to Flintfields Horse Park for their first Traverse City outing of 2020 due to the enhanced CSI 3* status, upping the class entries to a lofty 82 contenders hailing from eight nations: Austria, Canada, Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Puerto Rico and the United States. Living up to her name as one of the swiftest riders in the game, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) piloted Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, to first place, followed by the second-place honors riding Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC. Vanderveen led an all-female, all-American podium that emerged victorious ahead of a 25-horse jump-off field.
With 82 combinations in the class, competitors in the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3* had their work cut out for them. Taking advantage of the opportunity, eight riders entered three mounts in the class, which also contributed to the large field. If statistics were any indicator, then Vanderveen, Andrew Welles (USA), Andrew Bourns (IRL), Hardin Towell (USA), Natalie Dean (USA), Teddy Vlock (ISR), Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) and Erynn Ballard (CAN) held the greatest chances of winning with three mounts apiece.
The first pair to set foot in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, Schuyler Riley (USA) and Robin de Ponthual showed the rest of the field how it’s done with a clear round right off the bat, and immediately after Bourns and Darquito joined the trailblazers in the clear ranks, making it two for two. That trend continued throughout the class, as horse-and-rider pairs proved they had found the right tools to master Wade’s pattern, with 25 more combinations logging fault-free rounds to qualify for the jump-off.
Though the total number eligible for the short course was 27, two elected to withdraw so 25 returned, a number that could be a whole class in itself. Bringing multiple mounts back to the ring, Riley, Bourns, Vanderveen and Jacqueline Steffens (CAN) each had two to ride, and Megan McDermott (USA) had also qualified two horses, but chose to ride only one over the abridged track. Second back in the ring, Bourns and Darquito set the pace as the first double-clear duo of the day in 42.280 seconds, but fellow Irishman Paul O’Shea (IRL) quickly usurped the early leaders with the reins on Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu in a time of 41.820 seconds. Upping the ante by a significant amount, Olivia Chowdry (USA) turned up the heat and galloped to a clear round in 38.39 seconds, more than three full seconds faster, riding Chuck Berry 8, but the lead changed hands once again as the always-quick Vanderveen edged Bull Run’s Prince of Peace a little bit faster, stopping the clock in 38.35 second to jump to the top of the leaderboard by fractions of a second.
As the class progressed, Vanderveen retained her spot at the top of the scorecard with Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, eventually outdoing herself aboard her second mount in the jump-off, Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, with the slightly quicker fault-free time of 37.76 seconds. With most challengers breaking the beam in 40 seconds or slower, Vanderveen and “Frosty’s” time seemed likely to take the victory and, ultimately, it did. Living up to her speedy reputation, Vanderveen claimed victory on Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, as well as second place riding Bull Run’s Prince of Peace. Olivia Chowdry (USA) and Atlas Equine Holdings LLC’s Chuck Berry 8 had also separated themselves from the rest of the talented pack to nab the final podium spot, with the next-closest finisher still three seconds behind. The only other partnership to come close to Vanderveen’s winning time was Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and Billy Manjaro, who tripped the timer in 37.88 seconds but downed a rail to keep them off the podium. Over the course of the class, none of Vanderveen’s three mounts lowered a single fence. Her top two finishers successfully completed two clear rounds, and her third horse, Bull Run’s Risen ,fell victim to a single time fault.
Though he did not compete in Thursday’s highlight class, Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) held a comfortable 9-point lead in the rankings for the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus. Of the top six on the leaderboard, only fifth-place Rich Fellers (USA) and sixth-place Abigail McArdle (USA) competed in the class, so Corrgian ultimately retained his status. The Rider Bonus will be awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points in competitions $25,000 or more in prize money over the course of 11 weeks of riding in Traverse City, following the conclusion of the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI 4* on September 13.
Show jumping action will continue throughout Sunday at Flintfields Horse Park. Friday will be highlighted by the $36,600 T&R Development Speed CSI 3* and Sunday will feature the $137,000 Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI 3*, the class with the largest purse of the 2020 series thus far.
Winner’s Circle – Kristen Vanderveen (USA)
On her top-two finish:
“We are very excited. It’s actually the first class that we’ve had this year [at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival], so it’s a great start!”
On Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili and Bull Run’s Prince of Peace:
“Faustino has been my right-hand man for a long time, so it was fun to have him second to go [for the jump-off]. Prince of Peace is actually a really great story – he unfortunately had colic surgery this winter in Wellington, so thanks to Palm Beach Equine and all of our staff for helping. This is really only our third show back and he’s really recovered fantastic, so it was cool to have him perform like this today.”
On competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“Faustino has won a class here before but we haven’t been here in a couple of years. It hasn’t worked out, but we’re happy to be back.”
On her plans for 2020:
“I think it’s a little bit hard to make a plan right now but we’re trying to enjoy the horses show by show and not set too many big plans and just enjoy show jumping.”
Results $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3*
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili / Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC / 0 | 73.150 / 0 | 37.760
2. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Prince of Peace / Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC / 0 | 71.100 / 0 | 38.350
3. Olivia Chowdry (USA) & Chuck Berry 8 / Atlas Equine Holdings LLC / 0 | 76.580 / 0 | 38.39
4. Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Sea Topblue / Andrew Bourns / 0 | 75.180 / 0 | 41.36
5. Taylor St. Jacques (USA) & Upsilon De La Liniere / Taylor St. Jaques / 0 | 74.870 / 0 | 41.710
6. Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu / Machu Picchu Partners LLC / 0 | 76.140 0 | 41.820
7. Andrew Bourns (IRL) & Darquito / Andrew Bourns / 0 | 75.290 / 0 | 42.280
8. Jack Towell (USA) & Billy Manjaro / Oakland Ventures LLC / 0 | 73.290 / 4 | 37.88
9. Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Daibleur / Emma Waldfogel / 0 | 73.670 / 4 | 38.87
10. Jaqueline Steffens (CAN) & Freaky Liefhebber / Double C Stables / 0 | 76.430 / 4 | 40.73
11. Kent Farrington (USA) & Kaprice / Haity McNerney / 0 | 74.840 / 4 | 40.880
12. Alise Oken (USA) & Hitchcock VD Broekkant / Hi Hopes Farm LLC / 0 | 73.770 / 4 | 41.10
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography