Traverse City, Michigan, USA. – Aug. 6, 2020 – Back at Flintfields Horse Park for the final week of the six-week Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, international contenders went head-to-head Thursday in the $36,600 CWD Welcome Stake CSI 3*. A lofty field of 71 entries from ten countries, including Austria, Colombia, Ireland, Canada, Puerto Rico, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and the United States, galloped through the first round, with the field whittled to representatives from only four nations in the jump-off. Consistently one of the best in the world and living up to his reputation today, Kent Farrington (USA) sped through the finish line the fastest with the reins on his own Austria 2 to capture the top honors.
Contributing to the large number in the field was the fact that a few riders, including Teddy Vlock (ISR), Ashley Fleischhacker (USA), Nicholas Dello Joio (USA), Erynn Ballard (CAN) and Kristen Vanderveen (USA), increased their odds of success with three horses entered into the class. As the Week Fine winner of both the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI 3* and $36,600 T&R Development Classic CSI 3*, Vanderveen was a particular threat. For the first pattern, course designer Manuel Esparza (MEX) provided a technical track, but the time limit ultimately caused more problems than the fences. The 71-second time-allowed proved to be a tough factor for a number of partnerships, with eight duos leaving all the rails in their cups but incurring a single time fault to keep them off of the jump-off list. In total, regardless of faults, 35 first-round contenders finished the track with three or fewer time faults to their name, making footspeed an important component for those aiming for the tie-breaker round.
It took until the seventeenth pair to go to see a clear round, which came from the trailblazers Jordan Kilkenny (IRL) and Colour Your Day. Once the pathfinders paved the way, a string of fault-free rounds followed from Adam Prudent (USA), Abigail McArdle (USA), Paul O’Shea (IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), Capt. Brian Cournane (IRL) and Schuyler Riley (USA) on their respective mounts by the halfway point. As the class progressed, the trend continued with Kristen Vanderveen (USA), Natalie Dean (USA), Daniel Bluman (ISR), Ilan Bluman (COL), Olivia Chowdry (USA), Molly Ashe Cawley (USA), Erin Ballard (CAN) and Lillie Keenan (USA). Farrington and Prudent also qualified second mounts for the next phase of riding, bringing the total number of eligible pairs to 18.
Back again aboard Colour Your Day, Kilkenny piloted his mount to the first double-clear of the class in a time of 50.86 seconds to set the early pace. A handful of trips later, Teddy Vlock (ISR) and Charly Brown blew away the leaders’ early time with a quick and precise jump-off time that left all the fences intact in 40.58 seconds, but VanderVeen once again proved why she is one of the queens of speed with a smooth, fiery round in the saddle aboard Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili, the same mount that put her at the top of the scorecard twice during Week Five, in 38.58 seconds. Her lead did not last for long, though, as the Israeli half of the Blumans navigated Colestina H to an even speedier effort, tripping the timers on 38 seconds flat to emerge as the frontrunners with seven left to go. Taking to the ring on Austria 2 after electing not to return with Kaprice, Farrington never took his foot off the gas pedal as he and Austria 2 sliced around the ring with lightning efficiency, leaving all the rails in their cups in 37.31 seconds.
The remaining three tried to knock the leaders’ off their throne, but none could manage it, solidifying Kent Farrington (USA) and Austria 2 as the day’s big victors. Lillie Keenan (USA) and Chansonette Farm LLC’s Fasther were the final to go and gave a good run, but were just a hair off the pace with a final clear time of 37.83 seconds. Daniel Bluman (COL) and Kim Douglas’ Colestina H ultimately earned the final podium spot. Of the 17 teams that returned for the jump-off, 10 finished on double-clear results.
The CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper 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. Riders are now in the eighth week of opportunities, with a few more to go until the grand finale $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI 4* on September 13. Leading since the Traverse City Spring Horse Show, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, in June, Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) managed to retain his comfortable lead by the end of the day. Though he did not compete, his spade of top results early in the season made him the early frontrunners, and so far his efforts have gone unmatched.
There are three days remaining of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, which will conclude Sunday before a short break leads into the Traverse City Fall Horse Show, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, beginning Aug. 26. Before the end of the weekend, competitors will vie for the largest share of the purse in Friday’s $36,600 Traverse City Classic CSI 3* and Sunday’s $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 3*.
Winner’s Circle – Kent Farrington (USA)
On showing Austria 2:
“I thought [Kaprice] needed a little rest because she has been showing consistently and she jumped great in the grand prix last week. I knew the jump-off would be very fast so I thought I would rest her legs. [Austria 2] is a very experienced speed horse, so thought I would give it a shot on her. It worked out today! She has amazing ground speed, almost like a little race horse. That is really why she is exceptional in the sport. She crosses the ground so fast and you can do what you want to do, especially in a big ring like this.”
On one of his inside turns in the jump-off:
“I have a lot of confidence in this horse. As I was saying, she has a lot of experience so when you know a horse like that, you know what they are capable of and that was a place I knew I could really take a shot. I have had a few fast ones and [Austria 2] lives up to their reputation, as well.”
On competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival:
“Beautiful venue and great ground, which is what we always want in this sport. They also have very good course designers here and I think we are making the most of a very difficult time in the world. I am very happy to be competing and I have got some good luck, as well!”
Results – $36,600 CWD Welcome Stake CSI 3*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Kent Farrington (USA) & Austria 2 / Kent Farrington LLC / 0 | 69.85 / 0 | 37.31
2. Lillie Keenan (USA) & Fasther / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0 | 69.27 / 0 | 37.83
3. Daniel Bluman (COL) & Colestina H / ISR / Kim Douglas / 0 | 69.52 / 0 | 38.00
4. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili / / Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC / 0 | 68.09 / 0 | 38.58
5. Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) & Adamo / / Louisburg Farm / 0 | 70.54 / 0 | 38.70
6. Natalie Dean (USA) & Don’s Diamant / Marigold Sporthorses LLC / 0 | 70.02 / 0 | 40.29
7. Teddy Vlock (ISR) & Charly Brown / Vlock Show Stables LLC / 0 | 68.86 / 0 | 40.58
8. Schuyler Riley (USA) & Quilimbo / E2 Show Jumpers / 0 | 68.42 / 0 | 42.44
9. Captain Brian Cournane (IRL) & Vittorio 12 / / Glenbeigh Farm LLC / 0 | 70.74 / 0 | 42.96
10. Jordan Kilkenny (IRL) & Colour Your Day / / Split Rock Farm Inc. / 0 | 70.18 / 0 | 50.86
11. Olivia Chowdry (USA) & Chuck Berry 8 / / Atlas Equine Holdings LLC / 0 | 69.49 / 4 | 36.82
12. Abigail Mcardle (USA) & Victorio 5 / / Victorio Equine Group LLC / 0 | 70.28 / 4 | 38.68
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography