Traverse City, Michigan, USA – Aug. 28, 2020 – Friday brought more show jumping action at Flintfields Horse Park for the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI 3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. International competitors faced off once more in the $36,600 1.45m Speed Classic CSI 3*, with 44 starters producing stiff competition in the one-round class. Making the most of his time in Traverse City following a victory in Thursday’s $36,600 MMG Welcome Stake CSI3*, McLain Ward (USA) once again sped to the top of the leaderboard, this time riding Marilla Van Beuren’s Catoki, and added to his success with a third-place finish on Beechwood Stables LLC’s Contagious.
Course designer Ivan Tagle (ARG) crafted a track of 16 jumping efforts for the occasion, and it proved to be an apt challenge as 17 horse-and-rider pairs managed to successfully leave all the rails in the cups within the time-allowed out of the original pack of entries. One unique aspect of the class was a fence option at obstacle seven. Athletes could opt to jump a vertical with a liverpool on the left, or a slightly higher skinny vertical on the right that would produce a shorter track, but would risk a downed rail. Sixth to ride, Jessica Mendoza (GBR) set the pace aboard Diamants Aurora with the first fault-free trip in 70.54 seconds, but Lucy Deslauriers (USA) soon overthrew the early frontrunners with a quick ride on Billy de Beaufour in 68.38 seconds.
Tenth in the order, Ward never let off the gas in the stirrups aboard Catoki, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, speeding around the course fault-free to the tune of 64.57 seconds, nearly four seconds ahead of Deslauriers to capture the lead. Though the horse added a few strides in the lines and Ward opted for one outside turn, their quick footspeed made up for it. Ward and Catoki’s efficient precedent proved to be unbeatable, with only two pairs coming within two seconds of the leading time, one of which was Ward himself on his second mount.
In a repeat of Thursday’s results, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) once again earned the runner-up honors. The ever-speedy rider galloped to second place on Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, in 65.490 seconds, and Ward bookended the podium with Contagious, his winning mount the day prior, in 66.18 seconds.
With only a few weeks left to contend for the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus, the standings were in a close race as Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) and Vanderveen were tied for the top spot. Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Shane Sweetnam (IRL) were hot on their heels only a handful of points behind the leaders. Thanks to Vanderveen’s results Friday, she moved ahead of Corrigan and now leads the rankings. The coveted 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, concluding with the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI 4* on September 13.
Winner’s Circle – McLain Ward (USA)
On his successful start to Traverse City:
“It’s going well, we like Michigan! Catoki, we actually brought for this competition just for this class. He’s a speed specialist. Normally my biggest problem is that I try to go too fast so we’re really happy with him. Contagious was brilliant yesterday. We decided to show him two days in a row because we aren’t going to do him in the grand prix this week, just continue to build up his fitness. I didn’t push the envelope quite as hard with him but I really thought he performed well.”
“You have to know for these Table A speed classes that the horse is with you and can answer the test. The jumps aren’t as big as the jump-off classes but you’re coming in always at a funny angle or a funny turn and risking the stride you’re on. It’s great to have a great partner for this type of competition. We’ve been a little disappointed this year because one of the reasons we acquired him was to go to Europe and to be able to win the classes during the week leading up to the grand prix and everything got shut down. It’s nice to be able to get a chance to pick off a few of these ranking classes.”
On his performance with Catoki:
“With Catoki, it’s hard to remember because it’s a bit of a blur! You’re trying not to crash. He’s naturally an incredibly fast horse so I don’t really worry too much about the numbers between the jumps and strides between the jumps. From fence one to two, I think I did one more stride than everybody else. He makes such a fast rollback and he’s such an honest horse, he’s always right there with you. I was able to do seven strides across the middle to the triple combination. I was really pleased with the way he backed up because every once in a while in the combination he can get quick. The option line we took the skinny, he’s super careful. I decided to go around, his speed is great and I thought it was a little less risk. I caught it nicely out of stride and actually down the last three lines I did one more than Kristen [Vanderveen] did, but his legs are moving so fast he makes up the time.”
On looking ahead to Sunday’s Grand Prix:
“Kristen [Vanderveen] is an incredibly fast rider and she goes for it all the time and is very difficult to beat in the speed classes, so it’s always nice when you get the upper hand. As I said yesterday you have a lot of top level riders here all condensed in one area, and only one horse per rider Sunday, so it’s going to be great sport!”
Results – $36,600 1.45m Speed Classic CSI3*
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / / Owner / Faults | Time
1. McLain Ward (USA) & Catoki / Marilla Van Beuren / 0 | 64.570
2. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili / / Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC / 0 | 65.490
3. McLain Ward (USA) & Contagious / / Beechwood Stables LLC / 0 | 66.18
4. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Hunters Conlypso II / / Dacantos Group / 0 | 66.84
5. Lucy Deslauriers (USA) & Billy de Beaufour / / Luja LLC / 0 | 68.380
6. Andrew Welles (USA) & CW Incorporated / / Corporate Way LLC / 0 | 68.900
7. Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) & Cadans Z / / Starlight Farms 1 LLC / 0 | 69.310
8. Jacqueline Steffens (CAN) & Freaky Liefhebber / / Jacqueline Steffens / 0 | 70.260
9. Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Colestina H / Kim Douglas / 0 | 70.330
10. Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Deauville S / / Castlewood Farm Inc. / 0 | 70.50
11. Jessica Mendoza (GBR) & Diamants Aurora / / Jessica Mendoza / 0 | 70.540
12. Margie Engle (USA) & Dicas / Storm Ridge Capital LLC / 0 | 70.990
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Elaine Wessel / Phelps Sports