Traverse City, Michigan – September 12, 2021 – The conclusion to Week II of the Traverse City Tournament of Champions and the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament took the form of the $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI 3* Sunday afternoon. A field of 33 decorated international athletes and their mounts representing seven countries made their way through the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel archway hopeful to nab the biggest win of the week. After a competitive jump-off, it was the United States’ Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 to emerge at the top of the leaderboard and claim the lion’s share of the prize money.
Anderson de Moura Lima (BRA) set forth a track fit for the CSI 3* competition, offering a 13-obstacle course to whittle down the field of athletes who would advance on to the jump-off. The first clear ride was produced by the seventh pair in the order-of-go, The United States’ Kristen Vanderveen (USA) riding her very own Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili. Forcing a jump-off just two rounds later, Brazil’s Santiago Lambre (BRA) navigated a fault-free effort aboard Comtess 202. Eleven additional athletes would add their name to the jump-off lineup by the conclusion of the first round, including Lacey Gilbertson (USA), Brooke Kemper (USA), Tomas Yofre (ARG), Jennifer Waxman (USA), Sydney Shulman (ISR), Ali Wolff (USA), David Oberkircher (USA), Olivia Chowdry (USA), Karl Cook (USA), Richie Moloney (IRL) and Lambre with his second mount Dingeman.
The shortened eight-fence jump-off track asked new questions of the riders, testing their speed and agility through the corners of the expansive Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. Returning in reverse order, Vanderveen (USA) and veteran mount Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili set the time to beat in a clear 37.05 seconds. Lambre (BRA would replicate Vanderveen’s (USA) clear round, but would fall short of her time of 38.07 seconds. Following a four-fault finish from Gilbertson (USA), Brooke Kemper (USA) and Arpeggi would overtake the lead in a speedy 36.36 seconds.
Three others would try to overtake Kemper, but none were successful until Ali Wolff (USA) and her long-time partner Casall made their way around the course without fault, crossing the timers in 36.02 seconds. The race to the finish would not be over yet, however, with Cook entering the arena only three trips later. Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 would once again outpace the pack, flying through the finish line in a fault-free 35.750 seconds. The remaining two horse-and-rider combinations put forth their best efforts, but Cook (USA) could not be caught, ultimately crowning him the $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI 3* winner and leaving Wolff and Casall in second place, while Kemper (USA) and Arpeggi completed the podium in third.
Following his win in Saturday’s $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix, Cook (USA) was thrilled about claiming his second win of the week, this time in the CSI3* ranks with Caillou 24. He and the 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding have seen great success together, claiming a number of CSI5* wins across the country. Cook spoke highly of the jump-off course, which played in Caillou 24’s favor with wide open spaces that allowed him to gallop between fences. Cook looks forward to continuing his partnership with Caillou 24, and has his sights set on the 2021 American Gold Cup.
The Leading Lady Rider Award, presented by Stud Tree & Carol Coleman, was awarded to Wolff for her performances with Casall. With his victory, Cook was given the Leading Male Rider award, presented by Corcoran Realty & Jeremy Green.
Cook’s (USA) win earned him valuable points toward the 2021 CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus Leaderboard, allowing him to take over the lead with a total of 57 points to unseat Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam, who sits on 46 points. Katie Laurie (AUS) continues to hold a top-three position, currently on a total of 42 points. Offering show jumping competitors the chance to accumulate points throughout the 12-week Traverse City Horse Show series, the bonus is awarded to the athlete with the most points at the conclusion of the 2021 $230,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus is a highly sought-after prize among the field of international competitors that attend Traverse City Horse Shows.
Week III of the Traverse City Tournament of Champions will kick-off Wednesday, September 15, spotlighting the 51st Anniversary of the American Gold Cup, another stop on the Major League Show Jumping CSI5* tour and the inaugural Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals.
Winner’s Circle – Karl Cook (USA) $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI 3*
On his plan for the jump-off:
“I watched Ali [Wolff] go and obviously she was flying – she rode awesome. The course really suited my horse because he has a really big stride. For us to go quickly I need to be able to open the stride. If there are a lot of twists and turns it’s hard for me to go quickly – even if I am doing fewer strides I am just not as fast as the other riders. Going in, I had to maximize the benefit of those straight line speeds. That’s what I was focusing on – as fast as I can in a straight line because I knew I would be slow in the turns.”
On Caillou 24:
“I haven’t had Caillou as long as Ali [Wolff] has had Casall, but he’s 14 now and I got him when he was 7. With him, he has his own way of going and the biggest thing with him that was so hard was actually figuring that out and being able to ride him the way that works for him instead of trying to change it. Each time I did that he would get uncomfortable, so it was me releasing that need to make him go a certain way and allowing myself to ride him the way that he goes. I think that makes them go better for longer because you are not fighting their character, you are just riding with them.”
On his ranking:
“When I am riding I don’t think about it because with a clear you move up, not clear you move down, and so the goal is still the same. What I liked about Ride Bonuses is that it rewards consistency. For me, my whole goal is whatever I am doing I am consistently doing it. In our sport you can have someone that has a great day just out of nowhere. Which is super exciting for that person, but for me consistency of a single person or a single team means more. Regardless of what the trophy or prize is at the end, rewarding that consistency at the end is rewarding what I value most in what we do.”
Ali Wolff – Second Place
“He’s 16 now, so we are at that sweet, tender age. I’ve had him now for nine years. He got hurt after the fall last year, so we really took our time. This is our second or third week doing FEI, so really the second or third time we jumped the grand prix at the height we want to be doing. I was extremely proud of him for going out there and getting the job done. I’ve said time and time again, he’s built on heart and I think I displayed that by asking a lot of him today. He just humors me and just keeps going. I think that stems from our partnership and knowing each other so well that I’ve asked this time and time again so he’s learned. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing he does it.”
On riding a horse with a unique way of going:
“They have their little quirks and now that we know our partners so well we play to it. In that sense we kind of hide. You kind of forget about it until a new person takes care of them or rides them and you’re like, ‘Oh I kind of forgot maybe don’t do that. Maybe don’t do that as well.’ That’s when their quirks come out. They have a temperament. My guy is calm, cool, collected, you would never know, but it’s because we know each other so well. When they have that quirk and the quirk is in your favor it just creates this undeniable heart. My horse is for sure not the scopiest in the class, but he is built so much on heart that I can ask him to jump the moon and he will try because of the relationship we built.
Brooke Kemper – Third Place
“Apreggi is an 11-year-old gelding that I’ve had the ride on for a little over two years. He’s really stepping up, starting to jump FEI. He’s a little less experienced going fast in big jump-offs. He’s really come a long way and learned a lot. I am really excited about his future.”
On the jump-off:
“My plan was just to be as smooth and fast as I could be on my horse. Similar Karl’s horse, he has a big stride, so wide open spaces where I can open up his step tend to help me more. Luckily the jumps came up nicely today. I was quite happy with him.”
Jeff Papows – Chairman and CEO of the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament
On the Silver Oak Tournament:
“This is the tenth year. I founded the tournament somewhat out of frustration competing as an amateur at horse shows where they seemed more coin operated than horse operated. Also, because I wanted to use it as a platform to give back to the animals, both our equine and canine friends, so it’s a 501c3 that supports animal resume. We’ve tried to make it a little different and the Morrisseys have graciously been such great partners. We moved it here two years ago after eight years in Massachusetts. It gives me a chance to do what my lack of talent is never going to let me do, which is get to know the riders and learn more. I just enjoy the contacts and I enjoy the partnerships – everything about the sport. I wrote Unbridled Passion four years ago because I got tired of spelling show jumping and the proceeds went to the Children’s Wish Foundation. I think it’s literally the world’s most beautiful sport for lots of reasons – spiritually, visually and otherwise. We tried to build an a event where we focus on things a little differently like the awards. I always have this discussion with the course designers and we are always manic about the course designers because I always tell them I don’t care if we have too many clears. I want every horse that walks in that ring to have a positive experience. I am probably going to be beaten about that when I leave here because I know we had a few more in the jump-off than they are comfortable with, but I just think at this point in the season it is so important for the horses to finish what they are doing outdoors on a positive note. This year, to me, was the best. They just seem to get better every year. Every year we learn a little bit more and every year it gets more comfortable. Now, a lot of what we are doing with the platform is supporting Kevin’s recovery. It just makes it all the more important to me.”
Final Results – $137,000 Agero Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Karl Cook (USA) & Caillou 24 – 0 / 0 – 35.750
2) Ali Wolff (USA) & Casall – 0 / 0 – 36.020
3) Brooke Kemper (USA) & Arpeggi – 0 / 0 – 36.360
4) David Oberkircher (USA) & Upper – 0 / 0 – 36.360
5) Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili – 0 / 0 – 37.050
6) Jennifer Waxman (USA) & Scato Van de Molenbrug Z – 0 / 0 – 37.140
7) Richie Moloney (IRL) & Rocksy Music – 0 / 0 – 37.870
8) Santiago Lambre (BRA) & Comtess 202 – 0 / 0 – 38.070
9) Olivia Chowdry (USA) & Chuck Berry 8 – 0 / 4 – 33.590
10) Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Villamoura – 0 / 4 – 34.210
11) Lacey Gilbertson (USA) & Viti de Longa – 0 / 4 – 41.880
12) Tomas Tofre (ARG) & Cardora – 0 / 8 – 36.660
Source: Press Release by Georgie Hammond / Phelps Media Group for Traverse City Horse Shows
Photos: © Andrew Ryback Photography