Traverse City, Michigan, USA – September 02, 2022 – Freddie Vazquez (PUR) has been working hard for a win all summer, and the pieces finally fell into place on Friday in the $37,000 Staller Welcome Stake CSI 3*. Aboard Kirschwasser SCF, Vazquez bested the to claim his first victory of the season.
Over Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) first-round track, rails came down across the expanse of the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, but Vazquez showed his mastery producing only the second clear effort.
Anna Beth Athey (USA) was the first to jump clear in the first round, followed by Eliza Lehrman (USA) who opted to not jump off with Eluna CL Z, and then Samuel Parot (CHI) with Chrystal Blue.
With a refusal from Athey, Vazquez knew he had to give it all he had with Parot, who was second and third in Thursday’s CSI3* Speed, behind him. The Puerto Rican and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve) barely touched the front rail at the final fence, pulling it down and leaving the door open for a clear effort to take the win.
Samuel Parot (CHI) ultimately had two rails down in his jump-off, taking second place and awarding the win to Vazquez.
Vazquez and Kirschwasser SCF are well into their third year together, and they’ve had several podium finishes at Flintfields Horse Park. Vazquez has gotten to know the horse, bred on American soil at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, KY, up to the CSI5* level, competing in the American Gold Cup in 2021.
“We had a super start from the get go and then COVID hit and we sat away for a bit,” Vazquez said of his partnership with Kirschwasser SCF, known as “Kirby” in the barn. “We got back and have been consistent in the three- and four-star level. He’s a horse that always tries for me. We’ve had enough time now that we know each other really well and he always gives me 100%.”
Despite his strength in the ring and consistent results, the horse can be quite sensitive and has the perfect amount of suspicion when coming in to jump a big track. “He’s a sensitive horse,” Vazquez continued. “He likes his staff: his therapist, his vet, his shoe guy. You’ve got to earn his trust. But he is brave as a lion and has all the scope and rideability. Just suspicious enough that he’s going to leave the jumps up nine times out of 10.”
Vaillancourt joins the roster of prestigious international course designers that have stopped in Traverse City this summer, and Vazquez remembered the Canadian designer’s tracks from when he designed the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. “My most memorable courses with him were in Toronto,” Vazquez said. “Those were some of the biggest courses I’ve ever jumped in my life. He’s a super builder. There weren’t that many today but he made us work for it, with only four clears. It was a proper course. His courses are smooth and flowy with a bit of a hunter feel, you go up and down the ring three or four times.”
Vazquez is aiming Kirschwasser SCF at Sunday’s $138,600 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI 3*, then will compete one more week before his season in Traverse City draws to a close. “It’s a pleasure to be here in Traverse City,” he concluded. “The Morrisseys do an incredible job, and the staff here goes above and beyond. The competition is getting stronger and heavier. Every year we come back there are new things. You feel like you are a VIP no matter where you are on the showgrounds.”
Show jumping continues Saturday with the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix followed by Sunday’s $138,600 Southern Arches Grand Prix CSI 3* to conclude FEI competition for the week.
Final Results – $37,000 Staller Welcome Stake CSI 3*
1) Freddie Vazquez (PER) & Kirschwasser SCF – 0 / 4 – 39.78
2) Samuel Parot (CHI) & Chrystal Blue – 0 / 8 – 41.55
3) Anna Beth Athey (USA) & Caraghs Quality Lady – 0 / 21 – 64.38
4) Eliza Lehrman (USA) & Eluna CL Z – 0 / WD
5) Daniel Bedoya (BOL) & Quimi del Maset – 3 – 84.65
6) Samuel Parot (CHI) & Buga Z – 4 – 74.34
7) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Namaste Van Het Eycckeveld – not informed
8) Filip De Wandel (BEL) & Manhattan van’t Leeuwerikenhof – 4 – 77.13
9) Eliza Lehrman (USA) & Sierra – 4 – 78.22
10) Tanner Korotkin (USA) & Quinn 33 – 4 – 79.15
11) Santiago Lambre (BRA) & Comtess202 – 4 – 80.07
12) Lisa Goldman- Smolen (USA) & Ivaro N – 4 – 80.28
Source: Press Release from Traverse City Horse Shows
Photo: © Andrew Ryback Photography