Week Four of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, concluded Sunday, but not before 47 combinations battled it out for the lead spot in the lap of honor as the victors of the $72,900 Staller Grand Prix CSI2*. The competitive pack of contenders hailing from eight nations fought hard over the expert course designed by Guilherme Jorge (BRA), with 12 pairs qualifying for the jump-off. Stopping the clock as the most efficient double-clear duo and the last to go, Abigail McArdle (USA) and Victorio Equine Group LLC’s Victorio 5 captured the top spot on the leaderboard to wrap up the week of riding on a high note. McArdle and Victorio 5 are not strangers to the winner’s circle in Traverse City, as exactly one year ago on July 26, the pair won the $35,700 Devoucoux Welcome Stake CSI2* during Week Four of the series, then added to their resume with a victory in the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* just over a week later.
In total, 12 partnerships were eligible to return to the jump-off, which featured an abridged pattern of eight fences spread across the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring. Once again setting the pace, Shulman jockeyed Ardente Printaniere to another clear round to lay the gauntlet down in 38.68 seconds. Subsequent pairs chased down the leaders, with six duos keeping all the rails in their cups within two seconds of the pole-sitters’ time, but none could catch them. As the final pair entered the ring, Shulman and Ardente Printaniere still maintained the top spot, but McArdle and Victorio 5 galloped around the ring with precision and managed to edge ahead of the longtime leaders by a slim margin, tripping the timers in 38.01 seconds to triumph in the $72,900 Staller Grand Prix CSI2*.
McArdle and Victorio 5 were the fastest of eight total double-clear duos, and Shulman claimed the runner-up honors aboard Jill Shulman’s Ardente Printaniere. The next quickest, Corrigan and Debra Wycoff’s Super Chilled earned the third-place position thanks to a time of 39.36 seconds.
The series has passed its halfway mark for riders hoping to earn valuable points towards the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus, which will be awarded following 11 weeks of riding in Traverse City at the conclusion of the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4* on September 13. Leading since the very first week of competition, Corrigan still maintained the lead headed into Sunday’s class, and had a strong chance at maintaining that status since only one other rider in the top six, Rich Fellers (USA), was competing. With Corrigan’s third-place finish Sunday, he has extended his lead headed into Week Five.
Prior to the grand prix, Jose Dominguez was honored as the winner of the $2,000 Grooms Class, presented by Meadowview Farm, Inc., thanks to the superior presentation and turnout for the horse in his care, Ebony M, trained by Kristen Collins. Due to his efforts, Dominguez earned the largest share of the class’ prize money.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Abigail McArdle (USA) – $72,900 Staller Grand Prix CSI2* winner
On her win:
“It was super. I got to watch Sydney [Shulman], she went first and really laid it down. She made me push myself, so I had to do five strides down that first line and I knew we could be a bit faster back to the yellow to bring it home.”
On Victorio 5:
“Now I have been riding him for a couple of years and I’d say it took a little while to be able to win at this level, but he has always been a great horse. I sort of made a bond with him but it’s definitely helped me. He’s very well-mannered and stallions are great because you can make a special partnership with them.”
Source: Press Release / f. © Andrew Ryback