After two times coming in second, Karrie Rufer finally made it to the top of the podium Sunday winning the $100,000 CSI2* 1.45m Grand Prix with Morning Star Sporthorses' Mai Tai 2 at the Sonoma International CSI2*, part of the Split Rock Jumping Tour.
Six of the 48 starters advanced to the jump-off round, including Rufer and Shawn Casady, who had already faced off once before this week. But, Rufer and the quick-footed Westphalian gelding were ultimately the fastest, stopping the clock at 44.895 seconds after two clear rounds.
"It was a lot of déjà vu. The nice thing was that when I was second to Shawn [Casady] the other day I was on my other horse, and I know [Mai Tai 2] is so much faster," Rufer said. "He's just naturally speedy across the ground. He's bold but he's careful, so I knew there were things I could do on that horse today that I couldn't do on the other one."
"It comes down to a little bit of luck, a good horse and your day," she continued. "It's my first CSI2* win and with a horse that I brought up since he was a 6-year-old. Every time I ask him for more he just gives me more."
Lindsay Archer set the pace for the class as the first clear round of the division with Rhys Farm LLC's Jarpur, and she kept that momentum going into the jump-off earning second place with a time of 46.265.
Casady graciously settled for both third and fourth place, but not before soaking Rufer with the celebratory champagne. Highpoint Farm LLC's Durango VDL went through the timers in 46.599 seconds for third, and his stablemate Cicomein VDL, who is owned by HKC Collection LLC, had a four-fault jump-off round in 46.682 seconds for fourth.
For the first time in Split Rock Jumping Tour's history, two riders split the coveted Horseflight $500 Fist Pump Award. Casady and Katelyn Denby Edwards were both recognized for their creative fist pump celebrations.
Victor Castellanos had Rufer's horses turned out immaculately throughout the week, and for that he was awarded the $500 FarmVet Grooms Award.