Rich Fellers and Steelbi Put the Pedal to the Metal in $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Traverse City, Mich. – July 5, 2020 – Substantial prize money was up for grabs Sunday at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, as 42 entries took to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring for the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2*. Improving upon their second-place performance Friday in the $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI2* class, Rich Fellers (USA) and Kathleen Waldorf’s Steelbi upped their game to prevail as the victors in Sunday’s contest by more than two full-seconds in the jump-off, an impressive feat considering their company in the second phase of competition.

Rich Fellers and Steelbi. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Once again at the helm was course designer Manuel Esparza (MEX), who provided horse-and-rider combinations a pattern of 16 efforts in the first round of riding. Second in the ring for the class, Brian Moggre (USA) and Nikita Jolie served as the early trailblazers with a clear ride within the time-allowed, and they were immediately joined in the clear ranks by Peter Leone (USA) and Donner, who forced the jump-off. Adding to the list, Lacey (USA) Gilbertson on Baloppi, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) with Alejandro and Sophie Gochman (USA) aboard Carola BH each turned in penalty-free efforts to qualify for the tie-breaker round by the halfway point of the first round.

Seeking to add a second major victory to his name for the week, Sweetnam added another eligible mount, Friday’s $36,600 Welcome Stake CSI2* winner Indra Van De Oude Heihoef, and Fellers qualified aboard Friday’s second-place horse, Steelbi. Three of the final duos, Tanner Korotkin (USA) piloted Deauville S, Charlie Jayne (USA) navigated Amice Z and Mimi Gochman (USA) rode Gigi’s Girl BH to clear performances to bring the total list of jump-off contenders to ten. Three other athletes kept all the rails in their cups riding their respective mounts, but Nicholas Dello Joio, as well as the younger Gochman, Sophie, and Gilbertson on their second horses, each fell victim to a heart-breaking single time fault.

Trimmed to eight fences, the jump-off saw a competitive group tackle the track with fervor as four partnerships ultimately left all the fences untouched for a second time. Moving up in the order to accommodate having two horses in the second phase, Sweetnam advanced to second in the order-of-go with Alejandro, proving why he is consistently one of the best in the world with the first double-clear performance of the class in 39.950 seconds to set the pace. Five trips later, Fellers expertly jockeyed Steelbi to a swift time of 37.810 seconds, shaving more than two seconds off of the leading time to overthrow Sweetnam as the pair to beat.

Rich Fellers and Steelbi. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Though the remainder of the class would try to compare, none could eclipse Fellers and Steelbi, who came out on top in the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2*, the second top-two finish for the skilled team of the week. Sweetnam and Alejandro, owned by Sea Brook LLC & Spy Coast Farm LLC, managed to retain second place thanks to their quick time, and the older Gochman sister, Mimi, jumped Gigi’s Girl BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, to third position as the final pair after tripping the timers in 40.570 seconds.

Now three weeks into competition in Traverse City, show jumpers have had six chances to earn points towards the $30,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Leading Jumper Rider Bonus, which 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 at Flintfields Horse Park. Prior to Sunday’s competition, Jonathan Corrigan (IRL) held the lead with 26 points, and he will maintain that status headed into week two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival just a few points ahead of Ryan Genn (USA) with 21 points. Thanks to his victory, Fellers is now on the leaderboard with 18 points in third place and Sweetnam sits in fourth place in the standings with 16 points.

Alexander Alston and Don Corleone. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Sunday closed the Sugar Run Farm Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division with the $5,000 Sugar Run Farm NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, which featured 41 horse-and-rider combinations. A welcome addition to her win in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby the same day, Libbie Gordon boosted her resume with another victory as the winner aboard Donald Stewart’s Uber as the swiftest of seven double-clear pairs by a full second. Just off the pace, Hannah Lupica and Butter Lane LLC’s Hypnose Van Paemel earned the runner-up honors, followed by Alexander Alston and Alston Alliance LLC’s Don Corleone in third place.

The podium finish was one of two for Alston in as many days, as just the day prior Alston and Don Corleone had earned the blue ribbon in the Sugar Run Farm Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class ahead of 31 other entries. A one-round speed contest, Alston and Don Corleone turned up the heat to best the pack as the quickest of 14 total double-clear competitors. Thanks to the partnership’s back-to-back top finishes in divisional competition, they were crowned with the championship honors in the Sugar Run Farm Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers.

Sunday marked the completion of the first week of the six-week Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC, but show jumping will return to Flintfields Horse Park on Wednesday, July 8, for week two.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Rich Fellers (USA) – $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2* champion

On Steelbi:
“Steelbi is a 12-year-old Swedish mare. She is a small mare actually and measures just about 16 hands. She is a big enough mover and, like Flexible, she has a very big heart. She is a big fighter and a real trier with lots of energy. I just love her. She is so much fun and a competitive horse. I have to say thank you to her owner, who trusted me when we bought her off of a video when she was a 7-year-old. The owner, Kathleen Waldorf, has been a huge support since day one. Thanks to my sponsor Purina, who keeps the horses healthy.”

On his jump-off plan:
“My plan, as I told my son – and I was really motivated by him because he won the 1.35m Classic yesterday, and I couldn’t even catch him on my horse because he was so fast – was to win the class just like he did. I’m going to lay it down and there is no way anybody is gonna catch me. So that was my plan: go in there and hit the first at the gallop and just keep the hammer down. She loves that kind of ride and she gave me everything she had.”

On competing in Traverse City:
“I have been telling that I’ve known for years that I see here around the show that I think this place is going to take off. I think the next couple years it is going to be tough to get entries in quick enough to get into the show. It’s a beautiful facility and it is wonderful for the horses because the grounds and the footing in all the rings is so nice. It is like a gymnastic mat in every single ring you ride in, and it’s beautiful. You look 360 degrees around the showgrounds and it is beautiful. It is a lovely area for the summertime. I think we can’t get much better weather in the United States this time of year than here, and they are nice people. I think they are good people that manage the show, so I think it is going to be a hit in the next few years. It’s going to be sold out.”

Alexander Alston – Sugar Run Farm Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper champion

On Don Corleone:
“Donny is really sweet and easygoing. He went great all week. We did the class [Saturday] and he won, and then again today and we were a little bit slower and were third. He was super and I was really happy with him.”

On his plan for the class and the rest of GLEF:
“We wanted a nice smooth first round, just to keep all the jumps up, and then let him rip for the jump-off. He is going to do the [Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search] next week and then probably the juniors during Week Three before we go home.”

On his experience in Traverse City:
“I really like it here. It’s nice because there is something to do after the horse show, like the lake. It’s really pretty here. We have all enjoyed it.”

RESULTS

$50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix CSI2*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1.Steelbi / Rich Fellers / USA / Kathleen Waldorf / 0 | 74.800 / 0 | 37.810
2. Alejandro / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Sea Brook LLC & Spy Coast Farm LLC / 0 | 74.490 / 0 | 39.950
3. Gigi’s Girl BH / Mimi Gochman / USA / Gochman Sport Horse LLC / 0 | 75.920 / 0 | 40.570
4. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / USA / Seabrook LLC / 0 | 76.130 / 0 | 40.890
5. Indra Van De Oude Heihoef / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / The Blue Buckle Group / 0 | 75.240 / 4 | 38.310
6. Nikita Jolie / Brian Moggre / USA / Ashland Farms / 0 | 75.900 / 4 | 38.830
7. Carola BH / Sophie Gochman / USA / Gochman Sport Horse LLC / 0 | 73.340 / 4 | 40.810
8. Amice Z / Charlie Jayne / USA / Charlie Jayne / 0 | 74.630 / 4 | 41.130
9. Donner / Peter Leone / USA / Lionshare Farm / 0 | 76.780 / 4 | 41.540
10. Deauville S / Tanner Korotkin / USA / Castlewood Farm Inc. / 0 | 75.460 / 16 | 41.120
11. Andretti BH / Sophie Gochman / USA / Gochman Sport Horse LLC / 1 | 77.400
12. Columbcille De Reve / Nicholas Dello Joio / USA / Wembley Farms Inc / 1 / 78.350