USA’s Kelli Cruciotti Blazes to Victory with Zidante in $35,700 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3* at Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 2, 2019 – Week V of the 2019 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, saw a new class added to its roster Friday, with the $35,700 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3* offering athletes an additional opportunity to compete in an FEI competition. Operating as a one-round speed class, the contest saw Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Zidante gallop into the winner’s circle, marking the pair’s return to the top of the leaderboard in rated competition during the GLEF summer series after a victory in Week IV.

Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

With course designer Manuel Esparza (MEX) at the helm, exhibitors were challenged with a technical track fit for the speed class, and approximately half of the duos were successful at keeping all of the rails in their cups. The first to go clear, GLEF veteran and current $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus leader Wilhelm Genn (GER) served as the pacesetter aboard his own Van Gogh, tripping the timers in 68.100 seconds to take the early lead. The pair were soon overtaken, though, by Jim Ifko (CAN) with Eventyre Farms Ltd.’s Celine LS La Silla, who improved upon their peers’ performance with a fault-free trip in 65.190 seconds, almost three full seconds quicker.

Ifko and Celine LS La Silla’s spot at the head of the leaderboard help for almost the entirety of the competition, until Cruciotti and Serenity Farms’ Zidante took to the ring as the second-to-last challengers. Slicing around the course in 63.920 seconds with no penalties, the team swept to the lead and ultimately claimed first place in the $35,700 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3*. Ifko and Celine LS La Silla stayed on the podium with a second-place finish, and Mattias Tromp (USA) rode Beyaert Farms Inc.’s Eyecatcher to third place in a clear time of 65.320 seconds.

Kelli Cruciotti and Zidante. Photo: Andrew Ryback Photography

Cruciotti and Zidante are familiar with blue ribbons at GLEF, having won the $1,000 1.40 Jumper CSI2* in the Grand Prix Ring during Week IV of the festival. The savvy partnership jockeyed to the top of a 29-horse field, showing off Zidante’s natural speed to ultimately lead the victory lap following the one-round class. The pair have been partnered together for six years, and their knowing relationship has proved fruitful in the show ring.

Week V show jumping competition will continue at GLEF throughout the weekend, with the $133,700 Staller Grand Traverse Grand Prix CSI3* beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 4.

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Kelli Cruciotti (USA) – $35,700 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3* winner

On Zidante:
“She is just the best horse. I’ve had her for six years now and I had bought her as my first junior jumper. I know her like a glove and she’s just a real winner. She tries so hard for me and I know that I can trust her on some of the tighter turns that I wouldn’t necessarily do on another horse. She always comes through.”

On her strategy:
“I typically have a habit of overthinking when I go towards the end. I just wanted to ride my plan and stick to what I planned. I saw a lot of people go inside from fence three to four. If you had a big-strided horse I felt like that was an advantage, but [Zidante] has a smaller stride so I didn’t want to chance it. I thought to just be neat and efficient and she’s naturally quick anyways. I just wanted to ride my plan and thankfully it worked out.”

On the $25,000 CaptiveOne Open Jumper Rider Bonus:
“I think I could be in the money. I think it depends a lot on next week so hopefully the momentum keeps going. It’s a great incentive for the riders because that’s a lot of money for any rider to come home with after six weeks, so it’s great that the show really thought about what the riders need and like to give us that bonus this year.”

On GLEF:
“This show is amazing. Last year was our first year coming and I don’t think we’ll go any place else for the summer. It’s just been fantastic. The horses jump so great on the footing and we love it. The weather is second to none for a summer horse show and we’re just thankful to be back here!”

RESULTS

$35,700 Grand Traverse Classic CSI3*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | Time
1. Zidante / Kelli Cruciotti / USA / Serenity Farm / 0 | 63.92
2. Celine LS La Silla / Jim Ifko / CAN / Eventyre Farms LTD / 0 | 65.19
3. Eyecatcher / Mattias Tromp / USA / Beyaert Farm Inc. / 0 / 65.32
4. Casall / Ali Wolff / USA / Blacklick Bend Farm / 0 | 66.00
5. Fantast / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / Starlight Farms LLC / 0 | 66.15
6. Dolores / Santiago Lambre / MEX / Santiago Lambre / 0 | 67.20
7. Van Gogh / Wilhelm Genn / GER / Wilhelm Genn / 0 | 68.10
8. Baloutinue / Adam Prudent / USA / Plain Bay Farm / 0 | 70.39
9. Quinta 106 / Peter Lutz / USA / Swede Ventures LLC / 0 | 71.010
10. Conrad 119 / Molly Ashe Cawley / USA / Louisburg Farm / 0 | 71.51
11. Robin De Ponthual / Schuyler Riley / USA / Katherine Gallagher / 0 | 74.80
12. Jenni’s Chance / Mark Bluman / COL / Melissa Wight / 4 | 61.150

For more information, please visit greatlakesequestrianfestival.com.