The first week of the 2018 Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) is underway and the $30,000 Welcome Stake highlighted Friday’s competition. Exhibitors prepared their horses for the first grand prix of the six-week circuit, the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by East Wind Farms, to be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Grand Prix Ring at the Flintfields Horse Park. Kaely Tomeu of Wellington, Florida, kicked off the fourth installment of this highly anticipated show series with the first big win of the week aboard Siboney Ranch’s Gentille.
The 22-year-old amateur rider, who trains with the Sweet Oak Farm team, bested a field of 29 in the two-round competition designed by Keith Bollotte. Only nine produced clear rounds to advance to the jump-off, where Tomeu was second to last to return. She and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare posted a double-clear effort in 41.371 seconds to take the win near the end of the class, surpassing Tori Colvin’s time of 42.709 seconds with Zambia Mystic Rose, owned by RM Agronegocias and Victoria Colvin LLC.
“Honestly, she’s the most incredible animal I’ve ever had,” Tomeu shared. “This is my third year with her and she has never let me down. She does things that I don’t think any other horse would do for me. [We’re getting] more practice jumping bigger tracks and getting into the classes under the lights. We did a CSI2* and CSI3* night class and ribboned in both of them so I think that has definitely helped my confidence with jumping regular grand prix classes more often.”
Colvin took home second place honors with a double-clear performance, while Liza Finsness and her own Shiver finished with no faults to their name and rounded out the top three in 43.026 seconds.
Friday’s victory at GLEF adds another win to the pair’s fantastic summer competition season thus far, after claiming the first grand prix title of Tomeu’s career just a few weeks ago in Lexington, Kentucky, in the $25,000 Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Grand Prix during Week II of Country Heir.
3. Shiver / Liza Finsness / Liza Finsness / 0 / 0 / 43.026
4. For Serrano SR / Anna Beth Athey / Anna Beth Athey / 0 / 0 / 44.232
5. Van Gogh / Wilhelm Genn / Wilhelm Genn / 0 / 0 / 44.880
6. Chaplin La Garette Z / Lorcan Gallagher / Sweet Oak Farm / 0 / 4 / 44.707
7. Binja / Chris Ewanouski / Castle Point Farm LLC / 0 / 8 / 42.569
8. Elizabeth / Kaely Tomeu / Siboney Ranch / 0 / 12 / 55.165
9. Stan / Juan Manuel Luzardo / Maurcio Guerra / 0 / Offcrs
10. Compis / Stephen Foran / Lauren Robishaw / 4 / 78.194