Traverse City, Mich. – July 24, 2016 – It was a repeat victory for Aaron Vale on Sunday afternoon as he and Carlo blazed the way to win the $50,000 Great Lakes Grand Prix, presented by the Ingram Family. Out of 25 horse and rider combinations, Vale led the class from beginning to end, never losing sight of the victory. He set the pace at an untouchable 33.441 seconds to win his second grand prix of the summer series.
Vale was the busiest rider of the grand prix with five horses in contention for the highlight event of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Three. As the first on course, Vale made the technical track appear easy with Bonzini S, owned by Thinks Like a Horse, as the veteran rider navigated the Pierre Jolicouer-designed course with the week two grand prix winner. As it would turn out, only eight horse and rider combinations would proceed to the speed track.
Vale was the first to return for the jump-off, but with two other horses qualified aside from Bonzini S, he knew that his first attempt would air on the more conservative side. They rode to a clear and fast speed round in 35.008 seconds, yet it was his second horse, Carlo, owned by Amatoville Enterprises, that would finally take the win they have been waiting for since the winter.Aaron Vale and Carlo. PC: Kendall Bierer
“I got the ride on [Carlo] this winter doing the 1.40m and the Welcome classes in Ocala, and he was very competitive in that,” Vale elaborated. “We have steadily moved him into the grand prix, and he has been doing well. He is a real competitive horse, and he has been knocking on the door.”
Today that door swung wide open for Carlo, as they laid down a track that would prove unbeatable.
“My first horse, Bonzini S, he is not the nimblest, and I had some trouble getting into the last line,” Vale explained. “I had to zig-zag a little, so I lost a little momentum with him. I knew that Carlo was a little nimbler in the tighter turns, and we caught a real nice angle on the third to last fence that took the previous zig-zag out of play. It was just right there to run, so we did.”
They broke the beam in an astounding 33.441 seconds, leaving all rails in their cups.
For several weeks, Vale and fellow competitor Amanda Derbyshire have been going neck and neck in the big money classes at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. Once again, Derbyshire qualified for the jump-off with David and Becky Gochman’s Lady Maria BH. Vale knew that she would be hot on his trail, so he could not leave any room for her to make a move and slice the seconds off of his already fast time.
“I knew that Amanda was coming behind me, and she has been pretty slick with that grey mare,” Vale laughed. “I already had a pretty good clear in [with Bonzini S], and I saw the tight angle to the vertical. I knew that I would really have to kick to leave it out, and a part of me thought that I shouldn’t do it, but I took a good risk there and it opened the door for us to keep the momentum and jump the last two fences clear.”
It turned out that Derbyshire was not his most formidable opponent Sunday, but rather David Beisel with the 10-year-old Warmblood Call Me Hannes, owned by Harlow Investment Enterprises, LLC. The pair followed consecutively after Vale, and had the crowd on their feet as they chased his time. The roars of support goaded them on as they raced down the final line, galloping to the final fence, a liverpool oxer, stopping the clock at 34.005 seconds, just shy of Vale’s time, but good enough for the second place. David Beisel and Call Me Hannes. PC: Kendall Bierer
“I could hear the crowd,” Beisel said. “With everyone cheering, I ran as fast as I could to the last one. I also knew that I wasn’t worried at all for the last jump, as far as being careful, because he was very observant of the water tray in the first round. I knew that he was going to jump up, so we ran all out.”
Beisel said, “There were definitely places on the course where you needed to have your horse wait and be patient, and I thought he did that beautifully. I am so grateful to the Harlows for not only supporting me, but also being here to see him earn a good ribbon. I am also thankful to CWD and Antares for their constant encouragement.”
With Beisel finishing in second, Vale would earn the first and third place with Carlo and Bonzini S, respectively. The fourth place was awarded to Nick Novak and Climbus for their double-clear effort in 35.436 seconds. Fifth place went to Derbyshire and Lady Maria BH, as the fastest of the 4-fault efforts, while Novak would also pick up the sixth place aboard Dirkie Z.
Other Weekend Highlights from GLEF III
Previous to the grand prix action on Sunday was the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Isabella Russekoff and Calvero IV, owned by Porter Allen, secured the win in 34.200 seconds, without fault. Finishing in second place was Emily Perez and Paola 233 with a clear jump-off posted in 37.979 seconds. Alliy Moyer Beorn earned the third place finish as the last of the double-clears in 41.113 seconds.
Earlier in the day, the $2,500 East Wind Farm Children’s Jumper Classic kicked off the start of the final day of showing in Grand Prix Ring. Thirteen of the original starting field of 27 mastered the opening track, but it was Anika Pirkle and Just a Dream who took the victory in 33.513 seconds. Mimi Gochman trailed Snider by more than two seconds with Lilly BH, capturing the second place in in 35.907 seconds. The third place was awarded to Olivia Parr and Uccella, owned by Oakland Ventures LLC and El Milagro, who posted two clear rounds in 36.935 seconds.
During the $2,500 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, which comprised of 17 horses and riders vying for the top prize, Olivia Lawton and Cassandra Dreams claimed the top spot. The pair finished double clear in 31.352 seconds to take the win. Lisa Baker and Triple Bar LLC’s Zyminka finished in second in another double clear effort laid down in 36.296 seconds, while Madeline Cooley and Rosario LN, owned by Jennifer Santana, took the third place honors, respectively, with no faults in 36.712 seconds.
The $2,500 Modified Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic hosted 22 challengers with only two producing double-clear rounds. Olivia Herbert and Lush, owned by Mimi Herbert, rode to the quickest of the two times in 34.539 seconds. Cole Batershall and El Casper, owned by Gut Einhaus, Inc., stopped the timer in 36.998 seconds to take the red ribbon and Missy Rossi and Roccanna, owned by Vincent Rossi, took the third place honors in 35.229 seconds.
GLEF will continue to welcome riders and thrill spectators over the final week of the first summer series, which runs July 27-31, 2016. The jumper highlights will feature the $25,000 Welcome Stake on Friday, July 29, as well as the $50,000 Flintfields Farm Grand Prix, presented by Meijer, on Sunday, July 31.