Wayne, Ill. – Aug. 6, 2016 – After a gallop to the final line and a double-clear effort, the crowd at Lamplight Equestrian Center rose to their their feet and cheered for Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisschop. The 17-year-old was all smiles as she crossed the finish line, while her mount soaked in the applause and celebrated their victory in the $75,000 Grand Prix at the Chicago Festival of the Horse.

“He knew he did well,” Rinaldi said of the 13-year-old Belgium Warmblood. “Every time the crowd goes wild, he goes wild, too. He knows he did his job well. He has such an amazing attitude and personality. He performed amazing today. He didn’t tug at one jump the entire day. He was jumping so well and listened to everything I asked of him. I’m still in shock about the win.”Giavanna Rinaldi and Dulf Van Den Bisshop 2
Giavanna Rinaldi. PC: Devaney Iglesias

The $75,000 Grand Prix was not the first big win for the recent Auburn signee, who claimed the $50,000 Grand Prix the week before on Saturday, July 30 aboard the same mount. The motivated and skilled athlete plans to continue the winning streak through the final week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse in the final $25,000 Grand Prix of the competition.

Rinaldi not only earned a blue ribbon, but also a third-place finish aboard her other mount, Thalys Z.

Aboard the mare, Rinaldi was the first to go faultless in the jump-off after three athletes were unable to keep all the rails intact. The pair clocked in a time of 41.084 seconds to set the time to beat.

“I knew no one else was double clear when I went in on Thalys, ”Rinaldi explained about her strategy upon entering the ring for the jump-off. “I wanted to make sure to go double clear, and I did. But, I knew that I had to make up time when I got on Dulf, because Freddie [Vasquez] was faster than me. So, I galloped into the last line. He jumped amazing. They both did. I couldn’t be happier with both of them or the outcome.”

Vasquez and Bachelor 4 entered the ring as Rinaldi and Thalys exited and stole the lead. Crossing the finish line in 40.133 seconds, Vasquez held on to the top spot until Rinaldi returned aboard the bay stallion a round later and beat his time by two seconds, galloping away with a time of 38.254 seconds.

“There is not a more deserving rider,” Vasquez said about the young victor. “I wouldn’t have wanted to lose to anyone else. She’s a great up-and-coming rider.”

Eight horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off after clearing the first round of the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course. While Rinaldi secured first and third, Vasquez claimed the red ribbon.

“The course rode just like it walked,” Vasquez shared. “Bachelor 4 listened to me, jumped well and felt great. There were a lot of good and seasoned riders in this class, and Gia is young and brave. I’m happy for her. She rode great. No one can take that away from her.”

Vasquez was very proud of his 14-year-old Rheinlander, who earned a second-place finish in the $25,000 Welcome Stakes earlier in the week.

“He’s a super careful horse,” Vasquez said. “He’s not the fastest, but fast enough. He’s always consistent and takes away a piece of the classes he competes in.”

The final rider of the jump-off was Amelia McArdle, who was the only other athlete other than Rinaldi and Vasquez to have a faultless speed round. She and Melody Des Hayettes Z locked in a time of 45.963 seconds to earn the fourth place spot on the leaderboard.

Earning the Kastel Denmark Style of Riding award was none other than Liz Atkins. The fifth place rider had the fastest 4-fault effort of the evening during the final round. She and Undine finished in a time of 38.363 seconds. Coming in two seconds behind Atkins on the leaderboard was Boyd Douglas and Berkley III with 4-faults in a time of 40.418 second to round out the top six.

For many years, Rinaldi has spent her summers at the Lamplight Equestrian Center. She concluded, “I always love coming to Lamplight, because I grew up here!”

Spectators can look forward to the $25,000 Jumper Derby on Sunday, August 7 at the Lamplight Equestrian Center, slated to begin at 2 p.m.

For more information on Lamplight Equestrian Center’s Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest show series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.

RESULTS – $75,000 Grand Prix
5    UNDINE            ATKINS, LIZ
9    EMIR D                HICKS, SHANNON
12    PLAYBOY            JAYNE, CHARLIE