Margie Engle and Royce Race to First Prize in $137K Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*

Show jumping action reached its pinnacle Sunday, August 30 during the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, with 45 international contenders competing head-to-head in the $137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3* for the lead spot in the victory gallop. Emerging victorious ahead of the field thanks to precise riding and lightning footspeed, Margie Engle (USA) and Gladewinds Partners LLC’s Royce came out on top as the day’s big winner. Sunday’s victory is the second 2020 grand prix triumph for Engle in Traverse City, having topped the $137,000 Four G Surfaces Grand Prix CSI3* aboard Dicas during Week Five of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

Margie Engle on Royce. Photo by Allyson Lagiovane/Phelps Sports.

The first round of competition saw Beat Mändli (SUI) and Galan S serve as the trailblazers, turning in the first clear trip of the class as the second entry to jump course designer Ivan Tagle’s (ARG) 15-effort pattern. Engle and Royce soon added their names to the list of fault-free contenders to force a jump-off, followed by four more American contingents before the midway break in the form of Lucy Deslauriers (USA) on Enanda, Lillie Keenan (USA) riding Agana Van Het Gerendal Z and Spencer Smith (USA) with Ayade Hero Z and Alison Robitaille (USA) aboard Ginger Pop.

Margie Engle on Royce in their presentation ceremony. Photo by Allyson Lagiovane/Phelps Sports.

Following the halfway point, there was a drought of clear rounds from the first ten duos, but that trend soon changed as eight more penalty-free trips came from Brian Moggre (USA), Bliss Heers (USA), Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Beezie Madden (USA), McLain Ward (USA), Luiz Francisco De Azevedo (BRA), Freddie Vazquez (PUR) and Adam Prudent (USA) on their respective mounts. The time-allowed was a factor for two riders, as Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Kristen Berian (USA) each fell victim to a single time fault after keeping all the rails in their cups.

Beezie Madden on Chic Hin D Hyrencourt. Photo by Elaine Wessel/Phelps Sports.

Fourteen qualified contenders from five nations returned to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring for the tie-breaker round, and seven partnerships managed to leave all the fences intact for a second time to finish the afternoon double-clear. The first to return, Mändli set the initial pace in the irons aboard Galan S in 39.840 seconds, laying the gauntlet down with a clear trip to start the second phase with momentum. The leaders’ status did not hold for even one trip, though, as Engle and Royce proved why they are consistently one of the quickest in the game with a blazing performance in a fault-free 37.410 seconds, slicing nearly two-and-a-half seconds off the frontrunners’ time to capture the lead. Twelve subsequent teams chased down Engle and Royce’s time, but ultimately none could manage it, solidifying the American partnership as the victors in the $137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*.

Shane Sweetnam on Alejandro. Photo by Elaine Wessel/Phelps Sports.

Only milliseconds off the pace as one of the final pairs to go, Madden and Chic Hin D Hyrencourt, owned by Abigail Wexner, galloped to the reserve honors in a time of 37.460 seconds, and Sweetnam piloted Alejandro, co-owned by Seabrook LLC, Spy Coast Farm and Sweetnam, to third place overall in 37.550 seconds, the third and final duo to beat the 39-second mark. The top three finishers distinguished themselves from the pack, as the next-best finisher concluded the jump-off more than one-and-a-half seconds slower.

On looking ahead to the American Gold Cup, Margie Engle commented: “I’ve had lots of seconds, lots of thirds, so who knows. It will be a good class. There are a lot of good horse-and-rider combinations here, so you never know!”

Up by six points when the day commenced in the CaptiveOne Advisors $30,000 Leading Jumper Rider Bonus leaderboard, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) had a small buffer over the rest of the pack in the standings towards the season-ending prize. Though Sweetnam, who had been sitting in third place and moved up to second, earned a few points thanks to his Sunday results, Vanderveen managed to stay on top to close the week. The coveted bonus will be awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points in competitions worth $25,000 or more in prize money over the course of 11 weeks of riding in Traverse City, concluding with the $213,300 CaptiveOne American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI4* on September 13. Exhibitors have two more weeks of competition ahead of them.

Sterling Malnik on Cardella. Photo by Allyson Lagiovane/Phelps Sports.

Earlier in the day, the morning began with the $2,500 East Wind Farms Children’s Jumper Classic, which saw a talented field of young riders take to the ring for a shot at the prize money and points towards the division championship. As the very last entry out of the original starters, Rebecca Gutstein and Emma Boch’s Empty Spaces kicked up the pace to speed to victory in the class by almost one-and-a-half seconds ahead of the next-best finisher. Tripping the timer fault-free in 26.378 seconds, Gutstein and Empty Spaces saved the best for last to claim the win, followed by Sterling Malnik on Dorothy Matz’ Cardella in second place in a clear time of 27.787 seconds. The top two were reversed for the division championship, as Malnik and Cardella earned the overall champion honors thanks to back-to-back victories in the first two Children’s Jumpers classes during the week as well as Sunday’s runner-up spot. Gutstein and Empty Spaces nabbed the reserve championship due to their Classic victory and a previous second-place finish.

Lindsey Tomeu on Gold Lux. Photo by Elaine Wessel/Phelps Sports.

The $2,500 Pinecone Shavings Adult Amateur Jumper Classic challenged the same track as the Children’s Classic immediately following the first class of the day, once again offering the field a final shot at the tricolors. Going one-two as the two swiftest of only four double-clear competitors, Lindsey Tomeu galloped to first place and second place in the class, which propelled her to the championship honors, as well. With the reins on Siboney Ranch’s Gold Lux, Tomeu broke the beam in 28.640 seconds as the quickest of the day, and turned in another solid performance riding DBHC Inc.’s Bonapart with a penalty-free effort in 29.063 seconds, good enough for the reserve spot. With a first-place finish earlier in the week in the $500 class and a sixth-place result Sunday, Molly Athey clinched the reserve honors with SL Olada, owned by Daneli Miron.

Sunday, August 30 concluded the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. Riding will resume Wednesday, September 2 at Flintfields Horse Park for the 50th American Gold Cup, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC and featuring the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament.

Full Results – $137,000 Grand Prix of Traverse City CSI3*:

Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Royce / Margie Engle / USA / Gladewinds Partners LLC / 0 | 67.10 / 0 | 37.410
2. Chic Hin d’ Hyrencourt / Beezie Madden / USA / Abigail Wexner / 0 | 67.48 / 0 | 37.460
3. Alejandro / Shane Sweetname / IRL / Seabrook LLC, Spy Coast Farm, Shane Sweetnam / 0 | 67.480 / 0 | 37.550
4. Baloutinue / Adam Prudent / USA / Plain Bay Farm / 0 | 68.76 / 0 | 39.130
5. Ginger Pop / Alison Robitaille / USA / Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone / 0 | 67.52 / 0 | 39.180
6. Galan S / Beat Mändli / SUI / Grant Road Partners LLC / 0 | 70.560 / 0 | 39.840
7. Kirschwasser SCF / Freddie Vazquez / PUR / Freddie Vazquez / 0 | 68.66 / 0 | 40.220
8. Antidote de Mars / Bliss Heers / USA / Bridgeside Farms LLC / 0 | 67.90 / 4 | 37.610
9. Clinta / McLain Ward / USA / McLain Ward, Heller & Sagamore / 0 | 67.31 / 4 | 39.460
10. Agana Van Het Gerendal Z / Lillie Keenan / USA / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0 | 66.61 / 4 | 41.720
11. My Way / Luiz Francisco De Azevedo / BRA / Santa Cecilia Stables LLC / 0 | 69.66 / 4 | 43.240
12. Ayade Hero Z / Spencer Smith / USA / Ransome Rombauer / 0 | 66.88 / 8 | 40.740