Mill Spring, NC - Lacey Gilbertson (USA) and Baloppi dominated in today's $35,000 Suncast® Commercial Welcome Stake CSI 4* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), stopping the jump-off timers in an impressive 35.029 seconds.
Eric Navet (FRA) and Basimodo secured the second place position with a time of 35.480 seconds, and David Beisel (USA) and Call Me Hannes earned third place honors with a time of 35.867 seconds.
The first round of competition boasted 40 entries, with nine advancing to the jump-off set by Alan Wade (IRL). With the top three finishers completing the jump-off track within the exact same second of each other, Gilbertson, who went late in the order, knew she had to be quick to secure the win.
"It was nice getting to watch Eric go first in the jump-off because he is always a very fast rider and watching what he did, I knew what I had to do to go a little bit faster," Gilbertson detailed about the technical jump-off.
Gilbertson continued to describe how she was able to trust Baloppi, a 2007 Danish Warmblood owned by Seabrook LLC, in the jump-off. The pair navigated the track efficiently and took the necessary risks to ultimately take the victory.
"It is nice because she is very careful, so I don't have to worry about her getting too flat at the verticals. The first fence in the jump-off was a vertical, so I knew I could just gallop up to it. Then there was the long run down to fence two and she covered so much ground."
"She is strong and hot but she's not too strong, so I don't have to start setting her up too far ahead of the jump. I keep getting there and then a stride or two away if we need to go more forward or slow down, she listens. She is very intuitive to what I tell her to do," Gilbertson explained.
The pair has only been partnered together a few months, but Gilbertson is excited about their future. Smiling after their win, she said, "I have clicked with her faster than I have with any other horse. I haven't had her that long, but everywhere we've gone she has won a class." David Beisel and Call Me Hannes
"She is so brave and very forgiving. I can take chances on her because I know it is not going to scare her if I make a mistake, which I believe has made me an even better rider. I don't get scared of the mistake anymore," Gilbertson added.
Gilbertson felt as though she had a little luck on her side today, as a lucky charm in the warm-up ring potentially played in the pair's favor. She explained, "Today in the schooling ring I found a horseshoe on the ground and gave it to one of the stewards. She swore it was good luck, so it must have been good luck!"
World-class competition will continue at TIEC throughout the week, with the highly anticipated $216,000 Horseware® Ireland CSI 4* Grand Prix on Saturday, June 10, with activities and entertainment commencing at 6:00 p.m. and competition beginning at 8:00 p.m.
For more information on TIEC, please visit www.tryon.com