Traverse City, MI - It was an exciting afternoon in the Grand Prix Ring at Flintfields Horse Park on Thursday as Steve Schaefer and Caribe raced to victory in the third and final Welcome Prix of the 2010 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival. Schaefer and Caribe arrived from Illinois on Tuesday and made their trip worthwhile by winning today's $10,000 Welcome Prix class, which was generously sponsored by Schreiber Corporation of Wixom, MI.
The afternoon's class also featured a wine and cheese party in the VIP tent overlooking the Grand Prix Ring, sponsored by Positive Step Farm of Howell, MI.
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt set a difficult track for the 17 entries to navigate in today's class and just six entries were able to jump clear to return for the jump-off course. Only two finished the class double clear and the faster of those two entries was Steve Schaefer. Schaefer, of Maple Park, IL, piloted his seven-year-old Argentinean Stallion Caribe to the fast round in 38.975 seconds. Finishing in a close second was Michael Tokaruk and his mount Roger Rabbit, who stopped the clock in 39.475 seconds. Frankie Chesler-Ortiz and Aslan finished in third place with the fastest four-fault jump-off round in 38.168 seconds.
"I had a great time in the class today and I thought the course was just tough enough," Schaefer smiled after his win. "It was the right spot for my horse, who is young, and I liked a lot about it. I was happy to jump a little bigger; we have been doing stuff in Chicago a little bit and it was nice to come here and have a nice, solid track to jump."
Schaefer went into the jump-off third and knew that he had to go clear to win after the first two competitors had rails down. "I knew going down there that double clean was going to put me in first leaving the ring, but I was just hoping to be tidy enough and smooth enough," he explained. "I did not want to go crazy fast; I just wanted to have a good connection and make him work a little bit around the course. Everybody else got a little sporadic and had rails, so I just tried to keep it together."
Schaefer showed for the first time in Traverse City in 2009 when he showed Caribe in the Six-Year-Old Young Jumpers and 1.30m Jumpers. This year, the pair arrived midday on Tuesday and showed in one class this morning before coming in to win the Welcome Prix. "My plan is to do the Grand Prix on Sunday, but I am not sure yet," Schaefer noted. "Sometimes it is good to end on a win. This definitely makes it worth the trip, but it would also make it a free class for Sunday, so we will see."
Schaefer plans to return to Chicago and takes some time off from showing after this week, but has enjoyed his trip up to northern Michigan. "I love the show here; they do a great job and it is a beautiful place," he stated. "I do not think there is a prettier place in the country to have a horse show. It was kind of a last minute decision to come up here, but we got a good group together and we had a good day."
Earlier in the day the Grand Prix Ring hosted several other exciting jumper classes with top competitors. David Beisel and Ecstasy won the $1,500 1.25m Jumpers, sponsored by Wild Oak Farm and The Lenkart Family of Delano, MN. Beisel also rode Belvedere to a win in the $2,000 1.30m Jumpers thanks to the sponsorship of Blue Gate Farm, LLC and Denise Wilson of Oconomowoc, WI. Kim Farlinger and Bay Street capped off the afternoon with a big win after topping the $2,500 1.35m Jumpers.
Horse Shows by the Bay Series III will continue through this weekend with highlight events including the HJAM Medal Finals as well as the $30,000 D-BRAIDER Cherry Capital Classic Grand Prix. The 2010 Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival will conclude on August 1. For more information, please visit www.horseshowsbythebay.com.
$10,000 OPEN JUMPER WELCOME PRIX II2A 1.45M
1 846 CARIBE STEVE SCHAEFER SEROSUN TURTLE ROCK GROUP 0 0 38.975
2 ROGER RABBIT MICHAEL TOKARUK MICHAEL TOKARUK 0 0 39.475
3 644 ASLAN FRANKIE CHESLER-ORTIZ SHER-AL FARM 0 4 38.168
4 43 UN PRINCE SCOTT LENKART MARTHA MACMILLAN 0 4 38.389
5 782 ROMEO VICTOR SEGOVIA THE ROMEO GROUP 0 4 39.713
6 315 MOROCCO LISA GOLDMAN LISA GOLDMAN 0 8 34.500
7 318 CENTURION B LISA GOLDMAN MARY GOLDMAN 4 72.895
8 146 COURAGE 68 BRIAN SHOOK EQUESTRIAN ENDEAVORS 4 78.192
9 380 ILIAN-DE-TAUTE ROBIN WALKER RUTH ARMSTRONG 4 79.724
10 44 ODAUS RENEE LENKART MARTHA MACMILLAN 4 82.693
Photo Credit: Steve Schaefer and Caribe triumphed in the $10,000 Welcome Prix at Horse Shows by the Bay III. Photo © 2010 Lauren Fisher/PMG.