Third time was the charm for Laura Kraut and Cedric as they prevailed in an exciting jumpoff for the $125,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday.
Kraut has competed in the prestigious Rolex-sponsored event at Donald Trump’s scenic estate, The Mar-a-Lago Club, since it began three years ago, but this time kicked off the new year with a stunning win over 34 other combinations in a unique setting.
With the backdrop of blue skies, palm trees, and sunshine on Florida’s intracoastal waterway, the course by New York designer Anthony D’Ambrosio saw 13 clear rounds that led to an exciting jump-off with seven double clear entries and a race to the finish.
Callan Solem (USA) and VDL Torlando were the first pair to clear the jump-off course without fault and finished seventh in 43.10 seconds. Alexander Zetterman (SWE) and his own Flecu were faster in 41.83 seconds to place sixth. Margie Engle (USA) and Indigo took the lead in 40.74 seconds to eventually place fourth, and Beezie Madden (USA) and Vanilla followed with the fifth place round in 41.48 seconds.
The final four riders were some of the fastest in the world and fought hard for a win in the prestigious competition where the option of a very tight inside turn and a gallop to the final fence was the final deciding factor. Darragh Kenny made that turn with Fantasy and was fast and clear in 40.12 seconds to take over the lead from Engle, but he eventually settled for second place. Brianne Goutal (USA) and Ballade van het Indihof were next, and did their best to catch the pair. They stopped the clock in 40.62 seconds to take third place. It was down to the final two.
Back-to-back Trump Invitational winner, Kent Farrington returned to defend his title after winning the inaugural event in 2013 with Dynamo and also topping the class in 2014 with Blue Angel, but it was not his day. Farrington opted for a very fast outside turn to the last fence with Blue Angel and slipped in the turn, then had a rail down at the final jump. The pair’s time of 36.31 seconds would have given Farrington his third straight win in the competition, but the unfortunate rail put them in ninth place. Last to go, Laura Kraut and Cedric took the inside turn and came through the timers in 39.96 seconds, just ahead of Kenny and Fantasy, to earn a big win.
Kraut and Cedric, a 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Chambertin x Carolus Z), have had a long and illustrious partnership that includes team gold in the 2008 Olympic Games and many grand prix victories over the years. Most recently, they topped the $50,000 Holiday& Horses Grand Prix CSI-W 2* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in November, but this was a class they had not yet conquered.
“I could not be more pleased with him,” Kraut said. “He is 17 years old, but he feels better than ever. He won his last outing a month ago out in Wellington and he has hardly jumped a fence until today. He is just an amazing horse, and we have such a relationship now. I feel like I can call on him, and he is there.”
Owner Margaret Duprey of Cherry Knoll Farm was onsite at Mar-a-Lago to watch the exciting class unfold, and event creators Mark Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions and President of the Trump Organization Donald Trump presented Duprey with the trophy for Kraut and Cedric’s outstanding performance. The dynamic duo of Cedric and Kraut will take a rest for the start of the winter circuit, not planning to show again until the fourth or fifth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Following a great win and a beautiful day in Palm Beach, Kraut praised Donald Trump and Equestrian Sport Productions’ CEO Mark Bellissimo for putting on a fantastic event. With footing challenges in year one, Trump put up the money to redo the turf for the 2014 event. The new footing was put to the test with terrible rains in year two, but everything came together this time around.
Trump praised the winner and was thrilled with another great event. “I want to congratulate the great champions,” he said. “I know Laura really wanted to win this and now she has done it. What a great job you have done. It is bravery and it is talent and it is great horses. It was an honor and I want to congratulate Mark and his family for the fantastic job they do in putting the event on. Likewise, we have an excellent one in Central Park, so we have a couple of beauties.”
Trump and Bellissimo put on the first ever Central Park Horse Show in Trump Rink in New York City this September with great success, and look forward to the future of that event, where Kraut along with second and third place finishers Darragh Kenny and Brianne Goutal competed as well. On Sunday, Kenny guided his horse Fantasy to a great jump-off round that just got beat.
“My horse is a little bit greener and younger than Cedric, so I was fighting an uphill battle,” Kenny laughed after the class. “She is really talented and I really think a lot of her, but I knew that when I came out of the ring with Kent and Laura going after me, chances are one of them was going to beat me. It was a great class and this it the first year I have actually jumped this class, so it was really enjoyable. The footing is fantastic. The show is brilliant. Donald and Mark do an amazing job with it.”
Goutal also had an excellent round with her mare, Ballade van het Indihof. “It was really special for me because I haven’t shown this horse in almost two years,” Goutal said. “She had some time off due to injuries and it is her first real grand prix back and for sure in the United States, she hasn’t been here in almost two years. I was absolutely thrilled with her. She is so amazing.”
Net proceeds from the Trump Invitational benefit the 2015 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments (FTI GCC), which will be held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday, February 7. The pro-am team competition, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo and their daughter, Paige, has distributed more than $6.2 million to more than 100 Palm Beach County charities over the past five years.In addition to 28 charities already selected to participate in this year’s competition, four more were selected during Sunday’s event, including CROS Ministries, Take Stock in Children Palm Beach, Gratitude House, and Leadership Palm Beach County.
Young jumpers show their stuff
Following the Trump Invitational, the future stars of show jumping took their turn in the spotlight. The brightest among them was Sophie Simpson, 17, who guided HC Woopy 14 to best 13 invitational competitors in the $5000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Speed Class.
One of three to leave all rails in their cups and beat the clock, Simpson and her nine-year-old Holsteiner mare crossed the timers in 57.004 seconds. Jumping to second, Addison Geirkink piloted Tiffany to a clear trip in 58.369 seconds. Keeping the only clear rounds in the top three, Joyce Green and Cassidy stopped the clock at 63.919 seconds for third.
A sale horse purchased by Simpson’s mother and trainer Nicole Shahinian-Simpson, HC Woopy 14 confirmed that she is exactly where they want her to be. “We are in a good spot for the rest of the season,” said Simpson. “She is coming along quickly and always looking for the next jump. She’s becoming a real competitor and fighter – jumping clean and going fast.”
While far from a rookie in the show ring, Simpson jumped for the first time at the Trump Invitational this year and admits she has never experienced a horse show quite like it.
“I was lucky enough to come here and have this experience – it’s an odd process to only have one horse at a one-day horse show,” she said.
Sweetening Simpson’s first week of 2015 even further, she participated in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session presented by the USHJA at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center just days before debuting at Mar-a-Lago. The experience served her well as she admits to hearing Morris’s voice reminding her “where are your feet and pick your hands up” while in the ring.
“I saw him [Morris] on the rail today and thanked him for the week,” recalled Simpson. “He said to me, ‘I watched your flatwork. It was very, very good’ and I thought, okay – I had a successful week.”
Simpson is coming off one of her final years as a Junior rider and has already committed to ride for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks come Fall 2016. While being signed to a collegiate team two years in advance is an honor, Simpson humbly gave credit to her team. “I have found that it takes a team to get to the ring. I am very fortunate to have great horses and tons of people supporting and getting me to the ring day to day. I am so lucky,” she said.
Sunday’s event also served as a kick-off to the season for the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival. The 12-week circuit, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, begins on Wednesday, January 7, and runs through March 29, 2015. During week one, the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes will be held on Saturday, January 10, with gates opening at 6 p.m. The first grand prix of the circuit, featuring $30,000 in prize money, will be held on Sunday, January 11, at 2 p.m.
Final Results: $125,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix CSI 2*, Presented by Rolex
1. CEDRIC: 1998 Holsteiner gelding by Chambertin x Carolus Z LAURA KRAUT (USA), Cherry Knoll Farm, Inc: 0/0/39.96<
2. FANTASY: 2005 Hanoverian mare by For Pleasure x Acord II DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/40.12
3. BALLADE VAN HET INDIHOF: 2001 BWP mare by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Heartbreaker BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/40.67
4. INDIGO: 2000 KWPN gelding by Indoctro x Unknown MARGIE ENGLE (USA), Griese, Garber, Hidden Creek & Gladewinds: 0/0/40.74
5. VANILLA: 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Nabab De Reve x Clinton BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/41.48
6. FLECU: 2004 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Hip Hop x Flamingo ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/0/41.83
7. VDL TORLANDO: 2000 KWPN stallion by Corland x Indoctro CALLAN SOLEM (USA), Torlando Group: 0/0/43.10
8. S I E C LEDGEPOINT: 2001 Holsteiner gelding by Lancer II x Capitol I GABRIELA MERSHAD (USA), Mershad Stables LLC: 0/2/46.03
9. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/4/36.81
10. ATLANTA 541: 2005 KWPN mare by For Pleasure x Libero H MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Michaels & Beerbaum gmbH: 0/4/37.97
11. MULLAGHDRIN RADO: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Radolin x Tresor de Mesnil ALEX GRANATO (USA), Wood Run Farms: 0/4/39.76
12. VERSUS: 2005 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Moujik de Sohan x Jasper RAMIRO QUINTANA (ARG), Michael Smith: 0/4/42.59
$5,000 Junior/Amateur Speed Exhibition
1. HC WOOPY 14 SOPHIE SIMPSON RIFFLE HITCH BLOODSTOCK 0/57.004
2. TIFFANY ADDISON GIERKINK KADLEY HOLDINGS, LLC 0/58.369
3. CASSIDY JOYCE GREEN JOYCE GREEN 0/63.919
4. MAN IN BLACK ANDRE MERSHAD ANDRE MERSHAD 4/55.060
5. CASSI KIRA KERKORIAN LISA KERKORKIAN 4/55.313
6. PROMISED LAND MCKAYLA LANGMEIER CANDY TRIBBLE 4/6.546
7. BASIC ALEXANDRA CROWN ALEXANDRA CROWN 4/59.721
8. LOVE HANNAH PATTEN HANNAH PATTEN 4/61.587
9. FIONETRA SOPHIE MORNER LOVSTA STUTERI 4/61.990
10. OSCAR HILARY MCNERNEY HILARY MCNERNEY 4/65.228
11. CARNEVAL TEDDY VLOCK TEDDY VLOCK 4/65.587
12. CHANEL VAN HET LAMBROECK AMY MASTERSON DK MASTERSON HOLDINGS 8/68.759