Parker, Colo., July 21
Coming back in the jump off for the $50,000 Parker Adventist Grand Prix at Summer in the Rockies VI, Kristen VanderVeen wasn’t sure she’d be the one leading the victory gallop. She and Bull Run’s Zino Platinum had conquered Peter Holmes’ first round—but so had nine other competitors.
“I was concerned when the first two went clean,” said VanderVeen. “The [Kathy and Bruce Coors] Welcome Stakes was a huge jump-off as well, and we were fifth in that. This time I just tried to be as smooth as I could. My turn back from the [second oxer to the third] was good, and I just decided to take a chance at the last fence.”
That decision paid off when the fence stayed up, and VanderVeen ticked the timers at 43.01 seconds, just faster than former leaders Kelsey Thatcher and Dulf Van Den Bisscop. But then VanderVeen had to sit around and watch the next six riders in the jump off try to catch up.
John Pearce made a go of it, slicing the turns on Chianto and clocking in nearly five seconds faster than the St. Charles, Ill., rider, but it cost the Canadian a rail. Bjorn Ikast took a conservative track on the aptly named Colorado, and the winners in the Welcome Stakes, Katie Riddle and John McConnell, had a less successful day, picking up 12 faults.
Hector Florentino looked poised for a good try, but Ultimo took exception when they sliced the turn to the second fence in the jump-off, digging in his heels and finishing out of contention. In the end, Chianto settled into fourth, behind Thatcher and Allison Kroff and Washington.
This marks Bull Run Zino Platinum’s first major grand prix win.
“The course looked a little bigger than what we’ve been jumping,” said VanderVeen, who’s been at the Colorado Horse Park for the last three weeks. “The lines were set nice so I could balance him. It set us up properly to jump clean.
VanderVeen imported the German Holsteiner by Accordo 1 ½ years ago, and her brother Joshua has had the ride on him until this spring.
“He’s perfect in the sense that he’s not really German,” said Kristen, 23. “He naturally goes in more of an American style. He doesn’t mind if I hold him up, and he holds no grudges—I can miss and he’ll just try harder and jump higher. He gives you that confidence that you don’t have to be perfect.”
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