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Press Release


Beth Underhill and Viggo

David Beisel and Call Me Hannes

Beth Underhill and Viggo

Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster

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Canada’s Beth Underhill and Viggo Victorious in $25,000 Amberway Equine Welcome Stake at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival

Written by: Kendall Bierer
Client: Morrissey Management Group (MMG)
Release Date: 2015-07-10

Traverse City, MI – July 10, 2015 – It was Beth Underhill and veteran mount Viggo that vaulted to the top of the leaderboard during the $25,000 Amberway Equine Welcome Stake at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Friday, winning the highlight event as the fastest of only four double clear efforts. The pair, hailing from Canada, broke the beam in 42.044 seconds to take home the lion’s share of the earnings ahead of 22 contenders.

Keith Bollotte designed the courses for the $25,000 Amberway Equine Welcome Stake, testing riders with a fair yet technical track. Faults were incurred throughout the 16-effort course, with only eight able to clear the opening round and move into the jump-off.

Eventual winner Underhill said, “I thought Keith [Bollotte] did a really masterful job today. He had quite a few entries and he wanted to test the field. I thought it was a very fair track, but challenging. The jump-off was a really fun track to ride. There were places where you could gallop and you had to be careful, but all of his tracks have been fair and on point.”

David Beisel and Underhill were the busiest riders of the class, each qualifying with two mounts over the shortened course. Beisel was the first to test the 8-effort track with Ammeretto, owned by Equine Holdings LLC. The pair, known for their speed, did not disappoint in the race against the clock, posting the speedy time of 41.332 seconds. An unfortunate rail at the opening fence would cost them the victory, but give Beisel the opportunity to prepare for his second mount, Call Me Hannes.

“I thought that the first round was fun, as it was a long course and the horses needed to stay focused,” Beisel said. “Some of the horses got a little lost going to the last line, but they both jumped great in the first round. It was nice to have two in the jump-off because I got to feel where I wanted to go with the second horse, and I thought they both jumped great.”

Beisel and Call Me Hannes kicked off the week with a win in the 1.40m Open Jumpers, preparing for the $25,000 Amberway Welcome Stake and Sunday’s $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan. They duplicated their double-clear effort from earlier in the week, tripping the timers in 42.597 seconds today.

Beisel has been working with Call Me Hannes, purchased from Derek Petersen, for about a year and a half. Beisel worked with the horse, then eight years old, to bring him to the grand prix level, an achievement they gained in Traverse City last summer.

Beisel would hold the lead until Underhill entered the ring to challenge his time two rounds later.

“He is really relaxed this week. He grew up and is super comfortable now. As he keeps playing the game, I think he will turn a little tighter and learn to go a little faster,” Beisel said.

Underhill was able to watch Beisel set the time to beat on Call Me Hannes, and from watching his track, she had a general idea of what would work well for her veteran partner Viggo.

“I always try to watch David [Beisel] because he is such a phenomenally fast and smooth rider. He is deceptive because he is so smooth,” Underhill said. “I had a good sense of the track to take. I was fortunate that every time I turned the forward distance was showing up. My horse thrives on that. He is better jumping out of a gallop. The course today was in his favor.”

Beisel wore a target on his back as Underhill and Viggo picked up the pace and tackled the track, utilizing Viggo’s large stride to cover the ground and shave the seconds. They landed from the final oxer in 42.044 seconds, setting a new benchmark for the remaining three competitors to attempt to catch.

Underhill said, “I am so proud of my horse, I haven’t jumped him since Sunday’s grand prix, I thought that I would let him get fresh. I was a little worried during the first round when he was so fresh and up. He is quite hard to ride when he is like that; he gets a little bit ferocious. He is a bit big for me anyway, and I was hoping that it wouldn’t come unraveled.”

“He stayed really focused, and I thought he jumped better in the jump-off when he was a little more settled. He really rose to the occasion in the jump-off and he did everything I asked him to do. I could not be more thrilled,” Underhill smiled. “What really pleased me was how careful he stayed off the jumps at that speed, and was very economical. Everything I asked him to do, he delivered.”

Ryan Genn and Cookie Monster, owned by father Wilhelm Genn, also posted a double clear effort, but their more conservative speed would garner them the third place finish behind Beisel in 43.380 seconds. Erin Haas and As Di Chupito posted the final clear effort of the jump-off, stopping the clock in 43.758 seconds for the fourth place.

Wilhelm Genn and Welcome COR, owned by Ann Anastasio, were the fastest of the four-faulters, earning the fifth place with the time of 41.035 seconds as the last to return for the jump-off. Beisel rounded out the top six with Ammeretto with his four-fault ride early on in the jump-off.

Underhill has plans to ride Viggo and barn mate Cadermie in the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan on Sunday, which will be their last day competing at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.

“We are so excited to be here and it has been a wonderful two weeks. I am quite sad to go home, and next year we are going to stay for longer,” Underhill concluded. “I am off to Toronto from here because I am on the selection committee for the Pan Am Team for Canada, so I want to be there and see how our team fares. That will be very exciting, but next year I plan to stay longer, because we have all had such a good time here.”

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival will continue tomorrow with the $10,000 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, as well as the $7,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. The feature event for the second week of competition is the $50,000 Grand Prix of Michigan on Sunday, July 12.

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