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Alex Granato and Helios vd Nosahoeve grab first in $63,000 CSI4* Welcome Stake at Traverse City Horse Shows

Saturday, 15 June 2024
CSI4* Traverse City Horse Shows 2024

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Alex Granato & Helios vd Nosahoeve. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.


Press release from Traverse City Horse Shows


A clear blue sky and mild Michigan weather set the stage at Flintfields Horse Park on Friday afternoon for the $63,000 Traverse City Horse Shows CSI4* Welcome Stake, a highlight of the second week at the Spring Series, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel. From a 10-horse jump-off, Alex Granato (USA) led an all-American victory gallop after clocking in the best time aboard Helios vd Nosahoeve.

Bernardo Costa Cabral (POR) built a course true to form for the experience level of the 34 combinations that contested his first-round track. Granato was one of only a few contenders with a single horse to return, but quickly put the pressure on after leaving all rails in the cups in a tidy time of 36.21 seconds.

“We’ve been building a partnership for a while, but he’s become truly consistent in the last six months,” explained Granato of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (Numero Uno x London) owned by Michigan-based Kisma Equestrian, LLC. “He’s always been super talented but inexperienced and he can be a bit spooky, which works to his advantage in the ring as he’s brave, but he gets distracted by things going on outside. Getting to know him and playing with how he reacts to things has been a fun process.”

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Lillie Keenan and Opium JW van de Moerhoeve. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.

Several in the field fought to overthrow the leading time from Granato by leaving a stride out in the final line. However, the move repeatedly proved to be a costly choice as the final fence tumbled from the cups.

“I went in the middle of the pack, but I didn’t really care when I went because my plan for him was pretty set,” Granato detailed. “I wanted to lay down the best plan I could for today and I figured it may not be the winner, but he was quite fast and turned well with me today, so they ended up having to chase me a bit. There were several faster than me after, but they had a rail as they went on to leave the stride out at the end.”

The USA’s Lillie Keenan nearly caught Granato as she finished up just fractions off the pace in 36.71 seconds on her second entry, Chansonette Farm, LLC’s Opium JW van de Moerhoeve, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Kannan x Nabab de Reve). Spencer Smith’s (USA) previous leading time of 36.99 seconds on Emily Smith’s 14-year-old Hannoverian mare Casablanca H (Conteur x Landor S) ultimately proved good enough for third, making it a clean sweep for the U.S. ahead of Sunday’s $182,000 Southern Arches CSI4* Grand Prix.

Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography. Spencer Smith and Casablanca H. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography.

For Granato, the win is just the beginning of an exciting season, much of which he plans to spend at Traverse City Horse Shows in preparation for the two five-star events during the Tournament of Champions this fall.

“It’s a beautiful venue for one, and it promotes great jumping,” he said. “We come several times between the spring and fall, and I always try to make it a staple in our schedule. We specifically try to target our spring schedule for this week, so I just brought up the horses I am competing in the international and national events this week.”

Granato is currently bringing his famed international mount Carlchen W back from a minor injury while also aiming his international string at the fall’s American Gold Cup as well as the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Traverse City North American League (NAL) event in hopes of FEI World Cup™ qualification in 2025.

National horse-and-rider duos will take center stage in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring as competition resumes on Saturday with the $30,000 Traverse City National Grand Prix.


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