Samantha Cohen Speeds to First Grand Prix Victory

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Samantha Cohen and Carmen. Photo © Sportfot

Forty-five entries lined up for the chance to be named the winner of the $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix CSI 2*. Of those 45, 10 went on to increase their chances by qualifying for the jump-off, and there were six double clear rounds.

The fastest of those was 18-year-old Samantha Cohen riding Carmen (a 12-year-old KWPN mare by Whitesnake x Corland), who stopped the timers in 37.56 seconds to take the victory as the first ones into the jump-off.

“I was first to go and nine were after me, with so many fast riders. I just wanted to go in and give it my best shot,” said Cohen of her jump-off ride. “She’s really quick around the turns, and she’s deceptively fast. She doesn’t ever look like she’s really running. I was really happy when I came out, but I was not sure it would hold.”

The spot in the jump-off track that Cohen thought most about was the double combination and making sure Carmen was prepared for the vertical to oxer combination.

“I wanted to gallop away [from the previous fence] and then take my time really getting her on her hind end for that,” she explained. “I didn’t want her to dive into ‘a’. That was, for me, the trickiest part. She is just a genius on the turns. She’s right there with me, and I knew that’s where I could get my time.”

Samantha Cohen and Carmen in their winning presentation with Ian, Haley, Georgia, and Susan Griffis and ringmaster Steve Rector.

Cohen spends the summers competing in two-star and three-star competitions with her trainers, Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton. “This is my first grand prix win, so I’m really excited,” she said. “I’ve jumped a lot of big tracks with her, so I was really confident going in and knew I could do it.”

Coming closest in time to Cohen was 28-year-old Carly Anthony (USA) riding Clochard, owned by Neil Jones Equestrian Inc. They were clear in 38.73 seconds for second place.

Carly Anthony and Clochard. Photo © Sportfot

“Clochard is naturally fast, so starting with a good pace, sticking to it, and staying tight in the turns as possible, I usually end up in the top three,”said Anthony. “I had a bit of luck today coming into the double; he rubbed that quite hard coming into ‘a’. I didn’t have the tight enough turns that Sam did today. She outrode me; she rode incredibly. I was quite pleased with Clochard, how he jumped, how he was responding. In the end, for me to be second, that was on me. He’ll win every day.”

Anthony earned the ride on Clochard, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Kasmir van Schuttershof x Cascadeur, a year ago and is the professional rider for Neil Jones Equestrian Inc. She noted that riding Clochard is like “driving a sports car, a Ferrari, top quality.”

She continued, “I don’t think there are many like him. He is competitive. He goes into the ring and you instantly feel his energy change. You can go into any class and feel that you have a chance of winning, even if you don’t ride that well. I’ve made mistakes and we’ve still won. He’s quite an incredible horse.”

Third place went to Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) on Hillside Farm’s Farrero. They had a time of 38.92 seconds.

Rodrigo Pessoa and Farrero. Photo © Sportfot

“I thought Samantha was really spot on,” said Pessoa. “Every time out of the turn she was really smooth, and she was really tight. I thought she had laid it out pretty nicely. I think in retrospect I was a little bit wide from one to two. I wanted to jump number two straight to get on to the double. That’s where I left the door open a little bit, and maybe the rollback to the liverpool was not as tight as I should have done.”

Pessoa only started riding Farrero in November of 2018. The nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Boss x Indorado belongs to his student Coco Fath. They started competing in the 1.30m at WEF in January and have progressed steadily over the weeks.

“He’s very, very careful and a very generous horse,” he described. “He’s fairly easy to ride. He’s been great and jumping a lot of clears. He’s progressed really well. He’s extremely careful, which is very nice because he takes care of the jumps and you don’t have to worry about that. You just have to steer and keep him in good gear, and that’s it.”

Final Results: $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix CSI 2*

1 CARMEN: 2007 KWPN mare by Whitesnake x Corland
SAMANTHA COHEN (USA), Samantha Cohen: 0/0/37.56

2 CLOCHARD: 2008 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Kasmir van Schuttershof x Cascadeur
CARLY ANTHONY (USA), Neil Jones Equestrian Inc.: 0/0/38.73

3 FARRERO: 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Boss x Indorado
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Hillside Farm Inc.: 0/0/38.92

4 SKARA GLEN’S PARA BELLUM: 2011 KWPN gelding by Singulord Joter x Indorado
PAUL O’SHEA (IRL), Skara Glen Stables: 0/0/40.39

5 DAISY: 2008 KWPN mare by Excenel V x Timeless
MEREDITH MICHAELS-BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/40.79

6 CARACHO 14: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Dobel’s Cento  Acodetto
LUCY DAVIS (USA), Old Oak Farm: 0/0/44.09

7 RANDON PLEASURE: 2005 Selle Francais mare by For Pleasure x Quidam de Revel
FABIO LEIVAS DA COSTA (BRA), Bonne Chance Farm: 0/4/40.36

8 CASCO 11: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Caspar x Colman
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/4/40.37

9 PRESTIGIOUS: 2007 Westphalian gelding by Con Cento x Corofino
MADISON GOETZMANN (USA), Madison Goetzmann: 0/8/35.85

10 ALL IN: 2005 KWPN gelding by Aachen x Indoctro
KATHERINE STRAUSS (USA), Katherine Strauss LLC: 0/8/42.98

11 PRADO K: 2003 Westphalian gelding by Prado x Dynast
BLISS HEERS (USA), Bridgeside Farms LLC: 1/80.29

12 VAN SCHIJNDEL’S DOUBLE BEE: 2008 KWPN mare by Lord Z x Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve
ANNA DRYDEN (USA), Double Meadows Farm LLC: 1/80.43

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