Hard Work Pays Off for Freddie Vazquez in Staller CSI3* Welcome Stake
Freddie Vazquez (PUR) has been working hard for a win all summer, and the pieces finally fell into place on Friday in the $37,000 Staller CSI3* Welcome Stake. Aboard Kirschwasser SCF, Vazquez bested the to claim his first victory of the season.
Over Michel Vaillancourt’s (CAN) first-round track, rails came down across the expanse of the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring, but Vazquez showed his mastery producing only the second clear effort. Anna Beth Athey (USA) was the first to jump clear, followed by Eliza Lehrman (USA) who opted to not jump off with Eluna CL Z, and then Samuel Parot (CHI) with Chrystal Blue.
With a refusal from Athey, Vazquez knew he had to give it all he had with Parot, who was second and third in Thursday’s CSI3* Speed, behind him. The 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve) barely touched the front rail at the final fence, pulling it down and leaving the door open for a clear effort to take the win. Parot ultimately had two rails down in his jump-off, taking second place and awarding the win to Vazquez.
Vazquez and Kirschwasser SCF are well into their third year together, and they’ve had several podium finishes at Flintfields Horse Park. Vazquez has gotten to know the horse, bred on American soil at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, KY, up to the CSI5* level, competing in the American Gold Cup in 2021.
“We had a super start from the get go and then COVID hit and we sat away for a bit,” Vazquez said of his partnership with Kirschwasser SCF, known as “Kirby” in the barn. “We got back and have been consistent in the three- and four-star level. He’s a horse that always tries for me. We’ve had enough time now that we know each other really well and he always gives me 100%.”
Despite his strength in the ring and consistent results, the horse can be quite sensitive and has the perfect amount of suspicion when coming in to jump a big track. “He’s a sensitive horse,” Vazquez continued. “He likes his staff: his therapist, his vet, his shoe guy. You’ve got to earn his trust. But he is brave as a lion and has all the scope and rideability. Just suspicious enough that he’s going to leave the jumps up nine times out of 10.