A blink of the eye.

That’s the amount of time that separated first and second place in the $50,000 Meijer Grand Prix CSI2* in Week Two of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Lake Placid.

Of the 48 entries to contest course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral’s 16-effort track, 15 posted clear first rounds to advance to the jump off.

Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Luibanta BH were second to tackle the track and first to set the time to beat with a speedy clear in 40.450 seconds. The time held until 10 horses later, USA’s Spencer Smith and Ayade Hero Z shaved a mere 11 hundredths of a second—roughly the time it takes to blink—off their time, tripping the clock in 40.360 seconds.

None of the three remaining competitors could catch the pair.

“I watched Amanda [Derbyshire] go and I thought, she’s known as a fast rider and she just put it down there. I didn’t know if I could catch her but I just went all out because she was so fast and hoped it would work, and luckily it did. It was a little risky, definitely a risk, but I trust [Ayade Hero Z] pretty well, she is all the quality, she will go all the way to the big level so I think this was no problem,” said Smith.

Ayade Hero Z is a nine-year-old mare owned by Ransome Rombauer, but regularly appears in the ring with Smith. The $50,000 Meijer 1.45m Grand Prix CSI2* marks her biggest FEI victory to date.

Meanwhile in Tryon, NC…

Kristen VanderVeen (USA) and Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili took the win in Saturday’s $73,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSI 2* at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort.

The veteran pair crossed the timers in 36.579 seconds, more than two and a half seconds faster than Brittni Raflowitz (ISR) and Hilton van de Breepoel’s time of 39.153.

The Guilherme Jorge (BRA) course design saw 39 combinations in the first round, with 10 horse-and-rider pairs returning to challenge the jump-off track.

“The jump-off, I really liked. The jump-offs are always fun with Frosty because he turns and he goes fast, so it’s fun,” said VanderVeen.

“Honestly, I think we were just able to hold the rhythm the whole way, and everything showed up in stride. He was very careful at the combination, so I got to use that a little to my strength and come in fast there. But overall, I think he was able to hold a good canter all the way around.”