Birthday Win for Greg Crolick and Calisto in $10,000 Traverse City Derby

Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 1, 2021 – The final day of Week IV at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, began Friday morning at the Flintfields Horse Park, featuring an exciting day of hunter and jumper sport. As one of the highlight classes of the day, the Polk Family Hunter Ring saw 45 horse-and-athlete pairs put their names forward for the $10,000 Traverse City Derby. Turning in an overall score of 181 for their two rounds of effort, Greg Crolick and Jon Cotton’s Calisto wore the first place ribbon as they led the victory gallop at the conclusion of the class.

Greg Crolick and Calisto, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Set at the 3’ fence height, the first round, a traditional classic round, offered riders and their mounts a 12-effort track with four high-option fences as an opportunity to garner additional points towards their scores. Judges evaluated horses on their quality of movement, jumping style and overall presence in the arena as they made their way around the track. At the end of the classic round, the cut-off score stood at an 80, with the remaining exhibitors falling short of the top twelve spots. Kelsey Epperson and Tulio sat in the first place position on a first round score of 93. Following closely behind was Crolick and Calisto, who received a 92 from the judges, and Augusta Iwasaki with Alajolie followed closely behind on 90.

Greg Crolick and Calisto, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Twelve horse-and-rider pairs were invited back to the Polk Family Hunter Ring for round two, a handy round. Returning in reverse order, judges were looking for pace, brilliance and adjustability as athletes made their best efforts to navigate a tidy track while still showing off their horses’ form over fences. Ava Peck and Baton Rouge were the first to attempt the handy course, posting a score of 82. Fifth to tackle the second round course was Callie Schott and Drumroll. Coming in with a score of 87.5, Schott was hungry to improve upon her classic round score. The pair navigated an excellent round, taking all four high-option fences to end on a score of 92 for the second round, and an overall score of 179.5 to sit atop the leaderboard. Five others would try to overtake Schott and Drumroll’s lead, but none could until Crolick entered the arena. Crolick and Caristo’s first round score of 92 meant the pressure was on to produce a consistent second round ahead of Epperson’s final effort. The pair would rise to the occasion, taking a slick inside turn to earn an 89 from the judges to end on an overall 181 and take over the lead. Epperson and Tulio were the final combination on course, and were hopeful in replicating their high first round. Unable to do so, however, the duo landed from the last fence and were given an 87 for their handy effort, placing them just behind Crolick on a 180 final score.

Kelsey Epperson and Tulio, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Crolick and the 9-year-old Selle Francais gelding have been partnered together for just over one year after the horse was purchased by Cotton for his daughter to move up to the Children’s Hunter division with. Calisto quickly showed great talent in the hunter derbies, however, and Crolick is optimistic that he will one day be a top International Derby horse. Awarded to the horse who wins either the $10,000 Traverse City Derby or the USHJA International Hunter Derby, Calisto was also named the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week for his efforts.

Callie Schott and Drumroll, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Second place honors in the $10,000 Traverse City Derby were ultimately awarded to Epperson and LTJ & Company LLC’s Tulio, a 7-year-old Zangersheide gelding, for their overall score of 180. Completing the podium was Schott and the 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Southern Arches LLC, Drumroll, who completed the two rounds on a score of 179.5.

Grace Stenbeck-Werner and Carebear, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In the Children’s Hunter Pony Classic, it was Grace Stenbeck-Werner and Carebear who took home the top honors. The 23-year-old Welsh Pony cross gelding is owned by Swede Ventures LLC.  

Grace Stenbeck-Werner and Carebear, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Established in 2018, the What A Girl Wants Trophy, presented by French Road Cellars & Matthies Family, is awarded to the pony that acquires the most points in the Children’s Hunter Pony divisions during Week IV of GLEF. Lucerno, owned and ridden by Elizabeth Walters, was the successful recipient of the 2021 What A Girl Wants Trophy after claiming the most points throughout the Large Children’s Pony division.

Elizabeth Walters and Lucerno, photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Sunday marks the completion of Week IV of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF), presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Competition will return to the Flintfields Horse Tuesday, August 3 for another installment of Equitation Tuesday, an opportunity for junior equitation athletes to earn double the points towards year-end finals in their respective medal classes. Week V of GLEF will feature the highly-anticipated Markel/USHJA Zone Championships in addition to a packed schedule of exciting hunter and jumper classes.


Greg Crolick – $10,000 Traverse City Derby winner

On Calisto:
“He is a nine year old Warmblood. We got him about 14 or 15 months ago, he is owned by Jon Cotton. He was bought for his daughter to move up into the 3’ divisions. He has really kind of come into his own in the derbies, he has won a few national derbies this year and we look forward to next to year to move up to the bigger derbies.”

On the handy:
“I was second coming into the second round. I knew I could challenge him to do an inside turn after jump two, but it was a little bit sketchy. It did work out for me, it was probably a little tighter than I wanted it to be. [Calisto] really performed quite well. I think for that horse he is just so easy to turn back. He can turn and tight and jumps so well. The more I challenge him to the jumps the better he gets. I think that turn worked in my benefit today but I also think there probably could have been a different area where he could have shined a little more. I was super happy with the horse. He was wonderful to go back in the ring and have him win!”

On future plans for Calisto:
“We are heading to down to Kentucky in two weeks and we will be there for the [USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship] and then back up here in September. I am looking forward to coming back here and doing the big derby they have here in September.”

On Traverse City Horse Shows:
“Two weeks in a row of great results and last night was a wonderful result in the [$25,000 Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby]. We come here every year and we love it up here. The weather is wonderful. It’s quite a busy show, which is wonderful because you see it growing, and growing in the right way. The management is wonderful, the footing is great so it’s always a pleasure to be here.”


$10,000 Traverse City Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total 
1. Calisto / Greg Crolick / Jon Cotton / 92 / 89 / 181
2. Tulio / Kelsey Epperson / LTJ & Company LLC / 93 / 87 / 180
3. Drumroll / Callie Schott / Southern Arches LLC / 87.5 / 92 / 179.5
4. Rolo / Augusta Iwasaki / Ariya Nathu / 89.5 / 89.5 / 179
5. Crossbow / Rylynn Conway / Rylynn Conway / 86.5 / 89 / 175.5
6. Caruso / Grace McReynolds / Grace McReynolds / 88 / 78 / 166
7. Alajolie / Augusta Iwasaki / Farber Farms LLC / 90 / 74 / 164
8. Baton Rouge / Ava Peck / Darby Wallis / 80 / 82 / 162
9. Five Star / Jordan Gibbs / Dana Vollbracht / 88.5 / 71 / 159.5
10. Baron Z / Tiffany Morrissey / Heidi Chase / 89 / 69 / 158
11. Cocolores / Gigi Moynihan / Christy Johnson / 86 / 69 / 155
12. Nobel Laureate / Erika Jakobson / Barn Rat LLC / 82 / 49 / 131