Steffen Peters Wins US Championship Grand Prix Special, Laura Graves & Verdades 2nd

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Laura Graves riding Verdades to reserve in the US Championship Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves riding Verdades to reserve in the US Championship Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

GLADSTONE, New Jersey, June 14, 2014–Steffen Peters on Legolas won the United States Championships Grand Prix Special Saturday to build an almost unassailable lead for a second straight national title but the 26-year-old Laura Graves captured the reserve placing on her Verdades assuring them a ticket to Europe.

With Steffen and the 12-year-old Westfalen gelding scoring 75.105 per cent in the Grand Prix Special Saturday added to the Grand Prix the pair won Thursday that together count for 85 per cent of the total, the pair would be hard to dislodge from the top of the leaderboard.

However, the ride by Laura, a virtual unknown before this championship, and the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding that her mother bought as a weanling earned the pair 74.549 per cent for second place and third overall brought the loudest cheer of the day.

Jan Ebeling and the 17-year-young Rafalca that was a celebrity mare at the 2012 Olympics scored 74.294 placed for third place and enough to hold their second place in the standings.

Adrienne Lyle, 29 years old, and Wizard on 73.412 per cent, Caroline Roffman at 25 the youngest rider in the Grand Prix on Her Highness O at 72.627 per cent and Tina Konyot and Calecto V on 72.314 per cent placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively,

Steffen Peters and Ravel completing the US Championship Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters and Ravel completing the US Championship Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The Freestyle Sunday counts for 15 per cent of the total and results are not likely to threaten the standings of the top six.

Shelly Francis on Doktor, Lisa Wilcox Denzello and Kathleen Raine on Breanna are separated by only 0.186 per cent and the results of the Freestyle will determine who will make it on to the squad to compete over the next month at Fritzens, Austria and Aachen, Germany to select the final WEG team of four horses and riders.

Steffen of San Diego, California said the ride on Legolas was “not a bad test, but not what I wanted to take from here to Europe. We will work on polishing it up before Aachen.

“I wish I could have ridden a clean test; the highlights made up for the mistakes.”

He said the pair started the season really strong but since then have not had a clean Grand Prix or Grand Prix Special–they have “not been as good as last year”–though the Freestyles have been “awesome.”

He said Legolas feels more powerful, very energetic, more muscled and wants to go.  While fitness is “a good thing” it has to be managed.

Legolas was put through a scary moment immediately after the ride when he was summoned back to the judge at C for his mouth to be checked. Gary Rockwell, one of the judges, thought he saw what could be blood on Legolas’s mouth that, if confirmed would have meant automatic elimination. Steffen said later he feeds Legolas an apple before the ride and that a piece of red eel could have been spotted on his mouth.

The president of the ground jury and the technical delegate inspected Legolas’s mouth but found nothing untoward.

Judge and technical delegate examining bit on Legolas with Steffen Peters in the sddle looking on. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-new.com
Judge and technical delegate examining bit on Legolas with Steffen Peters in the sddle looking on. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-new.com

Laura Graves of Geneva, Florida said that she had ridden Verdades only twice before in the Grand Prix Special but did not watch any other rides because she did not want to get distracted by numbers awarded other riders.

“My horses was really, really there for me,” she said. “I’m much more comfortable in these tests, that’s why the score was such a surprise because it doesn’t seem like so much work.

“The horse just gets better and better. All this has always been my dream.”

Jan Ebeling and Rafalca. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Jan Ebeling and Rafalca. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Steffen also filled first and second places in the Intermediare I, first place with Rosamunder on 75.105 per cent and second with Apassionata on 73.211 per cent. Olivia Lagoy-Weltz on Rassings Lonoir were third on 71.526 per cent

Steffem Peters and Rosamunde on their way to winning the US Championship Intermediate 1. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffem Peters and Rosamunde on their way to winning the US Championship Intermediate 1. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

GRAND PRIX SPECIAL

E: Foy – 4* USA H: Lamping – 4* USA C: Gribbons – 5* USA M: Holler – 5* GER B: Rockwell – 5* USA
Ride Time Rider Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
1:14:00 PM Peters, Steffen Legolas 92 74.804 2 74.216 3 75.882 1 77.157 1 76.176 1 75.647 1
12:56:00 PM Graves, Laura Verdades 74.706 3 74.510 2 74.706 2 73.431 4 75.392 2 74.549 2
1:23:00 PM Ebeling, Jan Rafalca 73.431 5 75.098 1 73.627 4 75.000 2 74.314 3 74.294 3
1:05:00 PM Lyle, Adrienne Wizard 75.490 1 72.549 4 74.216 3 73.725 3 71.078 7 73.412 4
12:38:00 PM Roffman, Caroline V Her Highness O 73.235 6 72.549 4 71.569 7 72.157 6 73.627 4 72.627 5
12:47:00 PM Konyot, Tina M Calecto V 73.529 4 70.588 7 72.745 5 71.275 8 73.431 5 72.314 6
12:20:00 PM Francis, Shelly Doktor 70.392 9 71.275 6 72.647 6 71.765 7 70.588 8 71.333 7
11:20:00 AM Raine, Kathleen Breanna 71.569 8 69.510 10 70.098 10 72.451 5 71.373 6 71.000 8
11:29:00 AM Wilcox, Lisa Denzello 72.549 7 70.000 8 70.686 8 69.314 11 69.608 10 70.431 9
11:02:00 AM Bateson Chandler, Katherine Wellnetta 68.137 10 69.804 9 70.196 9 70.686 9 70.196 9 69.804 10
10:53:00 AM Parra, Cesar Van The Man 67.353 13 67.157 12 68.824 11 70.490 10 68.627 12 68.490 11
11:38:00 AM Page, Arlene Alina 67.549 11 65.000 15 66.765 13 67.941 13 68.725 11 67.196 12
12:29:00 PM Barisone, Michael L HF Victor 67.451 12 67.549 11 64.804 15 68.039 12 67.549 14 67.078 13
11:11:00 AM McCusker, Sharon Wrigley 65.000 15 65.784 13 67.941 12 66.373 15 68.137 13 66.647 14
10:35:00 AM Barisone, Michael L Ellegria 65.196 14 65.098 14 65.000 14 67.745 14 67.451 15 66.098 15
10:44:00 AM Jorst, Charlotte Nintendo 64.118 16 64.118 16 62.941 16 66.078 16 64.804 16 64.412 16

INTERMEDIATE 1

E: Foy – 4* USA H: Rockwell – 5* USA C: Gribbons – 5* USA M: Bredahl- Baker – 4* USA B: Lamping – 4* USA
Rider Horse E Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Peters, Steffen Rosamunde 78.816 1 74.868 2 75.921 1 73.421 1 72.500 1 75.105 1
Peters, Steffen Apassionata 76.053 2 75.000 1 72.895 2 72.763 2 69.342 5 73.211 2
Lagoy-Weltz, Olivia Rassing’s Lonoir 72.500 3 73.158 3 69.211 7 71.711 3 71.053 2 71.526 3
Mason, Heather Zar 69.737 7 71.579 4 68.947 8 70.658 4 69.868 3 70.158 4
White-O’Connor, Dawn Aristo 71.316 4 69.605 8 70.789 5 70.263 6 67.632 11 69.921 5
Herslow, Kimberly Rosmarin 68.289 10 70.395 7 72.368 3 70.526 5 68.026 9 69.921 5
Ball, Elizabeth Avanti 70.526 5 70.921 5 70.526 6 68.289 10 69.079 6 69.868 7
Perry, Kasey Goerklintgaards Dublet 69.342 8 70.658 6 70.921 4 69.737 7 68.289 7 69.789 8
Hickey, Christopher Ronaldo 69.868 6 66.711 15 68.421 10 67.632 13 68.158 8 68.158 9
Szepesi, Alix Majco Thunders Hattrick 68.553 9 69.342 9 67.632 12 66.447 16 67.632 11 67.921 10
Wagman, Nick Zenith 67.237 12 68.289 10 68.158 11 67.895 12 65.789 14 67.474 11
Jackson, Angela Allure S 67.500 11 67.105 12 66.974 13 67.500 14 68.026 9 67.421 12
Spofford, Sara Lagrima 67.105 13 66.974 13 66.974 13 68.158 11 66.316 13 67.105 13
Ahl-Eckhaus, Jackie Wisdom MVS 66.842 14 67.237 11 62.368 17 68.421 9 69.737 4 66.921 14
Jackson, Melissa Whirlpool 64.605 17 66.316 16 68.947 8 68.684 8 65.263 17 66.763 15
Jorst, Charlotte Vitalis 65.658 15 66.974 13 64.079 15 66.842 15 65.789 14 65.868 16
Hardin, Justin Wyatt Star 64.868 16 65.000 17 63.289 16 65.132 17 65.789 14 64.816 17