Laura Graves & Verdades Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 13, 2015–Laura Graves rode her World Games mount Verdades to their second highest Grand Prix Freestyle score at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday night and assured the pair a trip to Las Vegas for the World Cup Final next month.
Laura and Verdades, accompanied by chanting cheers from spectators for their spectcular piaffe tours, were awarded 79.600 per cent with two judges scoring the pair above 80 per cent at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The score was second only to Steffen Peters and Legolas as the highest Freestyle result in America this year.
The video of the winning ride can be seen here.
This was the last World Cup qualifier on the East Coast of the United States. The last World Cup event anywhere will be held in San Juan Capistrano, California next week. Laura and Verdades have completed the required two events that put them at the top of the North American standings, though a single score for Steffen and Legolas was above 80 per cent and he needs a second result to go to Las Vegas to defend the title he won there on Ravel in 2009.
Lisa Wilcox of Wellington on Pikko del Cerro HU was second on 76.075 per cent, continuing their climb up U.S. standings after the stallion was out of competition for a year. Lars Petersen, the Florida-based Danish Olympian, and Mariett were third on 74.550 per cent.
Verdades’s best result in the Freestyle was 82.036 per cent at the World Games in Normandy last August where they placed fifth in the world.
Laura has tweaked the Freestyle created by Marlene Whitaker of Raleigh, North Carolina to make it more difficult and will continue to work on the passage half passes that she began at the World Games and hope to have them “exciting to watch” at the World Cup in mid-April.
Of the ride under the lights before a packed stadium, “I’m just so thankful to see the big changes we knew last week we had to make. He rode so much, much better. I, unfortunately was not so on. He could not have been better.”
Verdades, she said, is a hot horse who can “get lit like nobody’s business” but he accepted the crowd response.
“He hears it and he keeps doing his job,” she said. “I know how lucky I am to have that; it is kind of fun.”
She will compete Verdades on one of the two American teams in the Nations Cup in Wellington at the end of month before going to Las Vegas.
Laura of Geneva, Florida, began competing the 13-year-old KWPN stallion at Grand Prix in February last year and squeaked into the U.S. championships when other combinations dropped out. The combination was reserve to Steffen Peters and Legolas. The result earned her a trip to Europe and won a place on America’s team at Normandy where she placed fifth in the Freestyle.
Lisa Wilcox joked about her experience with Pikko del Cerro making her the “roller coaster girl.”
She hopes to get a wild card invitation to the World Cup Final but, meantime, will keep working to make “everything more crisp and powerful.”
Lars said that Mariett, on whom he has won close to $60,000 during the Global Dressage Festival’s CDIs was tired and “she’s happy to be getting a little vacation. It’s been a long season for her. She fought through it tonight, but she’s tired.”
|CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle|
|E: Eisenhardt – GER||H: Wuest – GER||C: Rockwell – USA||M: Torrente – COL||B: Lang – AUT|
|Wilcox, Lisa||USA||Pikko del Cerro HU||76.250||76.250||76.750||77.625||73.500||76.075||2|
|Holzer, Ashley||CAN||Dressed In Black||72.500||75.750||72.000||74.375||73.625||73.650||4|
|Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne||SWE||Benetton Dream||72.375||74.250||70.125||73.000||73.875||72.725||5|
|Pavicic, Karen||CAN||Don Daiquiri||72.000||75.125||71.750||71.875||72.250||72.600||6|
|Matute Jr, Juan||ESP||Don Diego Ymas||70.875||74.125||69.750||70.625||71.875||71.450||8|
|Layne, Kelly||AUS||Udon P||71.750||70.125||70.000||72.375||71.375||71.125||0|
|Brooks, Jacqueline M.||CAN||D Niro||68.875||71.500||71.250||70.125||70.875||70.525||0|
|Marek, Anna||USA||Unico G||68.625||68.125||70.250||69.125||72.625||69.750||0|
|Creech, Diane||CAN||Devon L||60.000||60.250||63.125||64.625||65.250||62.650||0|
|Perry, Kasey||USA||Trostruplunds Scarlet||0.000||0.000||0.000||0.000||0.000||0.000||0|