Laura Graves & Verdades Post Highest World Cup Score in North America in Winning Global Freestyle

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Laura Graves riding Verdades to victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves riding Verdades to victory in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 27, 2017–Laura Graves rode Verdades in their first freestyle since placing fourth at last summer’s Olympics to post the highest musical performance score in North America so far in winning the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Friday night under lights.

Laura and the 15-year-old KWPN gelding scored 80.728 per cent in the start of her campaign to compete at the World Cup Final in Omaha Mar. 27-April 2 that, if successful, would be the second time in the only annual global championship.

“It certainly feels good to start out at 80 per cent,” said Laura of Geneva, Florida who has now posted three of the six 80 per cent scores logged in the six years of Global and its annual winter lineup of seven CDIs. “That’s been our goal.”

“This horse has a heart of gold, and he loves to come out here,” she said of Verdades that won the Grand Prix Thursday in the first competition since the Olympics last August. “There is nothing that I can really take credit for. I’d like to say that he was born this way and maybe I’ve nurtured it or not taken it out of him, but he’s just a magical character.”

Their score was the highest so far in the 2016-17 North American League which gets two places among the 18 final starting spots but with optimism that a third start will be available to give a boost to the first-time World Cup venue in America’s heartland.

The second best result was 78.425 per cent for Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Rosamunde at the inaugural Las Vegas World Cup qualifier the first week of January. Under the rules for North America–one of four leagues in the world–the average of the best two scores count toward qualifying.

Laura and Verdades as well her Rio Olympic bronze medal team mate Steffen on Rosamunde will compete at Global’s CDI5* Feb. 8-12 and the World Cup event Feb. 22-26.

Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén of Sweden on Paridon Magi, placing second in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cu Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén of Sweden on Paridon Magi, placing second in the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cu Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Sweden’s Tinne Vilhelmsson-Silfvén on Paridon Magi placed second 77.517 per cent to earn 17 points and boost her Western European League total to 34 points and ninth place on the standings. But that is unlikely to be enough to qualify for a start in Omaha with three more events scheduled for Europe while she is competing for her seventh winter in Florida.

Arlene “Tuny” Page, a Wellington hometown fan favorite, rode Woodstock into third place.

Tuny rode a new freestyle for the first time on Woodstock, retiring a musical score she had ridden to for 14 years including her 2006 World Cup Final performance on Wild One in Amsterdam.

Midway through the night time competition a mild chill (by Florida standards) moved in that dropped the temperature by several degrees to about 60F/15C but it was not enough to keep down attendance that was the highest ever at about 750 for the VIP pavilion.

Arlene "Tuny" Page on Woodstock in the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Arlene “Tuny” Page on Woodstock in the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
E: Ringmark – SWE H: Nivelle – GER C: Tubman – CAN M: Halsall – GBR B: Wysocki – USA
RIDER NAT HORSE E Rk H Rk C Rk M Rk B Rk Total Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 81.860 1 78.140 1 79.055 1 80.740 1 83.845 1 80.728 1
Vilhelmson Silfven, Tinne SWE Paridon Magi 77.530 2 77.165 2 76.985 2 78.530 2 77.375 2 77.517 2
Page, Arlene USA Woodstock 75.050 3 74.295 3 74.350 4 72.250 7 74.155 3 74.020 3
Fraser Beaulieu, Brittany CAN All In 74.490 4 72.950 5 74.200 5 74.575 3 71.935 5 73.630 4
Matute Guimon, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 73.915 5 73.475 4 75.720 3 74.225 4 70.700 9 73.607 5
Ebeling, Jan USA FRH Rassolini 72.610 8 70.730 8 71.720 7 72.625 5 72.470 4 72.031 6
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastels Akeem Foldager 73.740 6 72.200 6 69.645 9 71.520 8 71.280 7 71.677 7
Brooks, Jacqueline CAN D Niro 68.935 12 71.180 7 72.910 6 72.425 6 68.060 11 70.702 8
Pape, Suzan GBR Harmonys Fiorano 69.920 10 69.630 9 69.300 10 69.820 11 71.575 6 70.049 9
Irving, Jill CAN Degas 12 73.145 7 69.120 11 69.850 8 70.600 9 65.025 13 69.548 10
Manfredi, Maria Florencia ARG Bandurria Kacero 71.450 9 67.285 12 65.175 14 69.900 10 71.275 8 69.017 11
Sprieser, Lauren USA Ellegria 67.230 13 67.250 13 65.590 13 68.255 12 69.220 10 67.509 12
Tzinberg, Ellesse PHI Triviant 2 69.340 11 69.515 10 65.925 12 67.830 13 62.895 14 67.101 13
MacDonald Cuddy, Jacqueline GBR Malcarat 65.570 14 66.495 14 66.170 11 66.895 14 67.345 12 66.495 14
Pot, Adrienne USA Something Special 58.495 15 58.995 15 60.795 15 63.345 15 55.270 15 59.380 15