Verdades to be Retired at Las Vegas World Cup Final, Organizers Say Event Planning Going On But Coronavirus Makes Situation “Fluid”

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Laura Graves on Verdades at the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in 2015 who went on to earn Olympic team bronze, World Equestrian Games silvers and three times World Cup reserve champion. © Ken Braddick/

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Mar. 9, 2020–Verdades ridden by Laura Graves to Olympic and world championship medals and the only American partnership to become No. 1 on the globe will be officially retired at the World Cup Final next month. Organizers report planning is going on but coronavirus has made the situation “fluid.”

The retirement of Verdades, or “Diddy,” as the Dutch gelding that Laura has partnered since a foal and is now 18 years old, will be held Saturday April 18 in a break during the Grand Pix Freestyle to decide the 2020 championship. Verdades will headline the Devoucoux Dressage Showcase Friday afternoon.

“Diddy has so many fans and I wanted to give as many of them as possible a chance to see him before his retirement,” said Laura of Geneva, Florida. “He has performed on the world’s biggest stages and there really is no bigger stage than the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas so this is really the perfect place for his formal retirement.

“Diddy not only achieved every goal we ever set, but he fulfilled dreams that I never even knew I had. We have traveled the world together and competed at the world’s greatest competitions. I am humbled by the outpouring of love from his many fans and I invite everyone to join us in Las Vegas for this wonderful celebration of his career.”

A drawing will be held to select 16 individuals among those in attendance at the Devoucoux Dressage Showcase to meet the legendary horse later that day. In addition, Laura will appear in the Taylor Harris Club to meet guests in the World Cup’s VIP club.

The last competition for the USA combination of Laura Graves on Verdades was at the 2019 World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. The pair was reserve champion to Isabell Werth and Weihegold OLD, as they were in 2017 and 2018. © Ken Braddick/

The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) that covers Las Vegas last week confirmed its first “presumptive positive” case of coronavirus or COVID-19. The patient, a Nevada resident is quarantined at a local hospital.

SNHD reported that residents and visitors to Clark County in which Las Vegas is located remain at “low risk” of contracting the virus.

As to the World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping, the organizers reported:

“While this is a fluid situation, Las Vegas is currently planning to host the 2020 FEI World Cup™ Finals. We will closely monitor updated recommendations from the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state and local health authorities as it relates to hosting large events and add appropriate safeguards in coordination with our venue partner and local health response teams to address COVID-19 concerns.”

The Thomas & Mack Arena where the World Cups are staged is a sports and entertainment facility that is part of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. It seats up to about 19,000 spectators. Dressage World Cups in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2015 were sellouts.