Sagacious, “Struggling” to be Best, Withdrawn from USA Olympic Trials
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GLADSTONE, New Jersey, June 14–Sagacious HF was withdrawn from the U.S. Olympic selection trials Thursday when rider Lauren Sammis said the Pan American Games team gold and individual silver medal winner was “struggling” to perform at his best.
Lauren, trainer and rider of the horse for the entire competition career of the 13-yar-old KWPN gelding (Welt Hit II x Judith x Cocktail), told dressage-news.com: “I don’t feel he’s capable right now of doing what is required at this stage. He is struggling to do the work.”
Sagacious was withdrawn after he passed the veterinary inspecton Thursday afternoon, ahead of the Grand Prix on Friday. The pair rode in the competition arena after the jog and shortly after Lauren informed the organizers she was withdrawing Sagacious.
She said she appreciated the support over the years of Al Guden, whose Hyperion Farm owns Sagacious, but she declined to provide details of the cause of the problem or speculate on whether the horse would be retired.
Lauren is a highly respected trainer and rider who is based in South Orange, New Jersey, near the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters where the selection trials are being held over two weekends.
“I want people to remember Sagacious at his best, which he was last Sunday in the Grand Prix Special,” she said of the first weekend of the trials when the pair scored what other competitors and spectators described as “the best 66 per cent” they have seen.
Lauren has struggled with the health of Sagacious in recent years, seeking to make the horse comfortable and competed infrequently.
Lauren and Sagacious won the hearts of dressage fans at the 2007 Pan American Games when she tearfully dedicated the team gold and individivual silver medals to owner Judy Guden who died just a few months afterward following a five-year battle with breast cancer.
In the pair’s first year at Grand Prix in 2009, Lauren and Sagacious competed at five CDIs with a string of first place finishes.
In 2010, they showed only three times and last year that was cut back to two shows.