Steffen Peters Wins US Championship Grand Prix Special, Laura Graves & Verdades 2nd
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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,
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.
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.”
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
GRAND PRIX SPECIAL
|E: Foy – 4* USA||H: Lamping – 4* USA||C: Gribbons – 5* USA||M: Holler – 5* GER||B: Rockwell – 5* USA|
|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|