Laura Graves & Verdades Recover Top Form to Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 6, 2015–America’s Laura Graves and Verdades recovered the form that placed them fifth in the world championships to win the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle under lights Friday night.
The first ever Grand Prix level win by Laura and Verdades on a score of 78.875 per cent that was the second highest, surpassed only by the 82.036 per cent for the performance at the World Games in Normandy last August.
Video of the the Freestyle by Laura and Verdades can be seen here.
As they begin their second year at Grand Prix after a six-month break, a newly reinvigorated 27-year-old Laura who lives in Geneva, Florida less than three hours from Wellington made it clear she is determined to make it to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas in mid-April.
The win led a sweep of the top three places by American combinations–Lisa Wilcox of Wellington on Pikko del Cerro HU placed second on 76.325 per cent and Shelly Francis of neighboring Loxahatchee on Doktor was third on 75.950 per cent.
Lisa Wilcox was overjoyed with the result that showed the horse back in top form after a year out of competition with an injury.
The first place by Laura and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding before a full house at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Stadium complex also ended the winning streak of six straight victories that was the longest in the career of Florida-based Danish rider Lars Petersen and Mariett who finished in fourth place.
“Yesterday was a tough experience for me,” Laura said. “Last year nobody was watching and I rode like that. Yesterday, I rode cautiously like I was being watched.”
Lisa Wilcox, a seasoned international rider, talked to her after the ride and put back into her head to ride the way she had.
“Unfortunately, what I’ve been working on in the past couple of months has been out of the show ring and I now know I need to be back in show ring.”
In addition to the two competitions seeking to qualify for the World Cup Final, Laura said that if she is selected she will ride on America’s team at the Nations Cup at the end of March.
“I don’t think three rides before the World Cup if I make it is too much,” she laughed.
The result placed the pair second behind Steffen Peters of San Diego, California on Legolas to earn one of the two spots reserved for the North American League at the annual championship that this year will be in Las Vegas in mid-April.
|Grand Prix Freestyle|
|E: Leyman – BEL||H: Nivelle – GER||C: Zang – USA||M: Clarke – GBR||B: Schwennesen – AUS|
|Wilcox, Lisa||USA||Pikko del Cerro HU||78.500||2||75.625||2||75.375||2||75.750||4||76.375||3||76.325||2|
|Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne||SWE||Benetton Dream||74.375||5||72.625||8||73.250||6||75.625||5||72.125||10||73.600||5|
|Jorst, Charlotte||USA||Kastels Nintendo||70.750||10||73.500||6||75.125||3||72.875||9||72.250||8||72.900||6|
|Holzer, Ashley||CAN||Dressed In Black||69.375||12||73.375||7||70.375||8||75.375||6||73.250||5||72.350||7|
|Layne, Kelly||AUS||Udon P||70.250||11||74.125||5||70.375||8||73.625||8||72.375||6||72.150||9|
|Haddad-Staller, Catherine||USA||Mane Stream Hotmail||72.750||7||70.625||10||70.625||7||72.875||10||70.625||12||71.500||10|
|Matute Jr, Juan||ESP||Don Diego Ymas||72.625||8||70.500||11||69.125||12||71.125||13||70.000||13||70.675||11|
|Brooks, Jacqueline M.||CAN||D Niro||71.000||9||70.125||13||69.125||12||71.875||12||67.000||14||69.825||13|
|Creech, Diane||CAN||Devon L||64.750||14||66.375||15||65.000||14||65.875||14||72.375||6||66.875||14|