Laura Graves & Verdades Post Personal Best to Win Wellington World Cup Grand Prix

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Laura Graves on Verdades riding at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival to a personal best score. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves on Verdades riding at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival to a personal best score. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar.12, 2015–In only their second show since a break of six months after success as the top Americas at the  World Games last summer, Laura Grves and Verdades won the Adequan Global Dressage Festival World Cup Grand Prix Thursday with a personal best score of 76.680 per cent.

A Grand Prix that began hot and humid in early afternoon, was halted briefly by a sudden driving rainstorm and ended more than six hours and 36 rides later under lights in a balmy Florida night, was the last of four World Cup events at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in a calendar of seven CDIs with more than $650,000 in prize money.

The ride that silenced the partygoing crowd punctuated only by gasps of appreciation and Laura described as “still leaving five or 10 percentage points in the warmup,” surpassed their previous high Grand Prix result of 74.871 per cent posted at the world championships in Normandy last August.

Lars Petersen, the Florida-based Olympic, World Games and World Cup star for Denmark who has dominated Florida’s World Cup circuit for the past two years with the mare Mariett now 17 years old was second on 72.500 per cent. Sweden’s six-time Olympian Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Benetton Dream was third on 70.760 per cent.

The Freestyle will be Friday night under lights and will be the second last World Cup qualifier for the two places reserved for North Americans at the Final in Las Vegas a month from now. The last event will be in San Juan Capistrano, California next week where Steffen Peters on Legolas is the frontrunner and could qualify with Laura and Verdades to compete for the annual world championship title that Steffen won on Ravel the last time it was in Las Vegas in 2009.

Laura Graves and Verdades in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves and Verdades in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

The performance by the 13-year-old KWPN gelding was described by Laura, aged 27 and based in Geneva, Florida, three hours north of Wellington as “much better for us than it was last week” when the pair returned to the show ring for the first time since the World Games and “felt like rookies all over again.”

“Tonight,” Laura said, “I feel like I’m heading in the direction I thought we were.”

The pair have been named to one of the two United States teams for the Nations Cup at the end of March and, Laura said, “hopefully the Grand Prix will feel even tighter.”

After last week’s competition, Laura said she went back to her Orlando area base, put Verdades in a snaffle bridle and focused on what she thought was the best they could do.

“Sometimes you forget to ride the way you should when you’re taking too much advice,” she said.

Lars Petersen pointed out that Mariett has performed in a lot of shows during the Globa circuit and will get a vacation after Friday night’s Freestyle.

Lars and Mariett, owned by Marcia Pepper, may, however, receive an invitation to the World Cup under changes in the rules that came into effect this year to give combinations based outside their home leagues a chance to compete in the Final. Lars is from Denmark which is within the Western European League.

Lars Petersen on Mariett in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 215 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen on Mariett in the World Cup Grand Prix. © 215 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Tinne, who pioneered a presence by top Europeans in Florida, said she was “extremely happy” with the fourth international Grand Prix by Benetton Dream. “I couldn’t ask for anything more,” she said, “he fights for me.”

Tinne, who returns to Sweden next week to prepare for the European Championships, also experienced the longest Grand Prix of her ife.

She rode her second horse, Divertimento, into the arena for the start of her competition but a sudden driving rain storm forced the judges and their scribes that were open to the weather to call a short halt.

Tinne and Divertimento rode around the arena before the officials could re-start the class.

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix
E: Lang – AUT H: Eisenhardt – GER C: Wuest – GER M: Rockwell – USA B: Torrente – COL
Rider Nation Horse Rk. H Rk. C Rk. M Rk. B Rk. T Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 1 74.800 1 78.100 1 77.000 1 78.500 1 76.680 1
Petersen, Lars DEN Mariett 2 72.500 2 71.700 6 72.600 2 72.700 2 72.500 2
Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne SWE Benetton Dream 3 72.100 3 72.000 5 69.400 8 68.200 11 70.760 3
Holzer, Ashley CAN Dressed In Black 4 68.600 6 70.700 9 70.500 5 72.100 3 70.640 4
Koschel, Christoph GER Tiesto 6 70.500 4 71.000 7 70.100 6 69.000 6 70.080 5
Parra, Cesar USA Van the Man 9 67.100 14 72.500 4 70.800 4 69.900 5 69.840 6
Bateson Chandler, Kathrine USA Alcazar 18 70.100 5 73.100 2 68.400 12 67.900 13 69.300 7
Pavicic, Karen CAN Don Daiquiri 5 67.200 12 69.900 11 67.500 18 70.200 4 68.960 8
Griffith, Lara GBR Rubin Al Asad 16 67.500 10 72.600 3 67.700 17 68.800 7 68.860 0
Layne, Kelly AUS Udon P 7 67.300 11 70.100 10 68.100 15 68.300 9 68.680 0
Creech, Diane CAN Devon L 12 68.100 7 68.300 13 69.500 7 67.000 17 68.280 0
Matute Jr, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 10 65.900 22 69.800 12 67.400 22 68.300 9 68.040 0
Brooks, Jacqueline M. CAN D Niro 8 66.600 18 67.700 16 67.500 18 68.800 7 67.920 0
Sammis, Lauren USA Whitman 11 66.100 19 68.300 13 69.000 10 67.100 16 67.840 0
Jorst, Charlotte USA Kastels Nintendo 13 68.000 8 68.100 15 68.000 16 66.700 18 67.820 0
Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne SWE Divertimento 15 66.800 17 67.400 17 71.300 3 65.100 22 67.720 0
Perry, Kasey USA Trostruplunds Scarlet 21 66.000 20 70.800 8 67.500 18 67.200 15 67.580 0
Page, Arlene USA Alina 23 68.000 8 66.200 19 69.400 8 68.000 12 67.540 0
Wilcox, Lisa USA Pikko del Cerro HU 17 67.100 14 66.300 18 68.900 11 64.600 25 66.880 0
Francis, Shelly USA Danilo 14 67.200 12 64.900 25 67.500 18 66.600 19 66.880 0
Marek, Anna USA Unico G 20 65.400 23 65.700 21 67.200 23 67.900 13 66.600 0
Poulin, Michael USA Thor M 22 66.900 16 63.900 27 68.200 14 65.700 20 66.200 0
Page, Arlene USA Woodstock 18 66.000 20 66.200 19 65.400 27 63.200 28 65.560 0
Kane, Devon USA Destiny 28 64.300 26 65.500 22 68.400 12 64.900 23 65.420 0
Cordia-van Reesema, Eliane USA Jewel’s Adelante 24 65.200 24 63.100 28 66.100 26 65.500 21 65.180 0
Priest, Kathy W. USA Wild Dancer 29 64.000 27 65.200 23 66.600 24 64.400 26 64.660 0
Pot, Adrienne USA Something Special C 30 64.700 25 63.000 30 66.600 24 64.900 23 64.380 0
Mc Cusker, Sharon USA Wrigley 25 62.500 29 62.200 31 63.900 28 63.400 27 63.380 0
Lopardo-Grana, Cesar ARG Tyara 27 60.100 32 64.100 26 63.800 29 61.900 30 62.900 0
Gugler, Sylvia USA Baudolino 26 63.400 28 60.200 33 61.400 33 61.500 32 62.260 0
Duncan, Alexandra CAN Vitall 33 59.900 33 65.100 24 63.300 30 61.800 31 62.260 0
Aragao, Pia BRA Zepelim Interagro 31 61.700 31 60.600 32 63.000 31 62.100 29 61.900 0
Vaughan, Joanne GEO Stuntmann AF Hvarre 32 62.100 30 63.100 28 60.500 34 59.400 34 61.400 0
Losos de Muniz, Yvonne DOM Foco Loco-W 34 58.200 35 57.900 34 62.200 32 61.300 33 59.980 0
Williams, Noel USA Sir Velo 35 58.400 34 53.900 35 59.600 35 57.900 35 57.820 0
Koschel, Christoph GER Rostropowitsch NRW 0 0.000 0 0.000 0 0.000 0 0.000 0 0.000 0