Laura Graves & Verdades Win Wellington World Cup Freestyle

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

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 13, 2015–Laura Graves rode her World Games mount Verdades to their second highest Grand Prix Freestyle score at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival Friday night and assured the pair a trip to Las Vegas for the World Cup Final next month.

Laura and Verdades, accompanied by chanting cheers from spectators for their spectcular piaffe tours, were awarded 79.600 per cent with two judges scoring the pair above 80 per cent at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The score was second only to Steffen Peters and Legolas as the highest Freestyle result in America this year.

The video of the winning ride can be seen here.

This was the last World Cup qualifier on the East Coast of the United States. The last World Cup event anywhere will be held in San Juan Capistrano, California next week. Laura and Verdades have completed the required two events that put them at the top of the North American standings, though a single score for Steffen and Legolas was above 80 per cent and he needs a second result to go to Las Vegas to defend the title he won there on Ravel in 2009.

Lisa Wilcox of Wellington on Pikko del Cerro HU was second on 76.075 per cent, continuing their climb up U.S. standings after the stallion was out of competition for a year. Lars Petersen, the Florida-based Danish Olympian, and Mariett were third on 74.550 per cent.

Lars Petersen on Mariett. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Lars Petersen on Mariett. © 2015 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Verdades’s best result in the Freestyle was 82.036 per cent at the World Games in Normandy last August where they placed fifth in the world.

Laura has tweaked the Freestyle created by Marlene Whitaker of Raleigh, North Carolina to make it more difficult and will continue to work on the passage half passes that she began at the World Games and hope to have them “exciting to watch” at the World Cup in mid-April.

Of the ride under the lights before a packed stadium, “I’m just so thankful to see the big changes we knew last week we had to make. He rode so much, much better. I, unfortunately was not so on. He could not have been better.”

Verdades, she said, is a hot horse who can “get lit like nobody’s business” but he accepted the crowd response.

“He hears it and he keeps doing his job,” she said. “I know how lucky I am to have that; it is kind of fun.”

She will compete Verdades on one of the two American teams in the Nations Cup in Wellington at the end of month before going to Las Vegas.

Laura of Geneva, Florida, began competing the 13-year-old KWPN stallion at Grand Prix in February last year and squeaked into the U.S. championships when other combinations dropped out. The combination was reserve to Steffen Peters and Legolas. The result earned her a trip to Europe and won a place on America’s team at Normandy where she placed fifth in the Freestyle.

Laura Graves on Verdades enjoying their victory in the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2015 Ken Braddic/dressage-news.com
Laura Graves on Verdades enjoying their victory in the World Cup Grand Prix Freestyle. © 2015 Ken Braddic/dressage-news.com

Lisa Wilcox joked about her experience with Pikko del Cerro making her the “roller coaster girl.”

She hopes to get a wild card invitation to the World Cup Final but, meantime, will keep working to make “everything more crisp and powerful.”

Lars said that Mariett, on whom he has won close to $60,000 during the Global Dressage Festival’s CDIs was tired and “she’s happy to be getting a little vacation. It’s been a long season for her. She fought through it tonight, but she’s tired.”

Results:

CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle
E: Eisenhardt – GER H: Wuest – GER C: Rockwell – USA M: Torrente – COL B: Lang – AUT
Rider Ctzn Horse E H C M B T Pl.
Graves, Laura USA Verdades 78.875 80.250 79.250 80.000 79.625 79.600 1
Wilcox, Lisa USA Pikko del Cerro HU 76.250 76.250 76.750 77.625 73.500 76.075 2
Petersen, Lars DEN Mariett 73.500 74.625 76.750 74.125 73.750 74.550 3
Holzer, Ashley CAN Dressed In Black 72.500 75.750 72.000 74.375 73.625 73.650 4
Vilhelmson-Silfven, Tinne SWE Benetton Dream 72.375 74.250 70.125 73.000 73.875 72.725 5
Pavicic, Karen CAN Don Daiquiri 72.000 75.125 71.750 71.875 72.250 72.600 6
Page, Arlene USA Alina 70.250 71.625 73.125 72.250 71.875 71.825 7
Matute Jr, Juan ESP Don Diego Ymas 70.875 74.125 69.750 70.625 71.875 71.450 8
Layne, Kelly AUS Udon P 71.750 70.125 70.000 72.375 71.375 71.125 0
Sammis, Lauren USA Whitman 69.875 69.250 71.750 72.125 71.250 70.850 0
Brooks, Jacqueline M. CAN D Niro 68.875 71.500 71.250 70.125 70.875 70.525 0
Francis, Shelly USA Danilo 69.875 69.125 72.250 70.875 68.625 70.150 0
Marek, Anna USA Unico G 68.625 68.125 70.250 69.125 72.625 69.750 0
Creech, Diane CAN Devon L 60.000 60.250 63.125 64.625 65.250 62.650 0
Perry, Kasey USA Trostruplunds Scarlet 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0