Laura Graves & Verdades Post Personal Best Grand Prix Score to Lead USA to Top of Nations Cup at Mid Stage – Video
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Mar. 30, 2016–Laura Graves and Verdades posted a personal best Grand Prix score Wednesday to lead the United States to the top of the Nations standings halfway through the CDIO3* event at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
The score of 76.860 per cent for the World and Pan American Games combination that beat their previous best of 76.680 was the top award for the six teams from around the world in the first of a series of seven Nations Cups, the other six in Europe. Video of the ride by Laura on Verdades http://gdf.coth.com/article/watch-laura-graves-and-verdades-take-lead-on-first-day-of-the-stillpoint-farm-fei-nations-cup-cdio-3
The United States team of Laura and Verdades, Kasey Perry Glass and Dublet and Shelly Francis and Doktor had a commanding lead with 221.6 points over Canada on 208.1 in second–both all Big Tour teams. The competition was scheduled for the international arena but the threat of severe tropical thunderstorms led to it being moved into the Van Kampen covered arena.
Spain’s all-Small Tour squad slotted into third on 203.763 with Juan Matute, Jr. on Dhannie Ymas leading the team with a score of 71.868 per cent in the Prix St. Georges. Denmark was fourth, Costa Rica fifth and Australia sixth.
Each one of the Big Tour horses get a bonus of 1.5 per cent to their scores in both the Grand Prix and the Special.
The Grand Prix Special and the Intermediate 1 will be staged Thursday to decide the Nations Cup that is unique in the series as it is a mix of Big and Small Tour teams while all other events in the series are at Grand Prix level.
For Laura the personal best score despite a costly mistake in the walk was “disappointing” because she was riding for the team but if she had been riding only for herself she would have laughed it off.
She joked that an in earlier competition at Global this season where Verdades was tense and she had scored lower than expected it had been like riding “four different horses, like a circus rider with a leg on four different horses.”
But in the Grand Prix, she proved to herself her training was on the right track and sticking together with the growing number of riders at the top of U.S. dressage whose performances and camaraderie she lauded.
The Nations Cup and a companion CDI3* that gets underway Thursday close out the Global circuit of 12 weeks. Three CDIs in California, one in Tryon, North Carolina and another in the Houston, Texas area remain before a squad of about eight combinations is selected to go to Europe.
There, they will compete against each other for the four slots plus a reserve for the the American team for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Verdades, a 14-year-old KWPN gelding that Laura has developed from a foal to 15th in the world rankings, is atop the U.S. Olympic standings with Steffen Peters on Rosamunde second and on Legolas in third with Kasey and Dublet cementing their fourth ranking with the 73.000 per cent they received Wednesday.
Denmark’s Mikala Gundersen on My Lady with 72.240 per cent broke up an American sweep of the top three individual places in the Grand Prix.
Shelly Francis on Doktor placed fourth individually on 71.740 per cent in the Nations Cup that should earn the pair a ticket to Europe.
Belinda Trussell on Anton, the top ranked pair seeking to fill one of the two starting places for Canada at Rio, placed fifth individually on 70.920 per cent as the top finisher for the team.
Allison Brock on Rosevelt whose recent performances have moved them up to fifth in the U.S. standings are scheduled to start in the CDI3* Thursday.