Laura Chapot dominates in WEF Leading Open Jumper Rider Circuit Championship, while Robert Matz won the Junior Sportsmanship Award
By SARA CAVANAGH
WELLINGTON, FLA.--Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., rode the Circuit Champions in two divisions at the 12 week long Winter Equestrian Festival and dominated the Championship in the Leading Open Jumper Rider category.
Laura Chapot on Out of Ireland (Photo by Sportfot)Chapot scored 1,299 point to win the Leading Rider award, while her nearest competitor had 622 points.
Chapot has now been Leading Open Jumper Rider at WEG for nine of the past 11 years, an incredible record.
"It's a nice honor to win that award again," said Chapot. "It's a nice way to cap off the season."
Chapot rode her mother Mary's homebred Zealous to the championship in 1.40m jumpers, and she rode Umberto, also owned by Mary, to the championship in 1.35m jumpers.
She was also fourth in 1.40m jumpers and 20th in 1.45m. jumpers on Out of Ireland, and seventh on Thornhill Kate in 1.35m. jumpers and 12th in 1.40 m. jumpers.
Laura Graves on Verdades posted a personal best in the Freestyle at the World Cup but had to settle for second behind Isabell Werth
By SARA CAVANAGH
PARIS, France--Laura Graves on Verdades posted a personal best of 89.082 in the dressage Freestyle at the World Cup on April 14, but finished just 1.5 points behind the reigning World Cup Final champion Isabell Werth of Germany on Weihegold OLD, who scored a 90.657 percent.
Laura Graves on Verdades With the FEI World Cup Dressage Final title on the line, Graves of Geneva, Fla., and Verdades defended their 2017 second-place finish on Saturday evening in the Freestyle to Music in Paris.
Germany’s Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Unee BB finished third on a score of 83.725 percent.
“I am very proud,” said Graves. “It feels like first place, and the horse won’t know the difference, that’s for sure. Now I have a little homework in my book bag, and we will take that back and be prepared for the next time. I have to pay respect to my horse because without these top horses who want to do the job for us, who want to learn, who allow us to learn with them, none of this would be possible.”
The atmosphere was electric as first Graves, and then Werth, put on a show for the ecstatic French crowd.
Sanna Neilson saddled Kings Apollo to win the Open Timber at the Fair Hill Point-to-Point
By SARA CAVANAGH
FAIR HILL, Md.--In a duel down the stretch, Kings Apollo (GB) finished in the time of 6:08 for the three miles to win by about 2 lengths over Durer, while Devil's Brew was another couple of lengths further back.
Dressed for the cold, Sanna Neilson at Fair HillOwned by Stewart Strawbridge, trained by Sanna Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, Kings Apollo waited until the final fence to make his move, overtaking first Devil's Brew, owned and trained by Elizabeth C. Korrell and ridden by Graham Watters, and then Wits End Stable LLC's Durer, trained by William Dowling and ridden by Evan Dwan.
Rosbrian Farm's Class Brahms, trained by Tara Elmore and ridden by Mark Beecher, fell midway through the race.
"Kings Apollo had a quiet run at Cheshire," said Neilson. "I felt he was not quite fit enough to run there, but I wanted to get a race in him."
"He jumped really well," said Neilson. "I loved the way Gerard rode him. We may go to Winterthur next. Dixon (Stroud) wants me to go to Willowdale, but I'm thinking Winterthur. He won there last year."
Fair Hill suffered from a terrible weather day that cut way back on its attendance.
Zanclus, ridden by Daren Nagle, run-away winner of the My Lady's Manor Timber Stakes
By SARA CAVANAGH
MONKTON, Md,--Sara E. Collette's homebred Zanclus, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Darren Nagle, led throughout the three mile My Lady's Manor Timber Stakes on April 14 to win by 25 1/4 lengths in 5:471/5, the fastest time of the day.
Neil Morris (left) with Darren Nagel after winning My Lady's ManorA huge crowd enjoyed a day of superb racing in 80 degree sunshine with a strong breeze that kept the temperature tolerable.
But horsemen worried that the sudden rise in temperature would unduly stress the horses.
Straight To It, owned by Sheila J. Williams, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Willie McCarthy was second, with Mystic Strike, owned by Upland Partners and trained and ridden by Mark Beecher, finishing third.
Zanclus, coming off a big, 12 length win in the Open Timber at Piedmont Point-to-Point, went straight to the front at the Manor, building up huge leads throughout the race while jumping every fence beautifully, standing well back and never chipping in.
"That was pretty much the plan," said Nagle, who had also ridden Zanclus at Piedmont. "He jumped very good. He's a fine big horse. this is his first time in a timber stakes."
Beezie Madden wins World Cup in thrilling finish, Devin Ryan runner-up
By SARA CAVANAGH
PARIS, France--Beezie Madden had a rail in hand going into the second of the two final rounds on Sunday, April 15 at the World Cup, and she needed every inch of it to hold off the unheralded Devin Ryan, 36 of Long Valley, N.J.
Devin Ryan, Beezie Madden and Henrik von EckermannMadden won the FEI World Cup for the second time while leading a extraordinarily strong field of Americans that finished, first, second and fourth, with Ryan second and McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., last year's winner, fourth on HH Azur.
"In my memory, it never happened before that one nation finished first, second and fourth," said Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland. "For sure, it hasn't happened in recent history."
Madden, 54 of Cazenovia, N.Y., runner-up Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden and Ryan were clear in the first round on Sunday, so they went into the final round with Madden on 0, von Eckerman on 4 faults and Ryan on 6 faults.
Ryan was clean again in the final round, but von Eckerman had a rail down, so that gave Madden some breathing room.
In a cliffhanger of a second round, Madden faulted for the first time over three tough days of jumping when last to go with the brilliant Breitling LS, dropping a rail at the middle element of the triple combination at fence six.
Beezie Madden wins first two legs of World Cup, goes into Sunday's final rounds with a rail in hand
By Staff Writers
PARIS, France--Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., on Breitling LS won both the speed class Thursday, April 12 and the time first jump-off class on Friday to go into Sunday's final rounds with a rail in hand.
Beezie Madden on Breitling WCThe American contingent was spectacular, putting three into the top 10 going into Sunday's competition, with Devin Ryan of Long Valley, N.J., in third, McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y. tied for forth.
After two rounds, Madden leads with 0 faults, Henrik von Eckermann of Sweden is second with 4 faults, Ryan is third with 5 faults, and Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium, Ward and Dglas Lindelow 0f Sweden tied for fourth with 8 faults.
Madden won Friday's class with a final time of 33.22 seconds in the jump-off.
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands and Emerald finished second with 33.44 seconds, while Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann and Toveks Mary Lou finished third on 33.92 seconds.
Ricky Hendriks trained two winners at the Georgia Steeplechase
By SARA CAVANAGH
Ricky Hendriks saddled the winner of the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle and both the winner and the second placed horses in the $15,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle race at the Georgia Steeplechase in Kingston, Ga., on April 7.
Go Get the Basil (Photo by Catherine French)With those two wins, Hendriks moved into second place in the National Steeplechase Association's standings in both Trainer, Races Won, with three wins behind Jonathan Sheppard, who has four wins, and in Trainer, Money Won, with $91,400, behind Julie Gomena, who has $94,600.
Eve Ledyard's Go Get the Basil, ridden by Ross Geraghty, won the Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle by 2 3/4 lengths over Riverdee Stable's Motivational, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott, with Irvin S. Naylor's Moss Code, trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Graham Watters, finishing third.
"Go Get the Basil was trained on the flat by a friend of my father, who contacted me and asked me if we would like to have him as a foxhunter," said Hendriks.
Phillip Dutton on Z wins WEG Eventing Test Event at The Fork
By SARA CAVANAGH
TRYON, N.C.--With a fence in hand, Phillip Dutton of West Grove, Pa., on Z jumped clean on April 8 to keep the lead they had earned on cross country day to win The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center, which was also the World Equestrian Games Eventing Test Event.
Phillip Dutton on ZDutton finished on a score of 28, ahead of Kim Severson on Cooley Cross Border with a final score of 32.10, followed by third placed Sharon White on Cooley On Show, who finished on 32.90.
Dutton also placed fifth on I'm Sew Ready.
After the cross country, he had been first on Z, third on I'm Sew Ready and fourth on Fernhill Cubalawn, but I'm Sew Ready had a fence down in Stadium Jumping to drop to fifth, and Fernhill Cubalawn was withdrawn before the horse inspection Sunday morning.
With clean jumping rounds Sunday, Severson moved up to second from fifth after cross country, White moved up from seventh and Marilyn Little on RF Scandalous moved up from eighth to fourth.
Jordan Linstedt on Revitavet Capato had been second after cross country but had five fences down plus four time faults on Sunday to drop to 22nd.
"You never quite know how tight the time is going to be," said Dutton of the show-jumping course. "It's an advantage going at the end and realizing the lines you have to take to shave the time. My guy is not at his best if I open him up too much toward the jump, so I had to cut the turns, shorten him at the jumps, and rock him back just a bit. Everybody said they were worried that I wasn't going to make the time, but here we are."
Pa-bred Army Mule an impressive winner of the G1 Carter Handicap
By SARA CAVANAGH
Army Mule, bred by James McGreevy's Hope Hill Farm in Oxford, Pa., a 4-year-old, has only started three times, but he's won all three impressively, with his latest victory coming in the G1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack on April 7.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, Army Mule drafted behind the leaders in the 11 horse field, angled out three wide into the stretch and put on a burst of speed to move well clear of the field and finish driving, but not fully extended, to win the 7 furlong race by 6 1/4 lengths in 1:20.94.
By Friesian Fire out of Crafty toast, by Crafty Propector, Army Mule was sold to Scanlon Training & Sales for $85,000 as a yearling, was sold by Scanlon Training & Sales to Crupi's New Casstle Farm for $825,000 as a 2-year-old and is now owned by Vincent Viola's St. Elias Stable.
Viola has an electronic trading firm, Virtu Financial, and he is a former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Viola graduated from West Point Academy and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Viola also owns the NHL's Florida Panthers.
Army Mule was sent to trainer Todd Pletcher last year as a 3-year-old.
His first win was an 8 1/2 length win in a Belmont Park maiden race at 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.79 on April 30, 2017.
But then Army Mule's knee had a problem, and he did not return to the races until this year, when he registered an even more impressive 7 1/2-length score in a Gulfstream Park allowance optional-claiming race on Jan. 31.
"He had a flare-up in his knee. It wasn't a surgical issue. We just had to give him time," Pletcher said in The Bloodhorse after his third win in the Carter. "When you have a horse break his maiden like he did, and with Saratoga around the corner, you starting thinking (about the future), but it's a tribute to Vinnie's patience as an owner that we gave him the time he needed. I told him he's a very talented horse, and we have to stop and give him a break, and the patience paid off today."
Army Mule returned to racing on Jan. 31, winning an 6 furlong Allowance, Optional Claiming race at Gulfstream by 7 1/2 lengths, finishing in hand in 1:08.87.
Despite his limited career, it has been a very successful one, and he's one to watch in the future.
Coco Fath wins the 11th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship
By SARA CAVANAGH
WELLINGTON, Fla.-- Coco Fath of Fairfield, Conn., riding Action won the 11th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship on March 23 at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Coco Fath on Class Action (Photo by Sportfot)The class was held in the International Arena under the lights, and Alexandra Worthington placed second, with Ava Stearns third and Daisy Farish fourth.
Both Fath and Worthington are trained by Stacy Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stable in Colts Neck, N.J.
The 11th Annual George H. Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship was held in three rounds with a grand total of 35 competitors in round one.
The top 15 riders returned for round two in reverse order from the first round, and the leading four had a third round to determine the final placings.
Julie Gomena, who trains G1 Colonial Cup winner Balance the Budget for Stonelea Stables LLC, wanted the horse so badly that she put in a claim for him four times before she finally got him in 2013.
Balance the Budget leads early in Colonial Cup It was a good claim, as Balance the Budget won his first G3 stakes in Aiken in March, 2015, won another stakes in Camden in 2017,won the G2 David L. (Zeke) Ferguson Memorial at Great Meadow last fall and then on March 31 won the G1, $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup Stakes in Camden.
"We claimed him at Churchill Downs in 2013 as a 4-year-old," said Gomena. "That was the fourth time we'd tried to claim him. My husband, Robert Bonnie, saw him run at Saratoga and thought he was a lovely type. My husband is always looking for horses to claim, so we joke about it and call him Bonnie Bloodstock.
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By SARA CAVANAGH
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OBS Sale & Fasig-Tipton Sale continue trend that is hard on the middle market
By SARA CAVANAGH
Following the prevailing trend in sales, both the 2-year-old in training sales at the Ocala Breeders Sale on March 13-14 and the Fasig-Tipton sale at Gulfstream Park on March 28 sent a few consignors home delighted but left the majority shaking their heads.
The 2-year-olds with top pedigrees and excellent conformation are bringing huge prices, but below that top group it's becoming increasingly harder to sell any horse for the price the consignor feels the horse should bring.
"The whole market is narrowing," said former bloodstock agent Russell Jones, whose Walnut Green was one of the nations top bloodstock agencies before he sold it.
"The middle section is being squeezed," said Jones. "The top end has always been good, and the bottom end has always been bad, but now the middle is having trouble."
Total sales at both sales were done, and average sales were also down at OBS, but average sales were up at Fasig-Tipton.
At OBS, 301 horses were sold in 2017 and 261 were sold in 2018, but with 102 not sold in 2018, the RNAs were down from 113 ot sold in 2017.
At the Fasig-Tipton sale, 166 horses were catalogued, but only 91 went through the sales ring, of which 61 were sold and 30 were not sold.
The get of Union Rags, in most cases, and Pa-breds, in some cases, sold better than average.
Vintage Vinnie and Grand Manon big winners at Brandywine Point-to-Point
By SARA CAVANAGH
UNIONVILLE, PA--Armata Stables had three winners at the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point on Easter Sunday, April 1, with its Vintage Vinnie being the most impressive winner of the day.
Co-owner Ben Griswold, left, and Grand ManonVintage Vinnie (Ire), trained by Joe Davies and ridden by Chris Gracie, won the Heavyweight race by about 30 lengths over Jeffrey G, owned and trained by Jason Cole and ridden by Eric Poretz, with Nancy Jane Hoyt's Handsome Hoyt, trained by Kathie Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, a distanced third.
But the most impressive aspect of his win was that his was the fastest race of the day, 5:51, and he ran it 15 seconds faster than the second fastest time of the day, which was the winner of the Ladies race, while carrying 30 pounds more weight.
Grand Manon won the Henry C. Baldwin Challenge Trophy for the Open race, winning it for the third consecutive year in a row in the time of 6:06.
Grand Manon is also owned by Armata Stables, is trained by Billy Meister and was ridden by Willie McCarthy.
The US Dressage team wins the Nations Cup in Wellington
By Staff Writers
WELLINGTON, Fla.--The all-female American team dominated the FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* team competition on March 29 in the 12th and final week of the Global Dressage Festival at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida.
Adrienne Lyle on SalvinoThe team consisted of Ashley Holzer of New York, N.Y., Olivia LaGoy-Weltz of Haymarket, Va., Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho and Sabine Schut-Kery of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and was led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Dover.
They finished on a total score of 452.327, while Canada claimed the silver medal on 424.855 and Australia won the bronze medal on 396.743, a historic bronze, the first time that nation has ever won a dressage Nations Cup medal of any color, and Spain finished fourth.
Unlike some other stages of this worldwide seven-leg Nations Cup series, teams at AGDF can be made up of big tour, small tour, or a mixture of big and small tour combinations.
In order to level the playing field, 1.5 percent is added to each grand prix score, with the small tour results remaining unaltered.
WELLINGTON, Fla,--Lucy Deslauriers of New York, N.Y., at just 18 years of age clinched the biggest victory of her career on Thursday , March 29 in the $132,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 riding her own Hester.
Lucy Deslauriers and Hester (Photo by Sportfot)After coming back from a shoulder injury and surgery on her hand at the end of 2017, Deslauriers returned to the saddle during week four of WEF.
She won over a field of 63, a whopping 27 of which were clean, in Thursday’s class and qualified for Saturday night’s $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5*.
Five of the 27 clean elected not to return, setting the stage for a 22-horse jump-off.
Returning in the latter half of the sizeable field, Deslauriers and Hester, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, stopped the jump-off timers in a blistering 34.70 seconds.