Canada’s Eric Lamaze Flies to Victory in Wellington
the 1.40m NAL Spycoast Speed Challenge,
WELLINGTON, FL, Feb. 8 -
Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Take Off were the first horse-rider combination into the International Ring but none of the 77 horses that followed were able to improve on his performance in Friday’s $6,000 1.40m competition held during week four of the 12-week CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
As the first rider on course, Lamaze successfully cleared the track set by designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, Fla., and advanced to the immediate jump-off. With a time of 35.10 seconds, Lamaze set a standard that no other rider was able to match. Kate Reuter came closest, turning in a jump-off time of 35.96 seconds to place second riding Online while Sandy Van Dyke and Luis 13 were more than three seconds slower than Lamaze, stopping the clock at 38.13 seconds for third place.
“She’s a fast horse, fast in the air, and she lands going,” said Lamaze of the Dutch Warmblood mare his sponsor, Ashland Stables, purchased last spring. “This is only her second year of competition, and I am ahead of schedule with what I intended to do with her this year.”
Lamaze, who has approximately 50 horses in training for the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, explained his selection of Take Off in Belgium by saying, “As I learn about horses, scope is something I don’t care about as much anymore. If they are careful, they can grow into the scope. I think Take Off will have good range. I didn’t buy her thinking she was a top grand prix horse, but I knew she was top quality.”
At last year’s CN Winter Equestrian Festival, Lamaze was the leading money earner, topping the FTI Leading Rider standings for a $100,000 bonus. He is hoping to repeat that performance this year, having already won the $50,000 Smart for Life Grand Prix CSI2* on February 3 riding Narcotique de Muze II.
In the 1.40m NAL Spycoast Speed Challenge, it was Laura Chapot who posted the fastest time, crossing the timers in 58.57 seconds with Church Road. Schuyler Riley placed second with Undine in a time of 60.14 seconds while Jonathan McCrea and Primo were a fraction slower in 60.19 seconds to take third for owner Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables.
The CSI3* Spy Coast Farm Week Four of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, runs daily through Sunday, February 10, which features the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Wellington Cup CSI3*.
Results of Class 1013 - $6,000 1.40m Time First Jump Off
1 - 5368 TAKE
OFF ERIC LAMAZE 0.00 80.790 0.00 35.105 ASHLAND STABLES
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com