Laura Chapot Takes Church Road to Victory in Wellington
WELLINGTON, FL, March 26 -
Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., scored victory in the $8,000 1.45m Competition to open Week 11 of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, was setting the tracks in the International Arena and welcomed 35 entries over his 1.45m speed course. The lead changed hands several times before Chapot entered the ring three-quarters of the way through the competition. Well-known for her ability to ride at breakneck speeds, Chapot blistered around the course with Church Road. Surprisingly for a rider who rarely puts her foot on the brake, Chapot could be heard yelling, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” to her mount as they approached the final fence, the CN vertical set alongside the International Club. Despite slowing up to the final fence, the pair’s time of 55.59 seconds would prove to be the fastest of the day, giving Chapot the victory. Earlier in the day, Chapot had finished second and third in the 1.30m competition riding Redford and Conto respectively.
“I ended up adding one more stride down the last line than I planned on. He jumped up so high over the second last that I did not have the momentum I was expecting,” explained Chapot, 35, who was a member of the Bronze Medal Team at the Pan American Games last summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
While Chapot is usually well in front with her winning times, Laura Bowery of Bridgehampton, N.Y., riding Palona finished second with a time of 57.28 seconds while Laura Kraut of Wellington, Fla., placed third riding Likewise in a time of 57.90 seconds.
“We were lucky today. They came close but they weren’t quite fast enough,” said Chapot of the win, just one of many she has enjoyed on the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival circuit including the $6,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.40m Speed Challenge held March 14. Her partner for that win was also Church Road, an Irish-bred gelding owned by Sarah Becker and B&B Saddlery that Chapot began riding this year.
Hungary’s Henri Kovacs placed fourth riding G5 while U.S. Olympian Peter Leone of Greenwich, Conn., and the 11-year-old selle francais mare Julia du Brio took fifth position. It was a family affair as Amy, Ian and Jonathon Millar, in that order, placed sixth through eighth.
Week 11 of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, the Penta Water Company, Inc., presented by Palm Beach Toyota, will feature Saturday night’s $75,000 Penta Water Grand Prix. It will also be the final event to decide the $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge which is currently a close race between Beezie Madden and last year’s winner, Eric Lamaze.
Results of Class 1002 - $8,000 1.45m Jumper II
1 - 7186 CHURCH
ROAD LAURA CHAPOT 0.00 55.592 SARAH BECKER & B & B SADDLERY
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