Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) is now three for three in the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series at the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Held each Thursday throughout the 12 weeks of WEF competition, Lamaze won the first two classes aboard Rosana du Park and scored his third victory in Thursday's $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 riding Fine Lady 5. He rides both horses for Artisan Farms LLC.
Sponsored by Adequan®, WEF 3 continues at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) through Sunday, January 25. The week features the $127,000 Adequan® Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday, January 24. The 12- week WEF circuit continues through March 29, awarding over $8.2 million in prize money.
Course designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) set the track for Thursday's WEF Challenge Cup with 74 entries in total and eight in the jump-off. Five jumped clear over the short course, where Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 blazed through the course to win.
Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC's Carrabis Z were the first pair to clear the short course in 44.09 second and finished fifth. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC's Fibonacci 17 then flew to third place in 36.41 seconds. Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 went next to take their victory in 35.28 seconds. Alex Granato (USA) and Wood Run Farms' Mullaghdrin Rado were close to the mark in 35.81 seconds to finish second, and Christine McCrea (USA) and Candy Tribble's Zerly wrapped things up with the fourth place round in 38.85 seconds.
Lamaze has been on fire since the start of the WEF circuit and thanked his many talented horses and the great ownership of the Ziegler family's Artisan Farms for his continued success this week.
"You don't expect to win three WEF (Challenge Cup classes) in a row, even if you feel your horses are on form," Lamaze admitted. "There were 74 starters and some of the best riders in the world and the best horses. It comes down to having a fast horse."
"This was sort of her debut," Lamaze said of Fine Lady 5. "I did a few smaller classes the week before just to get her ready for this week. She is a class horse, and I am really happy that the Zieglers bought her for me. Not only was I in need of a great speed horse, but she is so much more than just that. I am really lucky to have a horse like that."
Commenting on his winning round, Lamaze detailed, "Meredith was very quick actually and with Chris McCrea behind me, I thought that I really had to go, but I would not have done it any other way. She (Fine Lady 5) loves it. She loves to be competitive. I talked with Yann (Candele) before I went in, and he said it had not been so fast. I said, 'I'm going. I hate it halfway. If I have one down, I will be the fastest four faulter, but I'm going.'"
In the past three years, Lamaze has been slowly building up his string of horses, and acknowledged that he would not be where he is without great owners. "It hasn't been as easy as it may look now," he stated. "It for sure took a lot of time to rebuild a good string of horses. There were a few mistakes along the way, but when you have great owners that support you and stay with you, success will come. The Ziegler family, Artisan Farms, they did that. It has been a long process, so this is the payoff. They are very competitive horses."
In addition to the winning portion of prize money, Lamaze was awarded the $3,000 SSG Gloves "Go Clean for the Green" bonus for the third week in a row. Each week of the WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG 'Digital' Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible. Lamaze has now won all three bonuses, totaling $9,000 in additional money earned.
Also showing on Thursday, Ireland's Ronan McGuigan and Capall Zidane topped the $8,000 1.45m jump-off class in the morning. Venezuela's Emanuel Andrade and C. Jack Sparrow won the $2,500 High Amateur-Owner speed class.
1. FINE LADY 5: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Forsyth x Drosselklang II
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/35.28
2. MULLAGHDRIN RADO: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Radolin x Tresor de Mesnil
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Wood Run Farms: 0/0/35.81
3. FIBONACCI 17: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by For Feeling x Corland
MEREDITH MICHAELS BEERBAUM (GER), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/36.41
4. ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/0/38.85
5. CARRABIS Z: 2003 Zangersheide stallion by Canabis Z x Grannusso
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/0/44.09
6. VANILLA: 2002 Danish Warmblood mare by Nabab De Reve x Clinton
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/4/38.15
7. HH DONNATELLA: 2003 Belgian Warmblood mare by Toulon x Mr. Blue
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/4/38.18
8. MYSELF DE BREVE: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Quidam de Revel x Grand Veneur
MARIE HECART (FRA), Marie Hecart: 0/8/41.74
9. DYNAMO: 2003 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Skippy II x Lys de Darmen
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalaya Investments: 1/78.06
10. BULL RUN'S TESTIFY: 2004 Selle Francais gelding by Dollar du Murier x Oberon du Moulin
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers, Inc: 1/78.35
11.TINKABELL 12: 2005 KWPN mare by Casco x Ekstein
RODRIGO PESSOA (BRA), Rodrigo Pessoa: 1/78.81
12. ISHD DUAL STAR: 2002 Irish Sport Horse mare by Quickstar x Concorde
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Mary Chapot: 4/72.79
Source: Press release by Jennifer Wood Media,Inc.
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