East Dorset, Vermont — Last year’s Pan American Games team bronze medalist, Laura Chapot, rode the cleanest and fastest in the grand prix ring, August 15, at the Vermont Summer Festival, held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. Aboard Church Road, owned by Sarah Becker and B&B Saddlery, Chapot of Neshanic Station, NJ, won the $10,000 Tumi/Anichini Open Welcome Stake, presented by the Manchester Design Outlets.
Pierre Jolicoeur’s course was fast and technical and Chapot had to set the bar high to prevail. “He was really fresh since he hasn’t shown in two weeks,” Chapot said of Church Road. And it worked to her advantage. “When he’s in the game, he’s a very careful horse and very bold.”
Timothy Hooker of Wellington, FL, and Sirius 127 posted the first double clear of the 24-entry class in 29.60 seconds. Holly Orlando of West Palm Beach, FL, gave it her best shot a few trips later with two clear trips aboard Pugnax but finished in 30.37 seconds.
Chapot and Church Road posted the third double-clear ride of the day in 28.14 seconds, and wouldn’t be caught. Nick Dello Joio of Wellington, FL, came closest aboard Draco, finishing a double-clear effort in 28.54 seconds. Bill Lowery of North Scituate, RI, followed just behind in 29.75 seconds.
“He’s very quick off the ground and doesn’t spend much time in the air,” Chapot said of the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding who was originally bred to be a three-day event horse. “I don’t feel like I have to fire up the engines for the jump-off because he’s always fast.”
Formerly shown by Max Amaya of Argentina, Chapot picked up Church Road’s reins in early January. He competed with the Argentinean team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany, and at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to last year’s Pan American Games, Chapot has also competed against Amaya and Church Road numerous times in past world-class grand prix competitions. When they finally met as a partnership, their immediate bond was undeniable.
“It was a match made in heaven from the start,” Chapot said. The pair spent this winter showing at the circuits in Florida and won multiple big-money grand prix classes.
This was Chapot’s first time showing at the Vermont Summer Festival. “It’s been great since I got here,” she said. “Everybody has been nice and the organizers and management do a great job.”
Frank Chapot, Laura’s father and legendary six-time Olympic rider and recently retired United States show jumping team Chef d’Equipe, expressed great interest in returning to the Vermont Summer Festival next year as well.
Chapot said she hopes to repeat today’s victory in Sunday’s $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. Vermont’s Governer Douglas also plans to attend the series finale event.
Competition at the Vermont Summer Festival is held daily Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On ‘Grand Prix Sunday’, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle Schools.
New England’s largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show, the Vermont Summer Festival offers over $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event in the state of Vermont. Visit the Vermont Summer Festival website for more information, including full results.
$10,000 Tumi/Anichini Open Welcome Stake – Final Results
|1||Laura Chapot||Neshanic Station, NJ||Church Road||0:0||28.41|
|2||Nick Dello Joio||Wellington, FL||Draco||0:0||28.54|
|3||Timothy Hooker||Wellington, FL||Sirius 127||0:0||29.60|
|4||Bill Lowery||North Scituate, RI||Rio Corde||0:0||29.75|
|5||Holly Orlando||West Palm Beach, FL||Pugnax||0:0||30.37|
|6||Holly Orlando||West Palm Beach, FL||Great Pleasure||0:0||30.89|
|7||James Billington||England||Crème Brule||0:4||30.37|
|8||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Marlo||0:4||30.60|