Wellington, Florida, USA – January 13, 2021 – Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid returned to the ring in fine form scoring their first victory of the season in the $6,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers as competition began at the Wellington Regional Medical Center CSI3* at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), which runs through January 17.
In the WEF 1 opening class in the International Arena, Lamaze and the 15-year-old Oldenburg gelding, owned by the Chacco Kid Group, executed the two-round course flawlessly, stopping the timers at 26.97 seconds.
“It was a nice opening course,” said Lamaze of the track designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU). “It’s the first class of the week, two-phase [power and speed]. If you don’t go clear in the first phase, it’s a short course. Chacco is naturally fast, so for the speed part my strategy was just to shorten the turn and try to keep the same rhythm, and it was good enough for this class.”
First to go in the order, Laura Kraut (USA) and Goldwin owned by Stars and Stripes, held the lead for most of the class after putting forth a clear effort in a time of 27.55 seconds. Rounding out the top three was Lillie Keenan (USA) aboard Cazaan owned by Chansonette Farm, LLC, who crossed the finish line in 27.80 seconds.
The day marked nearly four months since Lamaze has jumped in international competition and he was happy to be back in the ring.
“The horses are fresh. They’ve been resting for a long time, so I feel very good about all my horses at the moment,” said the 2008 Olympic individual gold medalist. “They feel like they got a year younger with a year off [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]. We didn’t do any pre-circuit shows even though we’ve been here for quite a while. We jumped a little bit at home because [this] summer we really didn’t do much with them. It was not necessary. I chose to just stay home and start WEF when the FEI classes start.”
Lamaze will continue to campaign throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival and hopes to find himself atop the podium once again.
“I have enough horses with a great string that I think I can swap them enough to be competitive in all the Grand Prix [classes] and try my best,” he said.
The first week of international jumper competition at the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) will feature the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 on Thursday, Friday’s $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Classic, and Saturday night under the lights with the $137,000 Wellington Regional Medical Center Grand Prix CSI 3*. Don’t miss a minute of the action and tune in to the free livestream of feature classes. The 2021 WEF has 13 weeks of competition that continue through April 4.
Competition continues on Thursday with the $37,000 Adequan® WEF Challenge Cup Round 1 and championships for the professional hunters.
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot