Laura Chapot had the speed to claim the top two spots in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge on Friday, January 10, during opening week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
Coming off another 1.40m victory on Wednesday, Chapot bested a field of 76 horses over Eric Hasbrouck’s speed track aboard 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Thornhill Kate. Her time of 57.849 seconds was good enough to bump her second-place mount and Wednesday’s winner, Out of Ireland, a horse she owns with The Edge, into the runner-up position in 57.855 seconds.
“I was thrilled that she went as well as she did and I am hoping to move her up by the end of season,” said Chapot of the mare she imported from Ireland four years ago through Irish Olympian Cian O’Connor and owns alongside her mother Mary. “She has been a really good horse for me so it’s nice to start off on such a good note. It’s so exciting to have the horses jumping this well so early; they feel fresh and enthusiastic about going in the ring!”
Chapot is back in Wellington for the season with a dynamic string of horses, saying, “There are so many classes offered here, so we always bring a large string with some young ones, some that are moving up, and a couple for the big classes.”
When asked about the upgraded footing that was installed in the International Arena in preparation for WEF, Chapot was complimentary. “It seems really good so far. The horses like it and they are jumping great. They put in a lot of effort into stepping this facility up every year and are very conscientious about trying to do the best thing for the riders and horses, so I think this is a step in the right direction.”
Argentina’s Tomas Yofre took a chance on catching Chapot, but didn’t have the foot speed and settled for third in a time of 60.216 seconds riding Dasino, owned by Peacock Ridge LLC. Luis Larrazabal (VEN) and Luminaria LS La Silla took fourth in 62.627 seconds for San Francisco Stables LLC, while Peter Lutz (USA) and Quinta 106, owned Swede Ventures LLC, rounded out the top five in 62.847 seconds.