Nicolas Pizarro Finds Victory in Friends of the Meadows Cup; Eric Lamaze 4th with Coco Bongo
It was a fantastic win for Mexico’s Nicolas Pizarro this morning in the Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.50m at the Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex. This was Pizarro’s second CSI5* win at Spruce Meadows after earning another victory back in 2014 aboard Colasko. Pizarro, who finished double clear with a time of 43.36 seconds, rode the 10 year-old Oldenburg mare, La Petite Fleur. Pizarro commented on his win,“today was a great day, I went very early in this class and I haven’t competed on this horse for very long – it belongs to one of my students – but I have been developing her since she was six. I thought It was a very nice course and being clear, I was first to go in the jump off which is always a little bit awkward. I think it’s always better to go near the end, but with such an amazing field of riders behind me, I really tried to do my best.” He continued, “I think I may have won with my approach to the second last fence, though at the time I thought I would end up in second or third. I’m very excited, it is such a privilege to be on top today.”
Kent Farrington (USA) followed very close behind Pizarro ending up just 0.38 seconds off the winning time. Kent commented, “the course really used the whole field, there were a lot of long gallops, so my plan for the jump off was to have a very smooth round and I thought it would be just enough to win – and I miscalculated by half a second – so that was unfortunate but I am very happy for Nicolas today and I’m thrilled with Dublin’s progress.”
Following in third with a double clear and a time of 45.26 seconds was Peter Lutz (USA) aboard Retiro, a 12 year-old Warmblood gelding. Lutz said, “the conditions were outstanding today, both rounds of the course had a lot of space to gallop which really suited my horse who is very tall with a big stride so I was really able to take advantage of that. I was a little bit slow in the middle line of the jump off where I think I lost it but Retiro was great today and the courses had him jumping better and better each class.”
McLain Ward Untouchable in Canada 150 Speed Events; Eric Lamaze 4th aboard Thalis de la Roque
McLain Ward (USA) has made it a perfect three for three so far in the Canada 150 Speed Series, earning yet another victory in this afternoons Akita Drilling Cup.
Riding Tina la Boheme, the 10 year-old mare who took Ward to victory during the ‘National’ Tournament, the duo once again performed a fast, flawless round to obtain top spot in the Akita Drilling Cup Table C event. Once again riding two horses in the competition, Ward was confident after having such great success aboard both Tina and HH Carlos Z. He commented, “I think we know the course pretty well now, maybe Carlos a little too well, he went to turn a little too fast at fence two – or perhaps I was being a little too cute myself. Both horses have been phenomenal I’m thrilled with them and even having the drive by with Carlos – when you’re trying to win you put everything on the line – sometimes those things can happen.” When asked about his decisions on the Canadian themed Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) designed course, Ward mentioned, “on the option for fence six, I personally go for the train fence as opposed to the hockey sticks, I find it much less careful with more for the horses to focus on – you can ride it a bit more aggressively – I’ve liked it from day one.” Ward arrived to the finish line with a time of 70.19 seconds – slightly behind his winning times in the past two series events, when asked where his plan may have changed he commented, “My plan had always been eight strides from fence 11 to 12, but Tina had jumped the Duncan Ross Cup on Friday so she was getting a little low on gas – I felt like she landed a bit slow – but I’d been fast to that point. I also knew Carlos Z was still to come so I went for the more cautious nine strides which was more of a tactical decision to try and log a good round and hopefully end up in the top three.” In the end, celebrating with a fantastic Canada Day crowd, Ward was fast enough to once again land another international win at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series.
The Canada 150 speed series champion will be awarded to the top placing Horse/Rider combination. The current leader in the series is Beezie Madden(USA) aboard Con Taggio with 128 points, while McLain Ward holds both second and third position with his mounts Tina la Boheme scoring 100 points and HH Carlos Z with 95 points.
Canada Day at Spruce Meadows was a huge success with a full house of fans enjoying such a thrilling event. The evening continued with a wonderful live performance by the 45-piece Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra for thousands of delighted guests on the Founders Plaza. Championship sport continues tomorrow with our main event, the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix, presented by Rolex.
See all results here.