LAKE PLACID — Laura Chapot has been competing in the Grand Prix of Lake Placid for a long time, and her experience showed on Sunday.
Chapot, who won the Lake Placid Grand Prix in 1996 and 2004, won her third Lake Placid Grand Prix title after riding her horse Chandon Blue back-to-back with no faults in the first round and jumping to captured the $100,000 Great American Grand Prix at the North Elba Show.
“(Chandon Blue) was really focused today,” Chapot said. “I was really happy with him, he felt super energetic and ready to get the job done. I just tried to stick to my plan and he did it for me.
The Grand Prix started with a field of 21 over the 16-jump course in the first round, but only four horses and three riders put together a flawless opening round to advance to the eight-jump tiebreaker. Chapot rode two of the four entries.
Riding his 17-year-old horse, Chandon Blue – who happened to be older than some of the riders – Chapot charged through the course in the jump-off, completing a clean ride in 33.903 seconds to win the race.
“My first horse – the horse that won (Chandon Blue) – has a very long, massive stride, so I knew I could be quite quick at the start, missing a stride in the first few lines,” Chapot said.
With her second horse, Diarado’s Flying Dutchman, she was unable to outdo herself and had to settle for third place in 36.510 seconds.
“(Diarado’s Flying Dutchman) is not that big and strong,” Chapot said. “He tends to be – he’s got to keep his mind a bit calm, he’s very quick by nature. It’s not one where you can just take all the options out.
Alex Matz, the defending Grand Prix of Lake Placid champion who also won the Grand Prix at I Love New York last year, and 16-year-old Zeina Rizvi made clean runs in the show jumping but couldn’t match Chandon Sinn’s speed.
Rizvi, riding Exquise Du Pachis, finished as runner-up in 35.933 seconds, while Matz rode Ikigai to the title in fourth place in 36.882 seconds.
The win marked Chapot’s sixth Lake Placid Grand Prix victory after winning the I Love New York Grand Prix twice and the Adirondack Grand Prix once. She won $30,000 for first place on Sunday.
Chapot also added an additional $13,000 for third place from the combined $100,000, which was distributed based on finishes among the top 12 entries.
“Every time I get on the first horse, I say to myself, ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘Do I belong here?’ Chapot said. “It always looks like a challenging task because the hill adds another factor of difficulty to the course.
“While you may have a plan in mind, just the factor of going up and down the hill can change your strategy on the course.” she added. “It’s always fun to come here. It’s always different every time and we really enjoy that challenge that we get when we come to Lake Placid.”
Sunday’s Grand Prix capped off a week of action at the Lake Placid Horse Show. Racing at the North Elba Show Grounds took a break on Monday and is scheduled to resume with the I Love New York Horse Show today.
Chapot will likely compete in Saturday’s I Love New York Grand Prix at the Richard M. Feldman Grand Prix Ring, but it is unclear whether he will ride Chandon Blue.
“(Chandon Blue) likes it up here,” Chapot said. “The field looked beautiful this year. The base was great. The horses here always jump well.