Laura Chapot wins Grand Prix and Championhip at Devon Fall Classic
- By SARA CAVANAGH
Laura Chapot dominated the open jumper 1.45m division at the Devon Fall Classic, Sept. 14-17 in Devon Pa., winning both the $25,000 Grand Prix and the Speed Stake and placing second in the Welcome Stake.
She not only won the Grand Prix, she placed first and second, and she won the Speed Stake on yet a third horse, showing once again her ability to train and ride many different horses to become winners.
To make her victory even sweeter, Chapot won the class that was dedicated to her father, Frank D. Chapot, whose long and outstanding career included both many national and international wins as a rider and later as chef d'equipe of the U.S. show jumping team.
Eight riders were clean in the first round before a packed and enthusiastic crowd to come back in the jump-off.
Chapot on Thornhill Kate was first to go in the jump-off, and she laid down a second clean round in the speedy time of 35.402.
She returned three horses later on Calafornia to post another clean trip in 36.447,and was followed in the ring by Tracy Magness on Intenz Van HD, who was clean but in 37.809 to take third, but a full two seconds slower than the winner.
"Calafornia is a new horse for me that I just got this winter," said Chapot. "Thornhill Kate is my more experienced mount. She's very quick, not as big strided, but always game and tries her heart out every time."
"Calafornia, this is his first time here at Devon, so I am excited that he was so good under the lights and very comfortable in the ring," said Chapot. "He has a mammoth stride, and he left out a few strides here and there. I was just very pleased with his performance. He was very smooth and super tonight."
"This class was dedicated to my dad last year, so it's really pleasing to have won it after trying for awhile," said Chapot. "I've won it before, but the first time since it was dedicated to my dad, so that means a lot to me. I feel like he's probably looking down and smiling."
"For sure, the atmosphere adds to the pressure, but it's super exciting," said Chapot. "I think I was more nervous tonight for this class than I was for jumping the HITS Million. The crowd is so enthusiastic. They get behind you and you really want to please them and do well. It really helps the horses and pumps you up and makes you want to focus and make sure you do a good job."