Devon, Pa. – Sept. 15, 2016 – Laura Chapot capped off the first day of competition at the Devon Fall Classic with a winning smile, as she posed for a picture in the legendary Dixon Oval. The professional rode away with the one-two finish in the $5,000 Welcome Stake, Thursday evening. Chapot set the initial time to beat aboard Out of Ireland with a double-clear round and a time of 34.843 seconds, only to return aboard Zealous and best her effort to steal away the first-place honors in 34.584 seconds.Laura Chapot and Out of Ireland. PC: Kendall Bierer
“I have been coming to Devon for most of my life,” Chapot said. “For the Devon Fall Classic, we have come almost every year. I think anytime you win a class at Devon it’s great. This place has a different aura than anywhere else you go. We have more participation with the spectators, and the horses really enjoy showing here. It is always fun to come, and I think the horses jump well here, because it does have that different feel.”
Eight contenders qualified for the jump-off in the highlight event, but only three had double-clear rounds, and the New Jersey native earned two of the three.
Chapot was second to enter the arena and set the bar high for the rest of the field of competitors aboard Out of Ireland, owned by The Edge. She wore a target on her back as 10 riders attempted to challenge her hold on the top spot. None availed, until she re-entered the arena and did so herself, aboard Zealous, owned by her mother, Mary Chapot.
“Zealous has been here before,” Chapot explained. “She won the inaugural grand prix here. She knows the ring, and she always gets very excited here at Devon. It kind of perks her up. Out of Ireland is a younger horse just moving up to the grand prix-level. She has been very consistent for the summer, winning a couple of mini-prix.”
She continued, “I just try to be as consistent and even as possible in the jump-off. I try to ride my ride and not think about what everyone else is going to do. Both those horses are very fast and have quite a big stride. If I just ride my plan, I am happy. Even if we get beat in the end, as long as you are satisfied with your ride, that is what matters.”
Hugo Huesca and Sati De La Violle, owned by Literacy Orange, soared over the Paul Jewell-designed course. The pair were about two seconds too slow to catch Chapot, clocking in a time of 36.409 seconds, but had the only other double-clear round of evening, earning them third place.
The quickest 4-faulter was Brooke Kemper, who lowered the height of one obstacle and settled for fourth place with a time of 35.229 seconds aboard her own Classified.
Cynthia McGrath had just come off of a win in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper, before taking fifth place in the Welcome Stake aboard Quinaro, owned by Mapledale Associates LLC, with a time of 35.259 seconds and four faults.
Earlier in the day, McGrath took top honors in the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper class aboard the large grey gelding Caruso. The duo was third to tackle the course and first to go double-clear, tripping the timers at 35.244 seconds.Cynthia McGrath and Caruso. PC: Kendall Bierer
The pair began their partnership only four months ago, after her husband found the 9-year-old gelding, bought and imported him from Europe.
“He is amazing,” McGrath said. “He is younger and has a little bit of experience at the larger jumps. He is so careful that I am careful not to put him in a bad situation. He likes to gallop to the jumps, I stay out of his way and let him do his job and let him figure it out.”
McGrath continued, sharing her thoughts on the course and the Devon Fall Classic, “We are from Harrisburg and get to come and see this show every year. It is just a thrill to be here at the Devon Fall Classic, and friends who don’t normally get to see us compete are able to come and watch. There is something special about it, and Paul Jewell is doing an amazing job with the courses. They all flow great. All of the horses are going in, getting confidence and I think that they will be even better horses for the next day.”
Adrienne Marciano earned the second and third place slots on the High Junior/Amateur-Owner leaderboard. With Laspari, Marciano had the second double-clear round and sealed her second-place finish with the time of 38.087 seconds. Marciano and Canoso were the final pair to enter the arena and were the fastest 4-faulters, earning the third place with a time of 37.852 seconds and one fence height lowered.
With final thoughts and gratitude, Chapot concluded, “I want to thank the sponsors of the show for continuing to stick with it, and I think they have done a really good job putting on the show. All of the exhibitors enjoy the hard work of the staff, sponsors and management for giving us the opportunity to continue to show here.”
The Devon Fall Classic will continue tomorrow with the competitors in the first class of the day taking the Dixon Oval at 8 a.m. Spectators can look forward to watching the High Junior/Amateur-Owner competitors again, as well as the Open Speed Stake during the evening session, which is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
RESULTS – $5,000 WELCOME JUMPER STAKE 1.40m II.2b
1. 28 ZEALOUS MARY CHAPOT LAURA CHAPOT
2. 34 OUT OF IRELAND THE EDGE LAURA CHAPOT
3. 145 SATI DE LA VIOLLE LITERACY ORANGE HUGO HUESCA
4. 137 CLASSIFIED BROOKE KEMPER BROOKE KEMPER
5. 184 QUINARO MAPLEDALE ASSOCIATES, LLC CYNTHIA MCGRATH
6. 113 DAVIDSON FIVE STAR PARTNERS CALLAN SOLEM
7. 164 SOFTBEAT IB STABLE IBRAHIM BARAZI
8. 153 SYNAPSE DE BLONDEL PAILLOT EQUESTRIAN ALEXA LOWE-WISEMAN