Wellington, Fla. – March 29, 2018 – Eighteen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers has been a rising star on the show jumping scene for a number of years, but on Thursday she scored the biggest win of her career when she topped a 23-horse jump-off to win the $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI5* aboard longtime partner Hester during Week Twelve of the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Guilherme Jorge (BRA) designed the course for Thursday’s main event, but the 5* track yielded 27 clear rounds out of the 63 starting entries. While only 23 opted to return for the tiebreaker, the athletes had to be quick and clear to score a piece of the purse. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny was the first to clock in under 37 seconds during the jump-off aboard Jack Snyder’s Babalou 41. The duo left all of the rails intact and set the time to beat at 35.26 seconds.
Kenny’s lead lasted for 12 rounds before Deslauriers entered the International Arena with Hester, owned by Lisa Deslauriers. She was working with her father, Mario, as well as Olympian McLain Ward to prepare for the day’s event, and their advice certainly paid off. After leaving out a stride in the first line and making a quick rollback to a tall vertical, the duo dashed across the finish line in 34.70 seconds, besting Kenny by half a second to take over the top spot on the leaderboard.
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam was next with Spy Coast Farm’s Chaqui Z, and although they were quick and clear, they were unable to slip through the timers fast enough to unseat Deslauriers and Kenny, settling for third place in a time of 35.71 seconds.
Deslauriers’ victory comes just a few months after she dislocated her shoulder and needed surgery to repair some of the ligaments. She was careful with her recovery but is ultimately thrilled to be back on the main stage at one of the country’s most competitive horse shows.
The week is not over yet though, and Deslauriers now has her sights set on the crown jewel of the Winter Equestrian Festival, the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5*, set to take place on Saturday at 8 p.m. in the International Arena.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Lucy Deslauriers – $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI5* winner
On her round and where she made up the time:
“My round wasn’t exactly what our plan was. I got down the first line a little bit earlier than I expected and that kind of changed the turn to the next jump a little bit. Everything was connected in the first round as well as in the jump-off, so one line directly affected the next. My jump-off wasn’t exactly the smoothest but my horse is naturally super fast, so even when I had to add a stride here or there he was right there with me and I just tried to make it work.”
On her injury and recovery:
“I was out for about two months, which is the longest I’ve ever gone without riding. It definitely took me a lot longer to get back feeling normal in the saddle than I thought. I had to just be patient and let my body tell me when it was ready for me to start jumping big jumps again. We made the plan to do this class about three or four weeks ago and since I’ve just been really aiming for it. I showed last week but this was going to be my big class. We were really just trying to set up well and execute the plan to get it done today.”
On receiving help from McLain Ward:
“McLain started helping me a few weeks ago and I’ve always been close with him. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear something from a different voice or a different perspective. I’m really lucky to have him in my corner and of course I still have my dad too, which is great. Having both of them is really special.”
“Hester feels great. He’s the type of horse who goes better once he’s on a little bit of a roll and I think the two of us together as a team also thrive once we’ve been competing a little bit more. I think that’s actually part of why it took longer to get back to where we left off because we had to get back into that groove.”
$132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI5*
Place / Rider / Horse / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Lucy Deslauriers / Hester / 0 | 68.76 / 0 | 34.708
2. Darragh Kenny / Babalou 41 / 0 | 69.53 / 0 | 35.263
3. Shane Sweetnam / Chaqui Z / 0 | 74 / 0 | 35.712
4. Alex Granato / Carlchen W / 0 | 69.28 / 0 | 35.744
5. Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum / Calle 67 / 0 | 70.71 / 0 | 36.481
6. Beezie Madden / Darry Lou / 0 | 71.46 / 0 | 36.627
7. Laura Kraut / Confu / 0 | 71.52 / 0 | 36.892
8. Santiago Lambre / Dingeman / 0 | 72.44 / 0 | 37.406