Wellington, FL – November 29, 2020 – The first week of the ESP Holiday Series concluded on a high note on Sunday, November 29, with the $214,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission. Competition will continue at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) for the ESP Year End Awards Show from December 4-6, 2020, followed by four more shows to conclude the ESP Holiday Series ahead of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival, which begins January 6.
Sunday’s challenging class saw an elite group of four pairs rise to the top as the only jump-off returners, two of which were family members in the form of Lucy Deslauriers (USA) and Mario Deslauriers (CAN). Besting her father and the rest of the international pack as the youngest competitor in the class, 21-year-old Lucy jumped mother Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester to the top of the leaderboard, making it a true family affair with mother, father, and daughter all represented in the top of the standings.
“I just have so much gratitude for my horse,” commented Lucy on Hester, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker. “At the beginning of the week, I definitely felt a little bit rusty. I’ve actually been at school for the last two months, so this was my first week back in the show ring. I think the result is just a testament to my horse and our team because they’ve kept my horses in shape and kept him ready to go for when I got here. Huge thanks to them. I’m so happy!”
Sunday’s feature contest attracted 45 horse-and-rider combinations hailing from 11 nations, including the United States, Ireland, Canada, Great Britain, Israel, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Egypt. For the first round of riding, course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) constructed a pattern of 17 efforts up to the 1.60m height, a track fit for the occasion of a CSI4* class. It took until the 29th entry in the start list to see a clear round, which came from the younger Deslauriers, Lucy, and Hester as the successful pathfinders. Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve forced a jump-off with their clear round, and Kent Farrington (USA) soon followed suit riding Kaprice. The elder Deslauriers, Mario, turned in the final fault-free ride on Bardolina 2.
“I really had to stay focused and stick to our plan,” noted the winning Deslauriers of her plan in the first round after so many rides with faults from competitors. “We had a pretty clear layout of what I wanted to do and what I needed to do based on what we thought would lead to a clear round, so I couldn’t really think about the fact that nobody had gone clear yet. I really just had to stay super narrow-minded, like tunnel vision almost, toward our plan.”
For the jump-off, D’Ambrosio produced an abridged course of eight fences that featured plenty of options to cut time off the clock with tight turns or quick gallops. First to go, Lucy and Hester once again set the standard with a foot-perfect ride in 35.06 seconds. Though Springsteen and Don Juan Van De Donkhoeve (Bamako de Muze x Heartbreaker) put in a valiant effort with no rails down, they missed the top spot by a margin of a second, tripping the timers in 36.21 seconds. The paternal half of the Deslauriers and Bardolina 2 (Clarimo x Landos) went third due to a thrown shoe from Farrington’s Kaprice, and the team continued the clear streak but logged a time of 38.23 seconds to slip into third position with only one left to go. As the final entry, the ever-speedy Farrington galloped Kaprice through the course on pace to test the leaders’ time, but downed a single rail to incur four faults for fourth place.
“I haven’t really gone for it in a jump-off with him,” commented Springsteen, who spent the year in Europe, “so I was going to do a safe and clear ride, then I decided it would be good practice for us to really try and go a little bit. I tried to do as neat of turns as I could. I was really happy with him! He’s amazing – he has all the scope, he’s super careful, and he’s very reliable. Wellington is like home to me, so it’s nice to be back and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
The win is an auspicious start for Lucy’s and Hesters’s winter season as they make their return to the show ring following their last competition in Traverse City, MI, during the American Gold Cup in September.
“To ride with my daughter is so exciting,” remarked Mario. “We have had a few placings like this – first and second or first and third – so it’s always our goal. I love it when she goes a bit before me so I can concentrate on myself after. I get nervous when she goes so it’s good to get that done first. Our horses jumped great, so we are going to have a good family dinner tonight!”
Lucy mirrored her father’s thoughts on competing as a family, saying, “It’s so much fun. I think it adds fuel to our fire because we want to be more competitive against each other. A one-two finish is the goal, so we just want it even more when we both go clear.” She continued to say that though they are family, their mounts are not similar, meaning different strategies in the class. “We actually have super different horses, so we try to do our own thing and the chips are going to fall where they are. We had a great day, and it goes back to our team – we have such a great group of people and horses.”
On competing back in Wellington under COVID protocols, Mario concluded, “The whole ESP crew is doing a tremendous job. We, as riders, feel very safe. Let’s keep it up for the circuit. It looks great around here.”
Immediately following the CSI4* class, the $25,000 Holiday & Horses National Grand Prix, sponsored by Omega Alpha, offered riders another shot at prize money. The order consisted of 37 partnerships, and riders had better luck in this class with nine duos advancing to the jump-off. Ultimately, Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s Berdien topped the field after putting in a fault-free round in the jump-off with a time of 39.72 seconds. Ashe Cawley and Berdien were only the second pair to navigate the short course, and their time would stand. Diego Vivero (ECU) cleared the short course in 41.41 seconds with Litho V/H Panishof, owned by DJ Horses, LLC, to claim a second-place finish, while Coco Fath (USA) navigated her Exotik Sitte to third place with a clear 41.75-second effort. The class ended with five double-clear performances.
At the onset of the day, the $2,500 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Equiline, showcased the efforts of 23 exhibitors in the International Arena, where Fath earned another victory. Ten pairs turned in clear first-round performances and, of those returning duos, seven finished on a double-clean score for the day. Fath of Fairfield, CT, and Hillside Farm LLC’s Gaucho entered the ring as the final entry over the short course and were up against a leading time of 29.82 seconds. As it happened, the best was saved for last as Fath and Gaucho narrowly edged out the frontrunners with their fault-free time of 29.47 seconds to capture victory. Daneli Miron of Delray Beach, FL, finished in second place on her own Vox Dei in a time of 29.82 seconds, and Jennifer Gates of Wellington, FL, concluded the class in third position aboard Evergate Stables LLC’s Alex in a clear 31.06 seconds.
For the full results of the the $214,000 Holiday & Horses Grand Prix CSI4*, presented by Palm Beach County Sports Commission, please click HERE.
For the full results of the $25,000 Holiday & Horses National Grand Prix, sponsored by Omega Alpha, please click HERE.
The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions wrapped up Sunday at PBIEC with a set of new champions. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunters, sponsored by Vita Flex, the entries were awarded in a California split to accommodate a high number of exhibitors. Martha Ingram of Nashville, TN, and Private Practice, owned by John & Stephanie Ingram LLC, dominated the divisions with four victories that consisted of three over fences wins and another in the handy, in addition to a second-place finish on the flat. Kaitlin Porath of Wellington, FL, and her own Breaux were also rewarded with championship honors after topping the under saddle, handy, and an over fences class, plus two runner-up placings over fences.
Reserve honors were given to Kimberly Maloomian of West Palm Beach, FL, on her own Finch Hatton, the horse that carried her to a top-five placing in all five of the division’s classes, highlighted by a blue ribbon over fences. Madeline Thatcher of Bluffdale, UT, claimed the second reserve championship title riding Pony Lane Farm’s Like I Said. The duo’s standout result was a win over fences, and two more top-three finishes earned them enough points to conclude the week with a tricolor ribbon.
In the Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunters, sponsored by Vita Flex, Katie Jacobs-Robinson of East Aurora, NY, and Robinson Ridge LLC’s Harmony claimed the lead spot on the cumulative scorecard after winning more than half of the classes in the division. The partnership earned blue ribbons three times over fences and added to their success with third place in the under saddle and sixth place in the handy class. Reserve honors went to owner-rider Emily Maillet of Chester, NJ, and On The QT. Maillet and her mount won the hack and stayed consistent with a second-place result over fences and three more third-place results.
Emma Callanan was awarded a leather lead rope, courtesy of Noltrex®Vet, as the leader of the Performance 3’6” Hunters thanks to her back-to-back victories in the Performance 3’6” Hunters on Carousel, owned by Carousel Group. The combination was victorious twice in over fences classes to earn the prize.
The prize list for the six shows that make up the 2020 ESP Holiday Series can be found HERE.
No spectators or outside media are allowed on-site at this time, but friends and family can view all classes via our SGL live stream HERE.
To learn more about the safety protocols and procedures at the horse show, please click HERE.
Photo credit ©Anne Gittins Photography and ©PBIEC. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.