Chandon Blue and Laura Chapot Race to the Front in $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix

Laura Chapot & Chandon Blue, winners of the $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix. Photo by Sportfot

Edited Press Release

Competition during the Lugano Diamonds-sponsored Week 7 of the 2024 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) culminated in the $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon with a win from Laura Chapot (USA). WEF plays host to 13-weeks of international and nationally ranked top sport across the hunter, jumper, and equitation disciplines in the equestrian capital of Wellington, FL, ending on March 31. 

Chapot and her longtime partner, the Laura and Mary Chapot-owned 19-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Chandon Blue (Chacco-Blue x Landcapitol) were one of 11 that managed to produce a first round worthy of advancing to the jump-off out of the original 44 combinations.

As the class crept closer and closer to its finish, Anthony D’Ambrosio’s (USA) short course proved difficult to master. As the penultimate combination to return, Chapot and Chandon gave it their best effort, but as so many others had done, took down one obstacle towards the end of the course. The results were decided among four-fault rounds with no double-clears on the day.

“I was a little bit surprised that there weren’t any clears when I went in,” Chapot explained. “But I knew I shouldn’t really change the plan because I could start to get too careful, and then I did get a little too careful at the end and he did have the rail down.”

With no clears ahead of her and knowing her partner’s fancy footwork, she knew her best bet was to set the pace and let luck do the rest. 

“He’s got a naturally fast pace, so I wanted to try and keep it smooth and moving everywhere and hoped all the rails stayed up,” she continued. “Obviously it was very unexpected to have a bunch of horses go in there and end up on four faults, so you have that in the back of your mind that you could have a rail too. You might as well keep going and then even if you have one down, you’ll end up in the top of the mix.”

Laura Chapot & Chandon Blue are presented as winners of the $62,500 Ethel M Chocolates CSI2* Grand Prix by Pamela Mars. Photo by Sportfot

Chapot has been partnered with the gelding for many years and taken many victories in Wellington International’s main arena, and the pair have found their sweet spot at the two-star level. 

“I think this is a nice level for him at his age,” Chapot continued. “It’s still a challenge; these classes are not easy, they tend to be extremely fast and tricky enough, but it’s just a nice spot for him. He’ll tell us when he doesn’t want to do it anymore, but right now he’s all about it.”

Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) slated only four faults on the board but his time of 36.06 seconds with his own 14-year-old Oldenburg mare, Chacco Bumpy (Chacco-Blue x Toulon) ran second to Chapot’s time of 35.64 seconds. Grant Seger book-ended the podium with another ribbon for the U.S. after piloting his own 12-year-old Oldenburg mare, Frieda (Balou du Rouet x Canturo) into third.

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