Wire-to-Wire Win for Laura Chapot and Chandon Blue in $25,000 HITS Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties
The last week of the spring series at HITS-on-the-Hudson is underway at HITS Saugerties, and Laura Chapot returned to the world-class venue in winning form with a wire-to-wire victory aboard Chandon Blue. The duo dominated the $25,000 HITS Grand Prix on Friday, setting an unbeatable pace during the seven-horse jump-off. Steven Bluman produced the only other double clear effort for second place with Pinot Gris Di Fer, while Christian Coyle and Ma Pomme De Tamerville took home third as the fastest 4-faulter.
“Chandon Blue is a winner at heart,” smiled Chapot after her win. “He’s 18 years old now and he still acts like he’s about 6 years old. He enjoys his job, and he has the sweetest personality in the barn – he really loves attention. He walks and plays in the schooling area every time. It’s just a pleasure for him to go in the ring, and you can’t beat having a horse with that kind of personality.”
Course designer Oscar Soberon posed many questions to the riders in the first round of the $25,000 Grand Prix, including three double combinations carefully placed throughout the expansive Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Stadium. Seven were able to clear the course and advance to the jump-off. The tiebreaking track included a tight rollback to a vertical-oxer double combination before another sharp turn to a wide oxer. Riders could then make up some valuable time as they galloped to the final bending line that ended heading towards the gate.
Chapot was the first to return for the tiebreaker with Chandon Blue and the duo were on the pace from the start. They found every fence out of the stride, never touching a rail while also making quick turns to clock in at 40.87 seconds with all the rails intact. Christian Coyle was next with Ma Pomme De Tamerville, and they made every effort to try and catch Chapot’s quick time, but a rail at the penultimate fence incurred 4 faults in a time of 42.130 seconds, which would hold up for third place. When Steven Bluman returned with Pinot Gris Di Fer, he knew that Chapot’s time was quick and opted for a more conservative pace in an effort to leave all the fences in place. Their plan paid off as rails continued to fall for the remaining riders, taking the second-place prize with a time of 47.330 seconds, while Chapot returned to lead the lap of honor.