Canada’s Eric Lamaze 5th with Fine Lady 5
Lucas Porter (USA), 21, started the final week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) with a CSI 5* win in the $36,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m in the International Arena on Wednesday, March 27.
WEF comes to an end with the final week of competition, sponsored by Rolex, running through March 31. Highlighting the action is the pinnacle $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* in the WEF International Arena during “Saturday Night Lights” on Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. In addition, hunters will take to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village with the first round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on Saturday, March 30.
The final day of the 2019 WEF season will host the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Round Two at 1 p.m. on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village, as well as the $50,000 Puissance America Grand Prix CSI 2* and $50,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m National Grand Prix in the WEF International Arena, on Sunday, March 31, at 1 p.m.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil set the track for Wednesday’s two-round event with 54 entries breaking the timers. One of the youngest challengers of the day, Porter was also the fastest crossing the final finish line in 25.79 seconds aboard his long-time partner Diamante Darco, owned by Sleepy P Ranch. Jumping among the first 10 horses, Porter stopped the clock at 25.79 seconds with 44 to return after him.
“It feels great to close WEF with a win and cap it off like this at the highest level of our sport,” said Porter. “Guilherme had a great course for the opening class and there were parts of the speed phase where you could run, but also sharp turns. I was really quick to the double and then the last couple fences I really shaped the turns and did as few strides as possible.”
Diamante Darco’s experience helped Porter to leave out strides and shave seconds off his time. He explained, “She’s so careful I know I can take a risk and she will keep the fences up.”
Porter has had the ride on the 14-year-old GBSH mare by Unbelievable Darco for four years after his older brother Wilton also piloted the mare for two years.
“She’s a fighter with big heart and a really great horse,” he noted of the horse he calls “Bridget” around the barn. “I can run her in a speed class or jump the big grand prix with her. We started in the high amateur-owners with her and then together moved up to the under 25 grand prix. Now we have jumped all the way up to the five-star level. I love her to death!”
Porter sealed the victory by less than a second over fellow U.S. rider Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Prince of Peace. They crossed the timers in 25.97 seconds for owner Bull Run Jumpers Six, LLC. A rare tie on the clock joined Ireland’s Daniel Coyle riding Farrel, owned by Ariel Grange, and Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) aboard Artillo, owned by Enny Isabel Salgado Negrete, for third place in 26.15 seconds. Canada’s Eric Lamaze rounded out the top five in 26.22 seconds riding Fine Lady 5 for owner Artisan Farms, LLC, and Torrey Pines Stables.
Competition returns to the WEF International Arena on Thursday, March 27, with the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 CSI 5* beginning at 10:15 a.m.
Final Results: $36,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 5* 1.45m
1. Diamonte Darco: 2005 Gbsh Mare By Unbelievable Darco X Unknown
Lucas Porter (USA), Sleepy P Ranch Llc: 0/0/25.79
2. Bull Run’s Prince Of Peace: 2009 Holsteiner Gelding By Cardenio X Contender
Kristen Vanderveen (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Six Llc: 0/0/25.97
3. Farrel: 2010 Kwpn Gelding By Cardento
Daniel Coyle (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/0/26.15
3. Artillero: 2007 Selle Français Gelding By Cabdula Du Tilllard X Carthago
Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX), Enny Isabel Salgado Negrete: 0/0/26.15
5. Fine Lady 5: 2003 Hanoverian Mare By Forsyth X Drosselklang Ii Eric Lamaze (CAN), Artisan Farms Llc & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/0/26.22