Calgary, Alberta – Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, currently ranked number one in the world, and Hickstead won the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup held Saturday, July 10, during the Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament in Calgary, AB.
The win marked the third day in a row that Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, stood in the winner’s circle in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows. On Thursday, the same day it was announced that he had taken over the top spot in the Rolex Rider Rankings, Lamaze and his Olympic partner Hickstead claimed victory in the $35,000 D-Line Construction Cup. On Friday, it was Take Off that carried Lamaze to victory over 54 entries in the $31,000 Pepsi Challenge.
For Saturday’s prestigious $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Lamaze once again called on his Olympic gold medal partner. Despite rainy conditions, the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion, owned in partnership with Ashland Stables and Lamaze’s Torrey Pines Stable, was up to the task, delivering two clear rounds before advancing to a five-horse jump-off. When Lamaze moved into the lead with yet another clear round in a time of 46.17 seconds, only Lamaze’s former teammate, Mario Deslauriers who now competes for the United States, remained. Deslauriers had the time riding Urico, stopping the clock in 43.31 seconds, but a rail down gave Lamaze the victory, making him the first rider to lay claim to the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup a record three times.
“The jump-off was very competitive, and I knew Mario’s horse would be really fast,” said Lamaze of the all-deciding final round, which also included Brianne Goutal and Ashlee Bond of the United States, as well as 2004 Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil. “But Hickstead felt really good, and he jumped clear yet again. He has only had one rail down over the five weeks we have been competing at Spruce Meadows.”
Of Hickstead, the horse that carried Lamaze to the only Individual Gold Medal ever won by a Canadian in show jumping, Lamaze reflected, “I don't think there's going to be another Hickstead. You get a horse like that once in your career. There are very few horses that can do this week in and week out and stay on top of their game. Hickstead is a horse that can do that. Once you get lucky enough to have a horse like that, it really changes your career.”
Having also won the $200,000 CN Reliability Grand Prix during the Spruce Meadows “National” Tournament in June, Lamaze was in line for a $50,000 bonus. Added to the $66,000 in prize money for his win in the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Lamaze pocketed a total of $116,000 for the day’s work.
The additional $116,000 moved Lamaze into second position on the Spruce Meadows all-time money list, ahead of Olympic Team Gold Medalist Beezie Madden of the United States. Lamaze is now poised to take over top spot from nine-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, who has $2,691,331 in career earnings at Spruce Meadows compared to Lamaze’s $2,677,002.
With only $14,000 separating him from top spot, Lamaze could very well get the job done on the final day of the “North American” Tournament. He will ride Sidoline in the $75,000 Sun Life Financial Reach for the Sun Cup, followed by the $175,000 Mercedes-Benz Classic Derby where Atlete Van T Heike will be his top hope for yet another victory. Both horses are owned by the Ziegler family’s Artisan Farms, LLC. Lamaze is also leading the $50,000 G&C Farm Rider’s Cup standings, which rewards consistency throughout the Spruce Meadows summer tournaments. If he remains on top following Sunday’s competition, Lamaze will receive a $25,000 bonus.
Following the CSI5* Spruce Meadows “North American” Tournament, Lamaze will return to Europe to contest CSIO5* Aachen, Germany, from July 13-17 followed by CSI5* Chantilly, France, and CSI5* San Patrignano, Italy. On the long-term horizon are the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, from September 25 to October 10.
For more information, please visit www.torreypinesstable.com.
PHOTO: Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze, currently ranked number one in the world, guided Hickstead to victory for a record third time in the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on July 10 during the CSI5* Spruce Meadows “North American Tournament in Calgary, AB. Photo Credit – Spruce Meadows