Calgary, Alberta – The all-time money winner at Spruce Meadows, Canada’s Eric Lamaze widened the gap even further by scoring victory riding Chacco Kid in the $133,700 CANA Cup on Thursday, September 5, during the CSIO5* Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament in Calgary, AB.
Coming into the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, running through Sunday, September 8, Lamaze had amassed over $6 million in career winnings at the iconic Canadian show jumping venue.
In the $133,700 CANA Cup, Lamaze was one of 14 riders to qualify for the jump-off after leaving all the rails in place over the tough 1.60m track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. The first to return for the jump-off, Lamaze laid it all on the line, jumping clear in a time of 37.80 seconds and setting the challenge for those who followed. Try as they might, none could catch the 2008 Olympic Champion’s time. Rowan Willis of Australia came closest, stopping the clock in 40.72 seconds – almost three full seconds slower.
“You rarely win these classes going first in a jump-off,” remarked Lamaze, 51. “There’s always somebody that will find a way to sneak in on you a little bit or can see where you left a little gap, but Chacco Kid was quite fast today. The distances were all in front of me and forward so I just kept going, and he kept jumping very careful, so that was my advantage today.
“In general, you can flat-out run to a fence and feel that he’s got his eye right on it, and he’s taking care of you,” Lamaze said of the 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco-Blue x Come On) owned by the Chacco Kid Group. “It just makes you want to ride faster and faster. It’s a great feeling.”
Lamaze is confident heading into the weekend at the ‘Masters’ tournament. On Saturday, he will ride Coco Bongo as a member of the Canadian team in the $530,00 BMO Nations’ Cup. Having finished second in last year’s event, Lamaze and teammates Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, and Mario Deslauriers of New York, NY, will be looking to improve on that result as they take on nine other nations.
On Sunday, Lamaze plans to ride his 2016 Olympic bronze medal partner, Fine Lady 5, in the $3 million CP International, presented by Rolex. Lamaze has won the event twice before, in 2007 and 2011, both times riding the legendary Hickstead.
“This has been a special venue for me since I was much younger than I am now,” said Lamaze, who is based in Brussels, Belgium and Wellington, FL. “I’ve had the greatest memories here at Spruce Meadows; I’ve had the chance to win some major competitions here. One cannot get tired of hearing the noise when you go through the clock tower and into the International Ring. I think it brings out the best in me, and it brings out the best in everyone, because the last thing you want to do is disappoint all of the people cheering.”
Earlier this year, Lamaze scored back-to-back grand prix victories during the Spruce Meadows ‘Summer Series.’ He won the $500,000 CSI5* RBC Grand Prix of Canada, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 8, riding Chacco Kid before claiming the $390,000 CSI5* Friends of the Meadows Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, riding Fine Lady 5 to close out the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ tournament on Sunday, June 16.
For more information on Eric Lamaze and his Torrey Pines Stable, visit www.ericlamaze.com.