Lacey Gilbertson Claims Victory in the $25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix

Lacey Gilbertson and Baloppi

Wellington, Fla. — Jan. 21, 2018 — Twenty-four-year-old Lacey Gilbertson took the win in the $25,000 Hermes U25 Grand Prix on the second Sunday of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). The class kicked off competition in the International Ring Sunday morning on the final day of Week 2 of the 12-week event. A field of 45 competitors was narrowed down to six, who would return for the jump-off at the end of the grand prix event. Gilbertson was the last to go during the tiebreaker and claimed victory with barely a second to spare over Hunter Holloway.

Gilbertson was the last of the round-one competitors to secure a spot in the jump-off aboard the 11-year-old Danish Warmblood Baloppi, owned by Seabrook LLC. Only five athletes previous to her had managed to lay down a faultless ride during the opening track, while many were bested by the end-fence. Time and time again the final fence, consisting of a vertical with all-white rails and a small liverpool underneath, bested an otherwise flawless round.

Taylor St Jacques and Qantar Des Etisses

While most fault accumulations were due to a fence error, the time allowed narrowed the jump-off competition even more as several riders managed to clear all challenging obstacles only to accumulate unfortunate time faults. Three riders including David Oberkircher, Adrienne Sternlicht, and Claire McKean were all beaten by the clock after managing to keep all the fences up.

The final jump-off consisted of only a handful of jumps and brought back Gilbertson, Holloway, Emily Moffitt, Ailish Cunniffe, Taylor St. Jacques, and Alexanne Thibault. Moffitt and the 14-year-old Warmblood gelding Zagahorn owned by Poden Farms laid down a flawless second trip, but were quickly overtaken by Hunter Holloway. Holloway and Eastern Jam, the Hays Investment Corporations 9-year-old KWPN gelding, held the lead until the very last challenger, Gilbertson, raced through the timers in a blazing 31.756 seconds.

Lacey Gilbertson and Baloppi

FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Lacey Gilbertson —  $25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix winner
On her horse:
“She’s very quick naturally, so I never feel like I need to run that fast as long as I stay tight.”

On the U25 Series:
“I think it’s really important as a nice transition phase from the High Amateurs and Juniors to the grand prix, especially for me as an amateur. It’s nice to be able to go in and jump a bigger track to build your confidence, but not have to be competing against McLain and Beezie.”

On the course:
“The first round had a three-stride by the in-gate that was really getting people, so I really focused on that. My trainer and I actually debated on whether to do eight or nine to the last jump so that we wouldn’t get too flat but my horse already has a little bit of a left drift. For us, it was all about getting the line done early so I could sit up at the end and support her and give her the room she needed so that she wouldn’t drop her front end at the liverpool.”

Hunter Holloway and Eastern Jam

Hunter Holloway — Second Place
On her horse:
“He’s a horse I bought about two years ago and I brought him from the 1.20m to this so it has been so exciting to see where he’s at now in his career and to be able to grow with him. He’s a very fast horse and has a huge stride, so I was trying just to let him use his stride to our advantage.”

On the U25 Series:
“It’s a great stepping stone for young riders. Instead of having to step immediately into the Olympic level you have a stepping stone to get you to the Olympic level.”

On her future goals:
“I graduated high school a year early to focus and I went into it as a professional right off my junior years. I knew from a young age this is what I wanted to do and I’m going to give it my all.”

Emily Moffitt and Zagahorn

Emily Moffitt — Third Place
On her horse:
“Ziggy is my favorite and he was my first horse ever. He actually colic’d several years ago and I was told he would never jump again. He only had a 20 percent chance of living, but I sat with him in quarantine every day and he ended up making a miraculous recovery. He loves this sport and just zipping around and having fun. He had two surgeries for it and I was told I should consider putting him down. I said absolutely not; he’s such a fighter in and out of the ring that I knew he’d pull through.”

On the U25 Series:
“I’m constantly competing on the Global [Champions Tour events] against the top 30 in the world and it gets overwhelming sometimes. It’s nice to be able to compete at a level where I’m competing with people my age. I actually feel it’s more competitive in this under 25 division than some of the Globals and it makes it more fun.”

On her future goals:
“I live, breathe, and sleep horses. My goal is the next Olympics, which is what my trainer and I have been working on and we seem to be on the right track.”

RESULTS

FEI $25,000 Hermes Under 25 Grand Prix
Place / Horse / Rider / R1 Faults | Time / JO Faults | Time
1. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / 0 | 70.66 / 0 | 31.756
2. Eastern Jam / Hunter Holloway / 0 | 68.33 / 0 | 32.613
3. Zagahorn / Emily Moffitt / 0 | 71.05 / 0 | 32.793
4. Baloucento 2 / Ailish Cunniffe / 0 | 67.7 / 0 | 33.60
5. Qantar Des Etiss / Taylor St. Jacques / 0 | 70.24 / 4 | 31.46
6. Chacco Prime / Alexanne Thibault / 0 | 68.97 / 4 | 34.70
7. Upper / David Oberkircher / 1 | 72.12
8. Quidam MB / Adrienne Sternlicht / 1 | 72.73
9. Eregast Van’t Ki / Claire Mckean / 1 | 74.84
10.Cashew CR / ALEX MATZ / 4 | 67.66
11.Great White / Daisy Farish / 4 | 68.06
12.Julio VH Elzehno / Giavanna Rinaldi / 4 | 68.54

For full results, click here.

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