“I come here to win—the ranking points, the prize money, it’s all important.”
And that’s precisely what he did.
Canada’s Eric Lamaze captured two classes at the Spruce Meadows’ North American tournament in Calgary, AB on Thursday.
It was precisely one less class than he set out to win and twice as many classes as anyone else did that day.
The three-time Olympic medalist’s winning day started with the ATCO Cup 1.45m designed by Spain’s Santiago Varela.
Some 47 horse-and-rider combinations contested the first round, of which seven advanced to the jump off. Lamaze jumped to victory with a double clear in 39.51 seconds aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Chesney—they were over a second faster than runners-up Mario Deslauriers and Jamaica van Paemel’s time of 40.800 seconds.
(Lamaze also took ninth on Quality FZ. The nine-year-old Selle Itailano finished the first round on a single time fault.)
That evening, the current world #4 returned to the International Ring with his Rio bronze-medal winning partner, Fine Lady 5, to claim the Progress Energy Cup 1.55m.
With only five of the 38 starters posting a clear in the first round, Lamaze once again took the top honors with the quickest double clear of the short track, stopping the clock as 45.87 seconds to take over the lead from Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel and Babel, who were forced to settle for second.
The only class the consistent Canadian entered and didn’t win on Thursday was the AON Cup 1.50m, which went to 21-year-old Hunter Holloway (USA) and Easter Jam. Lamaze finished third with Houston.
“When you come here (Spruce Meadows) you bring the best (horses), the best 1.45m, the best 1.50m and the best 1.55m,” said Lamaze.
Presumably, he’s hoping to save the very best for last. Thursday’s Progress Energy Cup class was the last chance for riders to qualify for Saturday’s ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup Grand Prix, a class Lamaze no doubt plans to win as well.