Wellington, Fla. – March 9, 2018 – On Friday, USA Dressage announced that Laura Graves and Shelly Francis will compete and represent the United States at the FEI World Cup Finals in Paris, France April 11-15. Graves will compete with her 16-year-old KWPN gelding, Verdades (Florett As – Lilwilarda, Goya) and Francis will bring Patricia Stemple’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Danilo (De Niro 6 – Annabelle, Andiamo).
No strangers to the FEI World Cup Finals arena, Graves and Verdades will make their third appearance at the finals. In 2015, the pair appeared at their first World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they placed fifth in the Grand Prix with a score of 74.314 percent and fourth in the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 79.125 percent. In 2017, they returned to the prestigious indoor competition at the World Cup Finals in Omaha, Nebraska. That year they placed second in the Grand Prix, with a score of 79.8 percent and second in the Grand Prix Freestyle with a score of 85.307 percent.
This year, the American pair are aiming to top the leaderboard against the returning champions, world’s top-ranked pair Isabell Werth and Weihgold OLD. Graves and Verdades earned their qualifying scores at the 2018 Adequan Global Dressage Festival. In the third week of AGDF, the pair earned a score of 79.63 percent in the Grand Prix and a score of 84.674 percent in the Grand Prix Freestyle. Week Eight saw a score of 78.022 percent earned in the Grand Prix and a score of 84.975 percent earned in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Fellow teammate, Francis will compete in her first World Cup Finals and the first World Cup Finals for her mount Danilo. The pair has been competing internationally for the United States since 2013. Francis also earned her qualifying scores with Danilo during AGDF, where she earned a score of 72.625 percent in the Grand Prix and a score of 77.725 percent in the Grand Prix Freestyle during Week One’s CDI-W. Francis returned to the CDI-W ring during the third week with Danilo to receive a score of 73.870 percent in the Grand Prix and a score of 76.15 percent in the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The FEI World Cup Finals will take place in Paris, France April 11-15.