September 14, 2009 -- Already the owner of two Olympic team gold medals from 2004 and 2008 with rider McLain Ward, the 14-year-old Belgian mare Sapphire continues to pick up accolades around the world.
This time it was the CN International at the Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The CN International is one of the most prestigious (and richest--worth $1 million CAD) Grand Prix on the planet.
Sapphire and Ward were one of only two second round clears over Leopoldo Palacios' tough track, which proved too testing for the other 43 horses in the field. This forced a jump off with reigning Olympic individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze and Hickstead (CAN). Sapphire prevailed by less than 3/100ths of a second in a jump-off for the ages.
This win ran her current Grand Prix streak to three. Owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock, the popular mare made the trip from her home at Ward's farm in Brewster, N.Y., to Calgary worthwhile, picking up $325,000 CAD for her effort.