Laura Graves’ Olympic and World Games medal-winning partner Verdades will make two public appearances at the 2020 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, April 15-19. “Diddy” will headline the Devoucoux Dressage Showcase on Friday afternoon, April 17 and then have his official retirement ceremony on Saturday evening during the intermission of the Grand Prix freestyle,
Graves announced the 18-year-old, Dutch Warmblood (Florett AS—Liwilarda, Goya) gelding’s retirement in January, leading to an outpouring of love and support from his many followers around the world. That spurred a plan to give his fans a chance to see the legendary superstar at the FEI World Cup Final.
“Diddy has so many fans and I wanted to give as many of them as possible a chance to see him before his retirement,” said Graves, who purchased Verdades as a yearling and is the only rider he has ever known. “He has performed on the world’s biggest stages and there really is no bigger stage than the World Cup Finals in Las Vegas, so this is really the perfect place for his formal retirement.”
Verdades first caught the world’s attention when he carried Graves to the reserve championship in the 2014 The Dutta Corp./USEF Grand Prix Dressage National Championship (New Jersey) and then followed that by finishing fifth in the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games (France), the top U.S. finish.
The duo won team gold and individual silver medals at the 2015 Pan American Games (Canada) and then led the U.S. to team bronze, while also finishing fourth individually, at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games (Brazil). In 2017, they won the Grand Prix Special at the CHIO Aachen (Germany), becoming only the fourth U.S. pair ever to win that event. They added team and individual silver medals at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (North Carolina) and then achieved a U.S. first later that fall when they were ranked No. 1 on the FEI World Dressage Rankings.
Verdades and Laura competed in four FEI World Cup Finals, the first in 2015 in Las Vegas where they placed fourth. After skipping the Final in the 2016 Olympic year, they went on to finish second three straight years from 2017-2019.
“Diddy not only achieved every goal we ever set, but he fulfilled dreams that I never even knew I had,” Graves said. “We have traveled the world together and competed at the world’s greatest competitions. I am humbled by the outpouring of love from his many fans and I invite everyone to join us in Las Vegas for this wonderful celebration of his career!”