Wellington's Todd Minikus and Alaska Win $75,000 ESP CSI** Grand Prix at Home
RELEASE: February 26, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Ken Braddick
Wellington's Todd Minikus on Alaska beat out Yann Candele of Canada on Pitareusa in a two-horse jumpoff in the $75,000 Equestrian Sport Productions' CSI** Grand Prix at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival Saturday night.
Minikus and Alaska, owned by Callie Seaman, claimed the victory with the only double clear in a class that had 55 starters under the lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Candele and Pitareusa, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, had the time in the jump-off but toppled a rail to land them in second place.
Riders from 11 nations tried to conquer the course designed by Christa Heibach of Aachen, Germany, but it proved too much of a challenge.
Of his winning jump-off round Minikus said, "In my old age I am starting to slow down. Jimmy Williams once said to me a long time ago, 'You go too fast; double clears will make you famous.' Tonight it worked."
Although Alaska has placed in 1.50 meter and WEF Challenge Cup series classes, this was the first time in a major grand prix for the horse that Minikus described as "awesome."
Candele said that based on the design of the course he expected more clear rounds, but the time allowed changed that perspective.
Following the clear jump-off by Minikus, Candele went for it but said he "took too much of an angle on the orange Hermes vertical and had it down." His time was 38.37 seconds, well ahead of Minikus on 41.58 seconds, but the rail down decided the outcome.
"The horses have been jumping well as a whole," Minikus said. "The course designer's hands were tied a little with the dimensions because of it being a two star. She did have some riding questions in there and there was a definite scope test with the triple combination and with the time you really needed to make it up in the open distances."