Todd Minikus and Alaska Are Cool Under Pressure to Win $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix at the 2009 WIHS, CSI 4*-W
RELEASE: October 24, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Wood and Lauren Fisher
In an exciting three-horse jump-off, Todd Minikus and Alaska were the fastest clear round to win the $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix World Cup qualifier presented by The Boeing Company. Kate Levy and Lirving du Volsin finished second, while Mario Deslauriers and Vicomte D were third. Earlier in the evening, Samantha Schaefer was victorious in the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals.
Saturday night's courses were designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, and out of the 29 entries in the class, only three could find the path to the jump-off. Ken Berkley and Carlos Boy, owned by Alexa and Krista Weisman, just missed the jump-off by accumulating one time fault in 78.84 seconds to finish fourth. Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil kicked up his speed after having a rail down to finish as the fastest four-faulter in 67.17 seconds on Night Train, owned by Double H Farm.
The first to return in the jump-off was Levy and Lirvin du Volsin, owned by LA Horsepower and Kate Levy. She went for the safe, clear round, but was very efficient with her speed. She finished clear in 36.32 seconds and would have to wait and see how the riders chased her time.
Levy noted, "I was really happy with my jump-off. This is definitely the biggest grand prix that I have had to do with that horse. I was not expecting much with these two behind me, so I just really wanted to jump a clear round and be as neat as possible because my horse is so game, but I didn't want to take too many risks and have a rail."
New U.S. Equestrian Team rider Mario Deslauriers (formerly of Canada) piloted Vicomte D, owned by Jane F. Clark, next in the jump-off. Deslauriers turned up the speed and galloped down to the final oxer, but they had the front rail down for four faults in 34.48 seconds.
"The last two big classes that I have done with him in the jump-off I have had the last fence down," Deslauriers said of Vicomte D, an 11-year-old Belgian gelding. "He has been jumping great and tonight he really put on a good show. It is just a matter of keeping at it, and the luck will come back because he is a very quick horse and he wins a lot of classes."
It all came down to Minikus as the final rider in the ring on Alaska, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Callie Seaman. Minikus made a very tight turn from the first vertical back to the next oxer and then continued that speed through the rest of the shortened course. He galloped over the final oxer and stopped the timers in 34.55 seconds for the win.
"It looked like Kate did her jump-off just right. Not crazy, but prompt, and then it put the pressure on Mario and myself to have to go a bit," Minikus explained. "I got to the gate just to watch the end of Mario's and in typical Mario form he looked like he was going pretty quick and had a little bad luck at the last jump. I thought my turn from one to two was maybe a little quicker and then I did the same number of strides to the third jump and just tried to stay inside of the footprints."
Minikus had kind words for Alaska, who won multiple grand prix events this year including the grand prix qualifier in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. "He has a lot of quality. He is a careful horse, and he is very good with his technique. He doesn't have enough mileage really at this point, but he always gives it a good effort. When he guesses, he usually guesses with the right answer, so he is a very enjoyable horse, and I am very glad I have him to ride."
It has been 19 years since Minikus last won the President's Cup Grand Prix, and he was happy to receive once again the President of the United States Perpetual Cup. "There is history behind the President's Cup; it is for sure one of our most prestigious grand prix. It starts off the indoor circuit, so any win is a good win for sure."
Minikus won the Leading Jumper Rider Award sponsored by the Blundon Family, and was awarded the Margaret Chovnick Memorial Trophy. Andres Rodriguez of Venezuela was named the Leading International Rider.
Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, was the top junior rider in the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals. She led from the beginning with a top score of 87.92 in the hunter phase, and added a jumper phase score of 86.92. She was the last to return in the Top 10 work-off and was feeling the pressure from Chase Boggio, of Canton, GA, who had a high score in the work-off of 89.67. The top 10 riders switched horses, and Boggio masterfully rode Molly Braswell's The General to increase the leading point total to 261.999.
Although Boggio and Braswell both train with Bob Braswell and Christina Schlusemeyer, Boggio had never ridden The General before. "He is in the same barn as I am, but I had actually never ridden him before today. I don't think I could have been any luckier with the draw though," he said. "I have seen him go enough to know what he is like. He was sort of similar to my horse. You just have to ride him forward like a hunter a little bit, so it wasn't too big of a difference."
Boggio won the equitation championships at Capital Challenge Horse Show and was seventh in the USEF Medal Finals. He said of his mount Graphiq, "I just feel like I really click with him. I have just gone in with really no expectations, and it has all just sort of come together all at once."
Schaefer returned on Lucy Davis' mount Patrick as the last to go. She had a smooth round and a bold final line. The judges rewarded her with a score of 91.67 for the work-off and a total of 266.498 for the win. Schaefer trains with Andre Dignelli, Kim Stewart, Kirsten Coe, Patricia Griffith, and Don Stewart.
"It went really well. I thought I stayed pretty consistent through all three phases, and I got pretty lucky. I got a really nice horse to ride in the final phase too," Schaefer said of Patrick. "I didn't know anything about the horse. I have never seen it go, but they told me a lot about it and it rode just like they said. He was really easy. I think it is a young horse, but he has a really big stride and he doesn't really move you over the jumps."
This was only the third time that Schaefer has shown Travino. "I have never shown my horse in the jumper phase," she remarked. "He is young. He did the First Years earlier in the week. He is really sweet to ride, he is easy, and he has a nice rhythm. He is fun; I like him a lot."
Tina DiLandri of La Jolla, CA, had scores of 82.33 and 86 with her mount Cadeau and a score of 76 in the work-off on Boggio's Graphiq for a total of 244.330 and third place. Lucy Davis of Los Angeles, CA, finished fourth with a total of 243.582, while Reed Kessler of Armonk, NY, was fifth with 240.999 points.
For her win tonight, Schaefer was awarded the WIHS Equitation Classic Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. G. Ralph Ours III. Schaefer's mount Travino, owned by Heritage Farm, won the Lugano Memorial Trophy donated by Stone Hill.
The $10,000 Senator's Cup Junior Jumper Stake kicked off the jumper competition on Saturday with a class of 20 entries. Eight of the original entries jumped clear over the first round course, and six of those jump-off rounds went clean to race against the clock. The horses and riders laid down rounds with increasing speed as they maneuvered the shortened course, and it was 16-year-old Samantha Harrison of La Canada, CA, and her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Santika, who came out on top. Harrison and Santika jumped clear in a very fast time of 30.911 seconds to win the class. Laura Pfeiffer rode Thorstin, owned by Fox Meadow Farm of Temperance, MI, to the second-place honors with their clear round in 31.391 seconds. Alexandra Thornton and Naomi, owned by Dunwalke, LLC, finished in third with the final clear round of the jump-off in 31.400 seconds.
Harrison and Santika were awarded the Swan Lake Perpetual Trophy, which was donated by Beagle Brook Farm in honor of the 1992 class winner Swan Lake, ridden by Jennifer F. Miller.
Along with her win in the class, Harrison was also awarded the reserve championship in the Junior Jumper division for her success in the classes throughout the week. Saturday's winners Reed Kessler and Flight were awarded the championship tricolor for their great week of competition. Kessler and Flight were awarded the Greenberg Challenge Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Herman Greenberg.
Following the championship presentations, two riders were presented with special awards. Laura Pfeiffer was presented with the Shalanno Style of Riding Award, sponsored by Shalanno Farms. The award is presented each year to the Junior Jumper rider who best exemplifies the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified manner of a true sportsman.
Hasbrouck Donovan was then presented with the award for Best Child Rider on a Horse, sponsored by Georgina Bloomberg. The DiVecchia Perpetual Trophy, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Frederick DiVecchia, was awarded to Donovan for demonstrating the highest quality in horsemanship and sportsmanship combined with good appearance and courtesy. Donovan rode Confidential, owned by Don Stewart, to the Grand Junior Hunter Championship earlier in the week.
The $15,000 Open Jumper Pairs Relay was held next with the win going to Shane Sweetnam aboard UnaDonja and Charlie Jayne aboard Carentina III. Marilyn Little-Meredith and Calmar 3 paired up with Margie Engle and Hidden Creek's Pamina L for the second-place finish.
The 2009 Washington International Horse Show finishes tomorrow with hunter competition, including championships for the pony and local hunters. The World of the Horse special exhibition will conclude the show.
For more information and full results, please visit www.wihs.org