Todd Minikus and Uraguay. Photos – © The Book LLC.
North Salem, NY – May 12, 2013 – Todd Minikus and Legacy Stables’ Uraguay won the highlight event of the first week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by Suncast. They were fastest in the jump-off to beat Darragh Kerins (IRL) on E-Muze Yek and Christine McCrea (USA) with Romantovich Take One. Along with top show jumping, there were Grand Hunter Champions awarded, as well as Classics for the Medium and High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers. This concluded the first week of competition at Old Salem Farm. Week two runs May 14-19.
There were 47 entries in today’s grand prix and they jumped a course designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge. Nine found the way to a clear round to advance to the jump-off.
Minikus said of the course, “The way it was playing out, it was jumping plenty difficult. The triple bar to vertical-vertical combination was tricky. Green horses didn’t jump that that well. There were some unfortunate (rounds for) horses that I expected to go well, an odd four faults here and there. It ended up being enough clear, and ended up being an almost perfect course for the course designer.”
The early pacesetter in the jump-off was Christine McCrea of East Windsor, CT, on Romantovich Take One, owned by Candy Tribble and Windsor Show Stables. They won Friday’s Welcome Stake and set a very fast pace of 39.06 seconds that would hold up for third place in today’s class.
Three horses later it was Minikus and Uraguay, a 12-year-old KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino, who were speedy through the first part of the jump-off, but it was a long run across the field to the Suncast oxer that had the crowd holding their breath. Uraguay gave a great effort, made two more rollbacks, and galloped to the final oxer to stop the timers in 37.36 seconds for the win.
“Boy, he sure gave some good efforts today,” Minikus said with a smile. “That was lightning fast in the jump-off. He was really fast.”
Minikus said he watched McCrea in the jump-off. “For sure with that horse, she’s always very fast,” he acknowledged. “She blistered the course the other day. I legitimately thought that maybe we were all going for the red ribbon and Chris might have closed the door on us. But I took a pretty good chance and long run to the Suncast jump, and I think that’s where the difference was.”
Following Minikus, Leslie Howard and Tic Tac, owned by Jane Clark, were clear in 40.33 seconds for fourth place.
Darragh Kerins and E-Muze Yek, owned by Kerins and Maarten Huygens, were the only others to contest Minikus’ time. Another big grey gelding like Uraguay, E-Muze Yek thundered around the course but couldn’t quite catch the time. Their time of 38.87 seconds was fast enough for second place, the same red ribbon that they received in Friday’s Welcome Stake.
Kerins said afterward, “I just didn’t know how he would handle it after going so quick on Friday, if he was just going to be a little bit rushed today. I thought he handled it very good. The jump-off today was just crazy fast. I saw Chrissy go on the screen and I thought she was unbeatable. It was just so, so, so quick. I didn’t get to see Todd’s round; I just saw his time. After that I didn’t know what to think. But I thought the horse was going good and I was going to give it a shot. That’s probably about as fast as I could go, at this stage in his career. But I’m delighted with him.”
Kerins has ridden the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Carthago off and on since he was imported as a six-year-old by Norman Dello Joio from Belgium. He and Maarten Huygens bought him in the middle of the winter circuit.
“He’s progressed really quickly. We’ve thrown him in there,” he smiled. “In Florida he was good; he placed in a couple 1.50m (classes). My other good mare Lisona got sold, so he really had to step up.”
Kerins added, “Well done to Todd. He had a great round. The numbers are huge and the courses were tough courses. He’ll jump again here next week, have a break, and then go to Spruce Meadows. Actually this was good to see how he’ll handle grass before he goes up there, and he seems to handle it pretty good.”
Minikus started riding Uraguay toward the end of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival after the horse showed successfully in Europe with Dutch rider Albert Zoer and in the United States with Mario Deslauriers.
This was a great win for Minikus, who gave credit to the people around Uraguay. “I’d like to thank everybody at Legacy and Sarah Middleton, who really does all the work. She even flats him before the class. I just get on and ride him in the class, so most of the credit goes to Sarah. And I thank the rest of my sponsors, Purina, Charles Owen, and VitaFlex. Without all of the support and one big team, you can’t do it.”
Minikus was presented with a pewter cheese plate for his win today. Before the grand prix, the smallest riders at the show gathered on the grand prix field for the Dyer Equestrian Leadline class. All of the kids participating were congratulated with blue ribbons and prizes.
After a week of final exams at Harvard University, Katie Dinan came to Old Salem Farm ready to get back on her horse and in the ring. She and her trusty partner of five years, Vancouver, galloped to victory on the grass Grand Prix Field in the $10,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. She and Vancouver, a 15-year-old gelding by Voltaire II, beat a list of 33 competitors and five in the jump-off after they finished in the fastest time of 41.24 seconds. Second place went to Michael Hughes on Luxina as the only other double clear in 42.76 seconds. Finishing in 39.55 seconds, but with four faults, Lillie Keenan and Vanhattan were third.
Dinan came in just for today’s class. She explained, “I love this horse show; it’s one of my favorites of all year. When I realized I had exams these two weeks, I was really upset because I always look forward to coming here. My horse felt like he’s jumping the best he has in a while. I think that really speaks about the venue. He’s impressed with this place. To be able to gallop around the big field is really great.”
Dinan showed indoors at the Rolex FEI World Cup Finals in Sweden in April, so it took a bit of an adjustment to the big grass field. “I think when the ring is this big, you have to make sure to keep your pace everywhere. When you’re in an indoor, everything comes up much quicker. Here, especially in the first round, you can have time faults without even feeling slow. In the jump-off today, I planned on being very prompt to the first few jumps. There was a little bit of an inside angle that I took to the third oxer. One of the nice things about a big grass field, you have more range of stride. They can really get on a big stride.”
Since he is 15 years old, Dinan is keeping Vancouver’s show schedule light. “It’s nice though that for when he does show, he steps up to the plate like this and to bring home a big win is really fun,” she acknowledged. “This is a great venue for him. I won my first grand prix ever, on him two years ago here. This horse show has always been very special for me.”
She added with a smile, “I didn’t have a Mother’s Day gift, so I was hoping one of my horses could bring one home! Vancouver did that.”
The winner of today’s $7,500 Medium Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic sponsored by The Manocherian Family was 15-year-old Kira Kerkorian of East Hampton, NY. She rode Leopold 221, a nine-year-old Westphalian gelding by Lordanos, to the top of the 48-entry class. There were 13 that made it through to the jump-off, and the best pair of Kerkorian and Leopold stopped the timers in 40.703 seconds. Second place went to Taylor Burns on Cordero Zaffiro in 40.840 seconds, while Wesley Newlands and Vertigo were third in 41.198 seconds.
For her win today, Kerkorian was also presented with a $500 Der Dau gift certificate.
It was an auspicious start for Kerkorian and Leopold (right) as it’s their first show together, having only been together for a month. “I’ve been learning him. I just wanted to go clear and have a nice, solid round so I could maybe move up to the Highs later on,” Kerkorian said. “I want to take it slow with him because I want to build a good partnership. I think today was great.”
She said of Leopold, “He’s very fast actually. He pulls me to the jump, which is great, because I like something in my hand. He’s super brave; he just wants to go and win. He has his own motor.”
“It feels amazing,” Kerkorian said of her victory. “I really wasn’t expecting it, but I’m so happy.”
In this morning’s 7/8 Year Old Young Jumper Qualifier sponsored by Watershed Agricultural Council, Jeffery Welles rode Bilion to victory for owner Triton Ventures Farms Inc. Darragh Kenny and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Cequila was second, and Penny Brennan on Class Act, owned by Jacquelyn Ventorino, was third.
Grand Champions Reign in Hunter Divisions
The Grand Junior Hunter Champion was Parkland, owned by Jennifer Gates and ridden by Lillie Keenan. The pair was champion in the Small Junior Hunters and placed fifth, second, and second over fences and won the under saddle. The reserve champion in the Small Junior Hunter division was Wonderland, ridden by Morgan Ward for John Skinner. Keenan was also named Best Junior Rider on a Horse.
Keenan has been paired with Parkland since the beginning of January and they had incredible success at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). Keenan said, “After WEF, where he was really successful consistently, we gave him a little break. He went to South Carolina and had a nice vacation for a few weeks, just to get time away from a show. I think it’s good for them to get away and relax. This was his first show starting up again in the spring. He was fantastic. We did what we always do. He’s not a difficult horse to prepare, and he wants to win.”
One of their wins this week was in the Handy class. Keenen called Parkland “really game” and said that he has learned to be more handy and adjusted to her style. “I like to do tight turns and really gallop at the long approaches, to really test the boundaries,” she explained. “He’s gotten used to me and the way that I like to ride him. He’s really learned to go with it. He’s happy to do whatever I ask him. He’s really good at trot fences too, so it’s nice to have a horse that you can really spin back to that. He’s gotten really handy.”
Keenan plans to show Parkland at the Devon Horse Show. “He is really the kind of horse that you can count on for special events, so hopefully that works out for us. He’s fancy, and everything you’d want in your ride to go to Devon,” she remarked.
The Large Junior 15 & Under Hunter division awarded the championship to Catwoman, ridden by Ailish Cunniffe for Missy Clark, and Sophie Michaels and Further Lane Farm’s Mahalo picked up the reserve championship.
Bishonen, ridden by David Oberkircher for Southlands Farms LLC was named champion in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunters, while Cameo, ridden by Mallory Edens for Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Caristo, was the reserve champion.
The Grand Pony Hunter Championship went to Isport, ridden by Morgan Ward for Redfield Farm. They won all four over fences classes and were third in the under saddle to win the championship in the Green Pony Hunters. The reserve champion in the division was Pride, ridden and owned by Francesca Dildabanian.
Fifteen-year-old Ward is from Milford, NJ, and started riding Isport this winter when they started the 11-year-old mare in Ocala. Competing in both the Green and Large Pony Hunters, Ward described, “She goes like one of my junior hunters. She’s very scopey and has a big stride. She’s always honest, with whatever you put her at.”
Imported from Europe by Emil Spadone, Isport had not competed in hunter classes before coming to the U.S., but she learned immediately. “She started out like this and she’s never changed. It’s really weird. We never get (horses like) these!” Ward said with a laugh.
Of the grand championship, Ward said, “It’s nice to have. It means a lot to me, especially on a green pony. It’s nice to have that from schooling her all week and it’s proven in the ring.”
The Small Pony Hunter division, sponsored by Gotham North, awarded the championship to Rolling Stone, owned by Further Lane Farm and ridden by Madeline Schaefer, while the reserve champion was Coco Fath and Blueberry Hill, owned by Jordyn Rose Freedman.
Mimi Gochman swept the Medium Pony Hunters with David Gochman’s True Love as champion and Truly Noble, owned by Pegasus Show Stable Inc., as reserve champion. For her great success this weekend, Gochman was named as the Best Junior Rider on a Pony.
In the Large Pony Hunter division, Pride and Francesca Dildabanian picked up their second championship of the week. Daisy Farish and her pony Beau Rivage were reserve champions.
The Grand Children’s Hunter Champion was They Say, ridden and owned by 16-year-old Page Soper of Southport, CT. They were awarded the Hunter Horse Challenge Trophy. The pair was the Children’s Hunter 15-17 champion. The reserve championship went to Qrocus Landais, ridden and owned by Sabrina Kalimian.
Soper and They Say won all three classes in their division along with the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Hunter Classic. Coming into the second round, they were leading the class. “I was a little nervous, but I knew I could trust him,” Soper said.
They have been together for a year and have competed at shows like Fairfield, Vermont Summer Festival, and Old Salem. This was their first Grand Champion award. “I’m really happy. He was so good. My trainer, Jenni Martin-Rudaz, was so helpful. He’s smooth and listens well,” she noted. Soper hopes to go to the Marshall & Sterling Finals later this year.
The Children’s Hunter 14 & Under championship went to Allura, ridden and owned by Samantha Cohen. For her top riding, Cohen was named Best Child Rider on a Horse. Reserve champion was Troubador, ridden and owned by Daisy Farish.
The Best Children’s Rider on a Pony Award went to Eliza Altman, who was champion in the Children’s Hunter Pony Large division. They were given a plate donated by Pegasus Therapeutic Riding. The reserve champion was Celtics Creek Irish Belle, ridden by Siena Vasan for Peacock Ridge LLC. In the Children’s Hunter Pony Small/Medium division, Beaucatcher, ridden by Sienna Pilla for owner Abigail Blankenship, won the championship and Canterbrook Prince Charming, ridden by Kathryn McCarthy and owned by Joe Currais, was reserve champion.
For full results, please visit www.horseshowsonline.com. The second week of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues on May 14-19.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows celebrate its 31st year in 2013 and offer two weeks of exceptional equestrian sport on May 7-12 and May 14-19 at one of the nation’s premier and newly renovated equestrian facilities, Old Salem Farm, in North Salem, New York. Old Salem’s beautifully manicured grounds, list of elite horses and riders, and fantastic social gatherings draw spectators from Westchester County and beyond to watch horses and ponies of every size compete for almost $500,000 in prize money. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net/mayhome.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations