Devon, Pa.—May 31
Todd Minikus and Quality Girl didn’t have the best start to the week.
On Thursday, the notoriously speedy rider came into the jump-off for the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon looking to ride for blue. But the snaffle rein on his bridle broke en route to the second fence, and suddenly he found himself without the same control.
“I tried to get the five strides and she hung up a little too much at the triple bar and jumped too high,” said Minikus, Wellington, Fla. “When I was on stride three I panicked, and there was no way I was going to be able to leave in five, and I pulled to fit in the sixth stride and the eye hook pulled out of the leather.”
Minikus settled for second there behind Paul O’Shea and Primo de Revel, so he came back today hungrier than ever to win the $50,000 Idle Dice Stakes. He sliced a turn to the second-to-last fence in the jump-off to earn the win over Pumped Up Kicks and 17-year-old Lillie Keenan, with McLain Ward and HH Ashley taking third.
Eleven of the 25 starters over Olaf Petersen’s course found a clear track. Ward served as the pathfinder, putting down an deceptively efficient track on the mare he recently started campaigning for Double H Farms that held up for several trips.
“I watched McLain go, then Lillie really laid down a nice trip,” said Minikus. I’m always joking with Lillie and some of the younger kids that when we’re in the jump-off it’s nice to play ‘Old guy wins.’ She wasn’t playing very nice!”
Minikus has had the ride on the 11-year Oldenburg (Quidam’s Rubin—Dodirka) since the end of 2012, and that mare’s earned major wins at venues like Live Oak International (Fla.), FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) and the National Horse Show (Ky.)
“She’s a pure winner,” he said. “She tries so hard every day. She really likes competing; she’s not a good horse if you give her time off. She likes to go, go go. All of us have had horses that like to win and when you get one that really likes to win, it’s a lot of fun.”
A Meaningful Win
Minikus’ blue ribbon boosted him to the reserve open jumper title behind Laura Chapot and Zelous, who have been consistent winners all week. Chapot also rode Quointreau un Prince in the Idle Dice Stakes, finishing 10th after logging four faults in the jump-off, but she didn’t leave empty handed.
In addition to the open jumper championship, Chapot earned the leading open rider title, an award she’s won several times before, and a brand new honor this year: the Carol Hofmann Thompson Leading Lady Rider title. That felt especially important to her.
“She and my parents were on the [U.S. Equestrian Team] together,” said Chapot. “She was always there to lend a hand to anyone. She was a person you could call in the middle of the night, and she’d be there. She lent me a horse when I needed one for equitation finals one year, and gave me advice if I had a question. It’s a great that she has a trophy here at Devon, and to be the first name on it is a great honor.”
Back In The Tack
Candice King finished fifth on Balous Day Date after that horse logged two clean and clear rounds, but she was grinning as big as if they’d won the day. This winter King took a tumble off that horse while schooling at home, fracturing her neck and back. This is Balous Day Date’s best result since coming back to the show ring with King.
Taking A Chance
Course Designer Olaf Petersen made riders in the $20,000 Amateur-Owner Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic work hard for their ribbons. No one managed a clear round, and after five 4-faulters jumped off, Adrienne Marciano emerged on top with Laspari. That boosted her to a tie with second-placed Leah De Martini for both the division championship and the leading amateur-owner jumper rider title, but the classic served as a tie breaker, giving Marciano the titles.
Marciano, Berwyn, Pa., took a chance on a long distance in the jump-off that paid off when Laspari left the rails up.
“It was a little crazy,” she admitted. “It was probably not so smart, but once I was clean I was like OK I got this. If we survived that we can survive the rest of it.
“I was happy just getting a ribbon today and going clean, but the added bonus of winning is amazing,” Marciano continued. “I am over the moon excited.”