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 (left), 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.
Final Results: $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix presented by Suncast
1 URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/0/37.63
2 E MUZE YEK: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Carthago
DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Darragh Kerins & Maarten Huygens: 0/0/38.87
3 ROMANTOVICH TAKE ONE: 2000 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Karandasj
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: and Windsor Show Stables: 0/0/39.06
4 TIC TAC: 2003 SBS stallion by Clinton x Darco
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 0/0/40.33
5 WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z
MCLAIN WARD (USA), The Wannahave Group: 0/4/38.98
6 CASEY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Ircolando x Ferro
MATTIAS TROMP (USA), Bayaert Farm Inc.: 0/4/42.05
7 UTAN: 2001 KWPN gelding by Burggraaf x Concorde
ANGELA COVERT-LAWRENCE (CAN), Eastwood Group: 0/4/52.37
8 LILLI: 2004 German Sport Horse mare by Lefevre x Diamir
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Dietmar Gugler & Gotham Enterprizes: 0/15/55.18
9 CARTIER: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Caretino x Zeus
MAX AMAYA (ARG), Stonehenge Stables: 0/ret.
10 ROTHCHILD: 2001 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 4/76.25
11 ZERLY: 2004 KPWN mare by Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/77.67
12 ROUNDTHORN MADIOS: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Condios x Clover Hill
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms, LLC: 4/77.89
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc
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