Todd Minikus and Alaska win $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix

Washington, D.C. - October 24, 2009 - In an exciting three horse jump-off, Todd Minikus (USA) 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 (USA) and Lirving du Volsin finished second, while Mario Deslauriers (USA) and Vicomte D were third.

Tonight’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 (USA) 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 (BRA) 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.

Final Results: $100,000 President's Cup Grand Prix, CSI-W
T/A: 77.00 T/A: 45.00

1 42 ALASKA TODD MINIKUS USA 0.00 73.72 0.00 34.55, CALLIE SEAMAN
2 32 LIRVING DU VOLSIN KATE LEVY USA 0.00 76.50 0.00 36.32, LA HORSEPOWER & KATE LEVY
3 6 VICOMTE D MARIO DESLAURIERS USA 0.00 70.69 4.00 34.48, JANE F. CLARK
4 4 CARLOS-BOY KEN BERKLEY USA 1.00 78.84, KRISTA AND ALEXA WEISMAN
5 63 NIGHT TRAIN RODRIGO PESSOA BRA 4.00 67.17, DOUBLE H FARM
6 98 COULETTO K. JAMES McLAIN WARD USA 4.00 72.58, KATIE DINAN LLC.
7 59 CAPITANO DANIELLE TORANO USA 4.00 73.27, SIR RULY
T8 11 UP CHIQUI KENT FARRINGTON USA 4.00 73.42, BOONE/DOOBS/FARRINGTON
T8 45 VIA VOLO ALISON ROBITAILLE USA 4.00 73.42, M/M BERTRAM FIRESTONE
10 30 GREAT AMERICAN MARK LEONE USA 4.00 75.23, RI-ARM FARM & ALL SEASONS
11 2 STREET OF DIAMONDS GEORGINA BLOOMBERG USA 4.00 76.23, GOTHAM ENTERPRIZES
12 60 OLIVER JUDY GAROFALO TORRES USA 5.00 77.20, HIGHER GROUND FARMS