Danielle Cooper Crowned Queen of Inaugural Bayer’s Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix

Danielle Cooper and Calantus jump to win the Bayer’s Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix. ©ESI Photography
Danielle Cooper and Calantus jump to win the Bayer’s Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix. ©ESI Photography

Saugerties, NY (September 10, 2014) – When Danielle Cooper and Calantus strutted back to the ingate after their Bayer’s Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix jump-off round, they exuded confidence. “You did your part – you rode great,” said Cooper’s trainer Todd Minikus with a pat to Calantus’ rump.

Cooper [Syosset, New York] was one of six jump-off contenders over a course that tested both horse and rider. Danny Foster [Milton, Ontario] presented a true challenge, making each horse and rider work for their hefty checks. Twenty-five combinations qualified from Saturday’s round and six advanced to the jump-off to make a final bid for historic prize money.

Just hours before her trainer took up his throne in the Zoetis Million, Cooper went to the bank with a $75,000 check after the Bayer’s Legend Jumper Prix. The young rider laughed when she admitted the money would go right back to the horses.

“I knew there was a lot on the line and I tried to be as fast as I could without taking unnecessary risk,” said Cooper,  who appeared to have mastered the ‘just enough but not too much’ balance in the jump-off. “I took a pull here or there to be sure I left all the jumps up.”

Calantus [owned by Fidelity Farms, Inc.] tried his heart out for the 23-year old. “The liverpool and skinny zebra plank fences were tough, but I was lucky enough to be on a horse that has seen a lot of tricky jumps before,” said Cooper of her 11-year old Hanoverian gelding. “I have been with him since his seven-year old season, so we have risen through the ranks together.

While victory was sweet for Cooper, she claims it also  served as redemption. Sunday, September 7 was the two-year anniversary of a stroke suffered by her grandfather. That news she heard the morning of her first try at the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in 2012.

“I found out right before riding and didn’t get around the course,” said Cooper. “This makes up for some of that – winning a class I have been aiming for all year. I can’t wait to start moving Calantus up to bigger grand prix from here and see where we go.”

Sean Niland of Bayer is joined by HITS representatives Asia Manning and Lindsay Yandon to present top honors, including a Horseware Ireland cooler and $75,000 winner's check, to Danielle Cooper and Calantus. ©ESI Photography
Sean Niland of Bayer is joined by HITS representatives Asia Manning and Lindsay Yandon to present top honors, including a Horseware Ireland cooler and $75,000 winner's check, to Danielle Cooper and Calantus. ©ESI Photography

Cooper graduated from New York University two years ago and now tutors math and science on the horse show circuit, allowing her to work and ride at the same time. She calculated just right in the jump-off, stealing the lead from the only other clear – Jaclyn Duff [Edmonton, Alberta] aboard her own Pater Noster.

Duff returned first in the jump-off and she gave it all she had. “I went as fast as I could because I knew we had to put some pressure on,” she said. “I made a mistake from one to two and added a stride, leaving the door wide open.”

But the riders who followed couldn’t find that opening until Cooper returned and bested Duff’s clear, 44.06-second trip with a time of 42.49 seconds.

After showcasing her speed, Cooper wasn’t shy about giving credit where she felt credit was due. “Todd [Minikus] has tweaked everything about my riding,” she said. “From flatwork to even how I school – I’ve become more aggressive and faster in the ring.”

The fastest of the four-fault jump-off rides was awarded to Catherine Tyree [Chicago, Illinois] in the irons of her own Don’t Go. But, she didn’t come by the prize easily. Lucy Deslauriers [New York, New York] put the pressure on and the pair battle against the clock. Tyree broke the beam in 41.22 seconds, while Deslauriers was just fractions slower [41.66 seconds] and settled fourth on her own Hester.

Haley Gassel [Lenoir City, Tennessee] rounded out the top five with Quite Dark 2 for Westwind Equine Training Center, while Hannah Von Heidegger [Chatsworth, California] and E-Unanime De La Haie, owned by Monarch International, finished sixth with eight jump-off faults.

“This eclipses the most prize money these riders have won by ten times,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “We wanted to make a statement with this class and that’s what we did today – it was a genuine championship for juniors and amateurs. The riders who rose to the top have bright careers ahead of them.”

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Bayer's Legend $250,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Prix
Place     Horse    Owner   Rider    Prize $     JO Faults   JO Time
1 Calantus   Fidelity Farms, Inc.  Danielle Cooper $75,000 0  42.498
2 Pater Noster     Jaclyn Duff  Jaclyn Duff  $45,000 0  44.060
3 Don't Go  Catherine Tyree  Catherine Tyree  $30,000 4  41.223
4 Hester  Lucy Deslauriers  Lucy Deslauriers  $20,000 4  41.660
5 Quite Dark 2     Westwind Equine Training Center  Haley Gassel  $12,500 4  43.018
6 E-Unanime De La Haie      Monarch International     Hannah Von Heidegger  $10,000 8  45.270
7 What Ever  Karen Polle  Karen Polle  $7,500 - -
8 Fine Fleur Chuck & Dana Waters  Hayley Waters $6,000 - -
9 Luxina  Christina Fried  Michael Hughes  $5,000 - -
10 Elian 5  Maria Costa  Maria Costa  $4,500 - -
11 Vieanne  Frances Land  Frances Land  $4,000 - -
12 As Di Chupito  North Face Farm  Erin Haas  $3,500 - -
13 Nepal  Kim & Jay Land  Jay Land  $3,000 - -
14 Valentina 156  Lexander Farm, LLC  Alex Parrish  $3,000 - -
15 Bamiro  Abrahamson Equestrian, LLC  Kady Abrahamson  $2,500 - -
16 Chamcara  Sarah Hubbard  Sarah Hubbard  $2,500 - -
17 Contino 46     Emily Short  Emily Short  $2,500  - -
18 Ohara Saint Clair  Lauren Kay  Lauren Kay  $2,000 - -
19 Woodstock  Jimmy & Danielle Torano  Danielle Torano     $2,000  - -
20 Corprizia  Fair Play Farm  Samantha Kasowitz  $2,000 - -
21 Absie  Kim Land  Taylor Land  $1,500 - -
21 Caprisio  Katharine & Caroline McLeese  Caroline McLeese  $1,500 - -
21 S & L What Nou  Ashley Baker  Ashley Baker  $1,500  - -
21 Tiffany  Kadley Holdings, LLC  Addison Gierkink  $1,500 - -
21 Laspari  Adrienne Marciano  Adrienne Marciano  $1,500  - -




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