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.”
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 - -