Lake Placid, New York—July 9, 2011— Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, won the $75,000 Woodlea Farms Grand Prix, presented by Intercat, Inc. at the 34th annual Intercat, Inc. I Love New York Horse Show riding Pavorotti, owned by Todd Minikus, LTD. Minikus was one of eight entries from the starting field of twenty-five to reach the tiebreaking jump-off with a fault-free ride over the first-round course at the North Elba Showgrounds. In the tiebreaker, Minikus again went clean, finishing in a blazing time of 34.355 seconds, to claim the win.
Darragh Kenny and Gael Force were the first to go in the jump-off and immediately opened the door for the remaining seven, knocking down two rails for eight faults. Jonathan McCrea was next on Victor E and clocked-in the first double clear in 39.315 seconds. Karen Polle and Cachette Z had one rail down, but Callan Solem managed to go clean on VDL Torlando in a time of 39.361. Margie Engle and Lord Spezi jumped to the top of the leader board with a fast fault- free round in 36.207 seconds, which left little room for improvement for the remaining two riders. Candice King tried to beat them on Toronto, but stopped the clock too late, for a clean round time of 38.903.
Minikus and Pavarotti flew around the course leaving a tough task for Kate Levy and Vent du Nord, the final pair in the jump-off. Their time of 36.103 put them ahead of Engle, who ended up third, but was too slow for the win, finishing in second place. Minikus said he was un-phased by Engle’s quick ride and stuck with his plan. “Everybody knows that Margie is a speed demon and she looked quite fast, but she left the door open,” said Minikus. “I got lucky and found a faster spin to the last jump on my Purina-powered horse.”
Minikus is just grateful to be riding. He had a tough winter breaking his collar bone and then contracting Legionnaires' disease, which resulted in pneumonia. He has only been back in the saddle for two months. "I’m just happy to be here, said Minikus. “We go to a lot of horse events, but this one’s special. The show jumping is fierce, but there are also a lot of fun activities for the family. I’ve had an amazing career, so if it all ended today it would be OK, but I would still like to win a World Championship ribbon.”
Following the Grand Prix, the Richard and Diana Feldman Perpetual Challenge Trophy for Excellence was awarded to two riders for the first time in its ten year history. Minikus and McCrea were tied as the riders with the most combined prize money in the $75,0000 Mirror Lake Inn Grand Prix of Lake Placid and the $75,000 Woodlea Farms Grand Prix.
Other classes on Saturday saw wins by Chase Boggio in the Kathy Scholl Equitation Championship; Michael Hughes on Shockwave in the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort High Junior Jumper Classic; and Philip Richter on Glasgow in the Devoucoux, Inc. Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic.
The 34th annual Intercat, Inc. I Love New York Horse Show concludes Sunday with the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay and Purina Mills; Y 106.3 Low Amateur Owner Jumper Classic; The Levy Family Low Junior Jumper Classic; EquiFit WIHS Adult Jumper Classics; and Paradysz Farm WIHS Children’s Jumper Classics.
For more information, please call the Lake Placid Horse Show Association at (518) 523-9625 or visit www.lakeplacidhorseshow.com.
Photo: Todd Minikus aboard Pavorotti taken earlier this year at Wellington.