Todd Minikus and Quality Girl, Tiffany Foster and Victor Earn Top Prizes in $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3

January 24, 2014–Week three of the 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF), sponsored by Fidelity Investments?, continued on Thursday afternoon with a shared victory for Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl and Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor in the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3. Held in a “California Split” due to the large number of entries, the competition awarded two sets of placings, each with $34,000 distributed.

Todd Minikus and Quality Girl | Photo Copyright Sportfot

Week three of FTI WEF competition continues through Sunday, January 26. The week will feature the $34,000 Spy Coast Farm 1.45m on Friday, the highlight $125,000 Fidelity Investments? Grand Prix CSI 3* on Saturday night, and the $34,000 Suncast? 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic on Sunday. The FTI WEF, held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, features 12 weeks of world-class competition through March 30, awarding $8 million in prize money.

Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge set the course for the $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 on Thursday in the International Arena at PBIEC. The class saw a total of 92 entries with 24 clear rounds advancing to the jump-off. Twelve jumped clear over the short course, and Todd Minikus and the Quality Group’s Quality Girl had the fastest time of 40.34 seconds overall for the win in Section A of the class. Tiffany Foster and Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable’s Victor finished in 40.50 seconds for the win in Section B.

The top three finishers in Section A included Minikus and Quality Girl, Ian Millar (CAN) and Dixson, owned by Ariel and Susan Grange, with their time of 40.84 seconds, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) with Artisan Farms LLC’s Zigali P S in 43 seconds flat.

Section B saw a top finish for Foster and Victor, with Kent Farrington (USA) and Amalaya Investments’ Willow in second in 41.80 seconds, and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER) and Octavia Farms’ Checkmate 4 in third in 43.52 seconds.

After his win aboard Quality Girl, Todd Minikus remarked on the star-studded line-up of horses and riders in Thursday’s jump-off. “That was pretty spectacular really, if you looked at the list and how that was playing out,” Minikus acknowledged. “We had everybody from Meredith to Kent to Ian to McLain. Beezie had the lead for a while. That was pretty fun. It got a little faster and a little faster and a littler faster.”

“Things kind of just came up nice for me in the turns, and it all worked out,” Minikus said of his jump-off round on Quality Girl. He also had a second chance in the jump-off with Legacy Stables’ Uraguay and did his best to get both top spots, but had an unfortunate stop in the short course.

“I was really trying hard to be second with Uraguay,” he said. “I think I was faster from fence one to two and back to the combination on him and then I kind of got in the same rut that everybody else turned in and he slipped bad going to that vertical. That kind of stunk, but that horse was really on his game too.”

Minikus acknowledged the effort of course designer Guilherme Jorge in Thursday’s class, stating, “I tell you, that’s gotta be a tough job trying to design for that many horses. I guess if you go with percentage of the class, he had 26% clear. That was probably the right percentage. It sounds like a lot, but 24 out of 92, that’s probably a good number. It was a nice course. Some of the younger horses jumped it well, and it was nice that the show management did the California Split. That was the right thing to do with that many entries.”

In addition to the prize money in Thursday’s class, Minkus earned a special $3,000 bonus as part of the SSG ‘Go Clean for the Green’ promotion for wearing his SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves. Each week of the Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Series, a $3,000 bonus will be awarded to the winning rider if they are wearing SSG ‘Digital’ Riding Gloves in all rounds of competition with the SSG logo clearly visible.

Tiffany Foster was also very happy with her win in Section B of Thursday’ class aboard Victor, her mount of nearly four years. Commenting on the top finish, Foster smiled, “Every win is exciting for me. He felt awesome, and he was perfect. He knows this ring really well, so I know I can take a lot of risks with him here and he is really confident and comfortable. When he is jumping like he was today, I knew I could go really fast.”

“The jump-off was really wide open,” Foster noted. “You had to carry a lot of ground speed and that gets a little hairy sometimes, but not for Victor. He loves that. There was a lot of open galloping, and we are good at that.”

“Because he is so careful, I could go really fast to the plank and really fast to the last jump,” Foster added. “I didn’t slow down at all to those two fences. Most horses, you need to give them a little balancing point so that they can get up and go clear, but I know when he is jumping like that he is never going to knock it down and I can just run as fast as I can. It’s a good feeling; you don’t get that on all of them, that’s for sure.”

An $8,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class was also held in the International Arena on Thursday morning with a win for McLain Ward and Alain van Campenhoudt’s Citizenguard Million Dreams. The $2,500 Amateur-Owner Jumpers, sponsored by Engel & V?lkers, Sollak Carr, saw a win for Abigail McArdle and David McArdle’s Cosma 20.

Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 Section A

1. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Quality Group: 0/0/40.34

2. DIXSON: 2003 BWP gelding by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/0/40.84

3. ZIGALI P S: 2004 KWPN gelding by Kigali x Palfrenier
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/0/43.00

4. CORAL REEF VIA VOLO: 1998 BWP mare by Clinton x Heartbreaker
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Coral Reef Ranch: 0/0/44.79

5. ASLAN: 2000 Danish Warmblood gelding by Aston x Blue Hors Agent
LJUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS), Ljubov Kochetova: 0/0/45.59

6. UNEX CHAMBERLAIN Z: 2001 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Peter Pan
TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 0/0/45.81

7. MIC MAC DU TILLARD: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Cruising x Galoubet A
DAVID WILL (GER), Bernadette LeJeune: 0/4/42.58

8. ZARA LEANDRA: 2004 KWPN mare by Metropole x Ahorn
PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), ZL Group, Inc: 0/4/43.81

9. RECONNAISSANCE: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro M x Irco Mena
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura & Meredith Mateo: 0/4/45.09

10. TIC-TAC: 2003 Belgian Sport Horse stallion by Clinton x Darco
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 0/4/47.11

11. EVENING STAR: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Coriano x Lenz
HEATHER CARISTO WILLIAMS (USA), Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo: 0/8/46.01

12. URAGUAY: 2001 KWPN gelding by Nairobi x Colino
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Legacy Stables, LLC: 0/EL

Final Results: $34,000 Ruby et Violette WEF Challenge Cup Round 3 Section B

1. VICTOR: 2002 KWPN gelding by Elmshorn x Grandeur
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/0/40.505

2. WILLOW: 2003 KWPN gelding by Guidam x Little Rock
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Amalaya Investments: 0/0/41.800

3. CHECKMATE 4: 1995 Hanoverian gelding by Contender x Pik Bube II

4. SPECIAL LUX: 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Lux Z x Coille Mor Hill
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/0/44.804

5. CAFINO: 2003 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Cardento 933 x Roderik 856
ALEXANDER ZETTERMAN (SWE), Alexander Zetterman: 0/0/45.596

6. BONANZA VAN PAEMEL: 2001 BWP gelding by Darco x Sheyenne de Baugy
CATHERINE PASMORE (USA), Pasmore Stables LLC: 0/0/46.785

7. WITH WINGS: 2003 KWPN gelding by Larino x L. Ronald
KAREN POLLE (USA), Karen Polle: 0/4/43.808

8. WOKLAHOMA: 2003 KWPN mare by Sheraton x Calvados
ROBERTO TERAN, JR. (COL), Ark Partners LLC: 0/4/43.900

9. ROTHCHILD: 2001 Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Artos x Elegant De L’Ile
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/4/45.159

10. CATUNGEE: 2006 Holsteiner gelding by Contact Me x Liatos
CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER (GER), Christoph Schroeder: 0/4/52.353

11. HELLO ANNIE: 2004 Hanoverian mare by Contender x For Pleasure
SCOTT BRASH (GBR), Lord & Lady Harris/Lord & Lady Kirkham: 0/15/59.787

12. ATTACK II: 2000 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Grandeur x Bonheur