October 24, 2014–The 2014 Washington International Horse Show (WIHS) continued on Thursday with the first day of classes for the Junior Hunters and several International Jumper and Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper classes at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The show continues through Sunday, October 26, with much more exciting action throughout the weekend, including Friday night’s $25,000 Puissance, presented by The Boeing Company, and Saturday night’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, presented by Events DC.
The International Open Jumpers had two classes on Thursday beginning with a win for Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl in the $34,000 International Jumper Welcome Stake. Top honors in the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice costume class went to Jessica Springsteen (USA) aboard Lisona. The Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers competed as well with wins for Lucas Porter and Psychee d’Amour in the Low division and Hunter Holloway and I Love Lucy in the High division.
Anthony D’Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY, is the course designer for the jumpers at WIHS this year. In the day’s $34,000 Welcome Stake, sponsored by Louisburg Farm, D’Ambrosio saw 30 entries contest his track with 12 clear in round one and ten entries continuing on to the short course. Todd Minikus and Quality Girl completed the fastest double clear round in 32.90 seconds to earn the top prize and the Ben O’Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy.
Laura Kraut (USA) and Andretti S, owned by Stars and Stripes, finished second in 34.48 seconds. Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Armstrong van de Kapel placed third in 34.54 seconds, and Callan Solem (USA) and Horseshoe Trail Farm LLC’s VDL Wizard were fourth in 34.80 seconds.
Minikus and Quality Girl have shared many triumphs in the last two years and earned their biggest prize to date in September’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, NY. The 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock) continued her top form into the indoor season, also finishing second in the $85,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix de Penn National in Harrisburg last week. Minikus currently leads the Longines FEIWorld Cup™ North American East Coast League standings and hopes to earn more valuable points toward April’s final during his trip to WIHS. Saturday’s $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix, presented by Events DC, is a qualifier and will be the major goal of the week for international competitors.
“It would be nice to get some World Cup points here,” Minikus stated. “The President’s Cup is for sure one of the more prestigious grand prixs that we have in America and I have been lucky enough to win it a couple of times, so hopefully we can be competitive again this year.”
In Thursday’s jump-off, he kept the grand prix in mind as he planned to give Quality Girl a positive round to keep her confidence up as the week continues. He had a great winning round and was pleased with her performance.
“I just wanted to go nice and try not to go totally crazy and get her frantic for the rest of the week, but she was pretty tidy everywhere,” he explained. “I was third in the jump-off out of ten and there were a few familiar names coming at the end, so it was questionable whether the lead would hold up. But it seems like a couple of those super fast riders had jumps down.”
“She is really a good horse,” Minikus said. “She has an awesome record and she is now a true professional show horse, so she just takes everything in stride. She has a lot of class.”
“I really didn’t know that there would be that many clean to tell you the truth, but the horses were sure jumping well,” he said of the competition. “It was a nice class for the first jump-off class, and it probably made for a good jump-off to watch. You really have to have your game on here; it gets very competitive.”