July 6, 2014--Todd Minikus of Wellington, FL, rode Babalou 41 to victory in the $75,000 I Love New York Grand Prix Sunday to culminate the 2014 I Love New York Horse Show, Presented by Sea Shore Stables.
Minikus earned the win as the only one from the starting field of 24 to successfully complete the first-round course designed by Show Jumping Hall of Famer Steve Stephens. He became the first rider since Charlie Jacobs in 2009 to win the I Love New York Grand Prix without a jump-off.
The win was not without controversy as Callan Solem and VDL Wizard, originally ruled to have scored four faults for a rail down at fence 4B, the second half of an oxer combination, were given a clean round after a review of her ride by officials showed that the rail was still in the cups while she approached fence eight and that her horse did not knock it down. Given that ruling, a jump-off was held and after Minikus scored four faults and Solem followed with a clean ride, she was the presumed winner.
However, Minikus questioned the ruling and requested another review of the video. This review by the jury, in slow motion, showed that Solem's horse had indeed hit the rail and had to be held responsible for its coming down, even if it was several seconds later. Hence, VDL Wizard was given four faults and Minikus and Babalou 41 were declared the winners. Solem and VDL Wizard finished third with Michael Hughes and MacArthur placing second as the fastest four-faulter.
"In slow motion, we were able to see that Callan's horse did in fact hit the rail and the rule is clear that if the rail comes down any time before the horse leaves the ring then it is four faults," said judge Ralph Alfano. "You couldn't see him hit the rail when the video was played at normal speed and with a crowd here, plus both riders needing to know whether or not they would be jumping off, the decision was made to proceed with the jump-off. However, after the second review, as requested by Todd, we had an opportunity to watch in slow motion and what occurred became clear."
A protest of the ruling is pending.
Prior to the Grand Prix, Victoria Press and Cayenne 140 won the $10,000 Pepsi Beverages Company Junior Jumper Classic. Also, Darby Toben and D'Artagnan won the $10,000 The Whiteface Lodge Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic. Both Classics are member events of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series.
Halle Fogel rode Bibi Sijgje to the win in the $5,000 Mirror Lake Inn Adult Jumper Classic, 18-40, and Nancy Hooker rode Corianos Boy to the win in the $5,000 Mirror Lake Inn Adult Jumper Classic, Over 40.