Minikus Blazes to First and Third Place in $30,000 Sotheby’s International Realty Challenge
Bridgehampton, NY—August 30, 2008—
In a hair-on-fire finish, Todd Minikus and Hillary Dobbs turned the $30,000 Sotheby’s International Realty Challenge into a horse race at the 33rd annual Hampton Classic Horse Show. In a timed jump-off, Minikus won aboard Pavarotti in 37.56 seconds. Dobbs was second with Marengo (37.79) and Minikus placed third on Presidente (38.25). Their rides were double-clean. One of the nation’s premier show jumping competitions, the Hampton Classic continues through Sunday, August 31. The Classic hosts hunter/jumper competition for riders ranging from the youngest competitors in Leadline and Short Stirrup classes all the way up to Olympic veterans in the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix. Show entries include two Olympic riders who flew in directly from the Olympic show jumping competition in Hong Kong: McLain Ward, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team, and individual gold medalist Eric Lamaze of Canada.
After his first ride in the jump-off with Presidente, Minikus said he felt he “left the door open a bit” for Dobbs. “When you’re the first to go, you want to put on just enough pressure to push the next person into making a mistake. I thought I had done that,” he said. “Then Hillary turned the tables on me.”
Dobbs entered the ring immediately after Presidente and poured on the steam, shaving almost half a second off his time. “After my ride [on Marengo], I saw Todd in warmup and knew he meant business,” said Dobbs, of Sussex, N.J. “He’s one of the fastest riders on the circuit. I’ve had a couple of wins this week, but when I get edged out by riders like Todd and Joe [Fargis], I learn. When you think you’re fast, those guys are faster.”
Minikus came back to the ring right after Dobbs, blazing the course on Pavarotti to best her leading time by two-tenths of a second. He said he accomplished that by making sure he rode “inside the hoofprints” leading to the last fence, a vertical coming off a hairpin turn from the penultimate fence.
“It was fun riding in the jump-off with Hillary” said Minikus. “We’ve been ribbing each other all week.”
And with good reason. The two have been competing in—and dominating—many of the same classes at this year’s Hampton Classic. On the show’s opening day, Dobbs won the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge with Marengo, the horse on which she was named the show’s National Open Jumper Champion.
Minikus, of Wellington, FL, placed second on Presidente in the $7,500 bluhammock music Open Jumper class. He placed second with Ultimo Van Ter Moude and Dobbs was third with Corlett in another Open Jumper class during the week.
In Friday’s $50,000 Carolex Grand Prix Qualifier, Dobbs won aboard Corlett and Minikus placed third with Ultimo Van Ter Moude. Although they also qualified with other horses, they selected those horses as their mounts for Sunday’s $200,000 FTI Grand Prix, in which a competitor can enter only one horse.
With his win in the Sotheby’s International Realty Challenge, Minikus maintained his lead and Dobbs her second place in the Vox Rider Challenge, a new award sponsored by VOX Magazine. The Vox Rider Challenge offers $30,000 in prize money to the top four riders in the horse show’s Open Jumper division. Riders have the chance to compete all week in the open jumper classes, with the top finish in each class, regardless of mount, being counted towards their final point totals. The winners will be presented with their prize money on Sunday afternoon following the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix.
Also on Saturday, Jacqueline Lubrano of Glenmoore, Penn., won the $10,000 Wölffer Estate Equitation Championship aboard Lennox after maintaining the lead she set in the first round on Thursday.
With more than $500,000 in prize money, 50,000 spectators and nearly 1,800 horses, the Hampton Classic is not only a sporting event of major proportions, but also one of the most noteworthy social events of the Hamptons’ summer season. The Classic’s featured event, Sunday’s $200,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier, concludes the eight-day show.
Other Sunday highlights are the $25,000 Calvin Klein Show Jumping Derby, a member of event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series, and the $10,000 Hermès Hunter Classic. Both classes take place in the morning prior to the $200,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier.
Those unable to attend the Hampton Classic have opportunity to see it on television. WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, is broadcasting up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen online at www.wvvh.tv. The $200,000 FTI Grand Prix will also air on Animal Planet on Saturday, October 4 at 3:00 pm (ET/PT).
The 2009 Hampton Classic will be held one week earlier than usual. Rather than culminating on Labor Day week-end, the 34th annual Hampton Classic will open on Sunday, August 23 and conclude on Sunday, August 30. The Classic will return to its traditional dates in 2010.
For more information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show, please visit the Hampton Classic website at www.hamptonclassic.com or call (631) 537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501.c.3 charitable corporation.