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Todd Minikus and Chellapo Z Show the Way in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic

Lexington, KY - May 9, 2009 - It was all about speed for Todd Minikus and Chellapo Z during their winning jump-off round in the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. The duo was able to edge out Chistine McCrea riding Twister, and Beezie Madden aboard Play On during the nine-horse jump-off held this morning in the new outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park. Six horse and rider combinations completed double-clear efforts, but it was Minikus and Chellapo Z's 35.396 second time that earned the opportunity to lead the victory gallop.

Thirty-four horses competed over Richard Jeffery's first round course, which consisted of a water jump with pole and lath scored, a double combination, and a triple combination that's first jump was a triple bar followed by two tall verticals. The jump-off course began with a vertical followed by the double combination. Then riders continued to a single vertical and rode to the last element of the triple combination, another single vertical. Finally riders finished over two wide oxers located on the far end of the arena.

The first rider to complete a clear first round and have the opportunity to compete in the jump-off was Keean White riding Whisper of Mazour, owned by Anglestone Farm of Rockwood, ON. The pair made a good attempt but had a rail coming out of the double combination, stopping the clock in 41.328 seconds to finish in ninth place. Next to compete over the short course was Jeanne Hobbs, of Southern Pines, NC, and Nielson B. The duo was the first to successfully complete a fault-free jump-off round and set the time to catch at 42.677 seconds, which would hold up for the sixth place award. James Benedetto was quick to takeover Hobbs' lead when he and Trulli, owned by Equinmity LLC of Stonybrook, NY, also left all jumps standing in a time of 37.905 seconds. Their score would earn them the fourth place honors.

Beezie Madden entered the ring next with her first jump-off mount, Exclusive, owned by Elizabeth Busch Burke and John Madden Sales of Cazenovia, NY. The pair had an unfortunate rail at the first fence, a white vertical, but their time of 37.611 seconds would make them the fastest of the four-faulters and place them in the seventh position. Charlie Jayne and Thomas Edison, owned by Alex Jayne of Elgin, IL were the next to make a bid for the lead but they found faults at the very last fence, a large blue oxer, and moved into eighth place with a time of 38.952 seconds.

Mario Deslauriers and Tigger, owned by Jane Clark of New York, NY would be the next horse and rider combination to complete a fault-free effort. The pair stopped the clock in 38.295 seconds, falling just behind Benedetto and Trulli to earn today's pink ribbon. Beezie Madden and Play On, owned by Alan Shore Jr., were the seventh horse and rider combination to compete in the jump-off and this time Madden wanted to take over the lead. She picked up a very fast gallop, cutting the turn from the double combination to the second vertical. The duo was clear and tripped the timers in 36.507 seconds to overtake Benedetto and place third overall.

Todd Minikus entered the ring next with Chellapo Z, owned by Mimi Able-Smith of Middleburg, VA, and he had a challenge ahead of him to beat Madden's time. The pair picked up an even faster gallop and held it through every turn while still leaving each rail in its cup. Racing across the finish line in 35.396 seconds the pair took over Madden's lead and won the class. Christine McCrea didn't let Minikus breath too easy as she stepped into the ring next aboard Twister. The pair picked up a blazing gallop and McCrea opened Twister's stride to each fence. McCrea and Twister were clean and stopped the clock in 36.417 seconds, falling just short of Minikus, but stepping ahead of Madden to take over the second place position.

"There were quite a few good horses and good riders in the jump-off," noted Minikus. "Beezie looked like she had set a pretty hot pace on Play On. That horse is an old vetern, he knows all the moves and he's been all over the world showing. It looked like a pretty intimidating jump-off round. Long story short I think I was just a little faster getting across the ground to the oxers at the end. I didn't see Christina McCrea go but she must have been pretty close; she ended up catching Beezie and was right behind me. All and all I thought it was a good jump-off for people to watch and a fun class."

Minikus continued, "This is the biggest class that Chellapo Z has done. He's been doing some young horse classes with Katherine Newman whom I help, but we decided to have me ride him this week. It was quite a treat and a pleasure to show a quality young horse. He's quite a nice ride, just aim at the middle and let him jump"

Tomorrow Minikus, of Loxahatchee, FL, will be competing in the $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix with Presidente, owned by Sleepy P Ranch of Bartonville, TX, and his own Ultimo Van De Doude. "My plan is to be first and second," he laughed. "Hopefully we can stick to our plan, but I'm sure Beezie and Margie and Mario and everybody else is going to try and trip my plan up; they're not going to scratch, so we'll see what happens."

The $55,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix will be taking place tomorrow in the new outdoor stadium at 4 p.m., and will mark the conclusion of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Next week the Kentucky Spring Classic will take place March 13-17, and will feature the $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and the $55,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, sponsored by Air 51 and Audi of Lexington.

For more information on the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows please go to http://www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.

Photo Credit: Todd Minikus and Chellapo Z had a blazing pace during their clear jump-off round to win the $20,000 Bluegrass Classic at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. Photo: Rebecca Walton Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.


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