LAKE PLACID - Show jumping veteran Callan Solem thought she finally earned her first grand prix win in Lake Placid Sunday after competing here for nearly 20 years.
In fact, the 35-year-old from Chester Springs, Pennsylvania even posed for photos with the winner's trophy, and a blue ribbon was awarded to her horse VDL Wizard following the $75,000 I Love New York Grand Prix.
But after judges studied a second video review of the opening round of Sunday's event, the victory went to Todd Minikus and his horse Babalou 41 in what turned out to be a confusing day of competition in the Richard Feldman Grand Prix ring.
Riding VDL Wizard, Callan Solem turns to see that she didn’t knock down any rails following the second round of Sunday’s grand prix in Lake Placid. After Solem apparently won the competition, the victory was awarded to Todd Minikus after a video review. Solem finished third.
Lou Reuter/Lake Placid News
In a grand prix that featured 24 entries, Minikus and Babalou 41 wound up winning after judges determined they were the only horse-and-rider combination that put down a clean run on a very difficult course during the opening round. And the pair turned out to be the first team to win the I Love New York Grand Prix without a jump-off since Charlie Jacobs triumphed in 2009.
Minikus and Babalou 41 rode clean through the opening round in 73.515 seconds. Later in the round, Solem and VDL Wizard were charged four penalty points for knocking down a rail on the second jump of a combination. But a real-time video review originally determined that her horse did not hit the rail, instead pointing out that wind might have been the culprit.
With the review paving the way, Minikus and Solem headed to a jump-off. Minikus went first and dropped one rail and Solem made it through clean. After the competition, Minikus sought another review - this time in slow motion - which ultimately decided that Solem's horse did indeed hit the rail in question, although it dropped after she had navigated through three more jumps on the course.
"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's four faults," judge Ralph Alfano said. "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 if 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."
As it turned out, Solem dropped into third place. She was one of six riders who were charged four faults in the first round, but covered the course a second slower than Michael Hughes, who finished runner-up. Riding Macarthur, Hughes finished the first round in 69.150 seconds. Paul O'Shea, who won a grand prix a year ago in Lake Placid, placed fourth on Skara Glen's Sienna, and Mario Deslauriers and his horse, Scout De La Cense, rounded out the top five.
As of press time, the outcome was still under protest at Solem's request.
Sunday's grand prix marked the end of the second week of horse show competition at the North Elba Show Grounds. For the first time, a third consecutive week of show jumping will take place in Lake Placid with the inaugural Adirondack Horse Show, which kicks off Wednesday. That event will be highlighted by the $100,000 grand prix that takes place Saturday.