Victory for Bernie Traurig and his mount Eaden Vale owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Van Dyke was by a heartbeat last night as they captured the Eisenhower Trophy at the Washington International Horse Show at Capital Centre in a jump-off against seven others.
Four-100ths of a second divided the top three winner who competed on a treacherous course of seven jumps. Traurig's winning time was 24.14 with no faults.
In second place was Terry Rudd on Fat City in 24.16 seconds with no faults. Third in 24.18 was Katie Monahan on Silver Exchange.
Traurig, 34, from Hartland, Wis. who was the first to go in the timed jump-off said, "I knew I really had to go for it. With this quality of competition I had no choice. I really didn't expect to win."
Eaden Vale was purchased in May from Barcrest Farm in Canada. This summer he won the Grand Prix in Quebec and was second in the St. Adele Grand Prix and third in the Gold Cup in Philadelphia in September.
A total of 28 horses started in the event, won last year by Denis Murphy on Tuscaloosa. Murphy was slated to ride The Iron Duke this year, but stratches his entry due to poor footing.
Three others scratched after the first round of this class was postponed in the afternoon when riders had complained of bad footing. Only one jump, the second part of a combination, caused a problem, with nine horses knocking it down in the first round. But this could not be directly attributed to the footing; there was a atricky distance getting to it and most riders agreed it was the width of the jump that made it difficult.
Between the afternoon and evening sessions two 18-wheel tractor-trailor loads of sawdust were added to the moist dirt that was spongy under the horses' hooves and had created a problem.
In addition to the sawdust, extra men had been put on duty to disk and harrow the center floor. The cooling system also was turned on to keep the humidity down and the fresh air vents were opened.