With dirt kicking up from behind and a Capital Centre crowd of more than 9,000 screaming, Norman Dello Joio rode I Love You to victory in the $35,000 President's Cup Grand Prix last night at the Washington International Horse Show.
The 27-year-old rider from South Salem, N.Y., brought the 9-year-old French-bred gelding back to a seven obstacle, international-open jump-off course after two previous clean rounds. The course was faultlessly completed in 36.01 seconds. Just a fraction behind was Rodney Jenkins, atop Coastline.
Jenkins, 39, is well known for his come-from-behind victories. The 10-year-old gray gelding had been last in the class of two dozen and tried desperately to catch up, but was timed at 36.96 (no faults).
"With Rodney behind you, you're always just hoping," Dello Joio said. "There's nothing more you can do."
Eadenvale, a 12-year-old Irish-bred chestnut gelding with Donald Cheska of Waukesha, Wis., riding, tied for third with Rockbarton, another Irish-bred with Gerry Mullins up. Their time was 37.83.
Leslie Burr, who is leading Mercedes rider of the year, picked up a point for a total of 102 in the first round of the President's Cup during the afternoon trials aboard Albany, but was eliminated from the jump-off.
Dello Joio won the show's international rider title with 22 points, easily beating out teammate Katie Monahan of Upperville, Va., who had 11.
Barney Ward, who rode McLain to victory in Thursday night's $5,000 Gambler's Choice Stake, was named best national rider with 23 points, followed by Buddy Brown of North Smithfield, R.I., with 19.
The U.S. Equestrian Team dominated nearly the entire eight-day show, totaling 75 points. Canada had 28 points and West Germany 19.