At first it looked as if there'd be no winner in last night's $12,500 puissance class, only a three-way tie among horses that couldn't clear the 7-foot-3 wall.
But Tim fooled them. The 11-year-old brown gelding, ridden by Mark Leone, was the last to go in a third-round jumpoff. According to Leone, the Ri-Arm Farm-owned Tim "responded to the rub and didn't bat an eyelash" as he soared over the wall, bringing the Capital Centre crowd of 10,012 to its feet.
Minutes before, two other entries, Black Gold, ridden by Beezie Patton, and Wellington, with Canadian Equestrian Team member Hugh Graham in the saddle, had failed again at the fence. It seemed impossible and improbable that Tim would make it, but Leone, of Franklin Lakes, N.J., had a plan. "I might have pulled him a little bit in the third round so the next time I eased up on him a little bit farther from the jump," giving Tim more stride space. "I wasn't sure we made it until we hit the ground and then I could hear the crowd."
The class began with eight jumpers and a wall set at 6-1, followed by a first-round jumpoff wall at 6-7. Five horses returned for a third round of jumping with the wall set at 7-3. None of the horses cleared and only the three opted for another try at it.
The United States continues to lead in international team competition with 31 points, but Canada (26) moved ahead of the Federal Republic of Germany (24). Graham is the leading international rider with 11 points.