Todd Minikus and Amex Z. (Photo © Sportfot)
Todd Minikus (Lake Worth, FL) and Amex Z secured a double victory during Tryon Summer 1 at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), winning both the $75,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix and the $25,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake. In Saturday’s Tryon Resort Grand Prix, Minikus and Amex Z stopped the jump-off timers at 35.096 seconds. Kristen VanderVeen (Wellington, FL) and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, a 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion (Berlin x Darco) owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC, took second place on a clear jump-off performance of 35.243 seconds, while Shane Sweetnam (Lexington, KY) and his own Indra Van De Oude Heihoef, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare (Casantos x Action-Breaker), claimed third-place honors in 36.262 seconds.
The first grand prix of the Tryon Summer Series welcomed 22 horse-and-rider pairs to the Tryon Stadium course designed by Oscar Soberon (Dallas, TX) with ten pairs returning for the jump-off.
Minikus praised the growth of Amex Z, a 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) owned by Bit By Bit Group, saying, “I think she [Amex Z] has really matured. She’s been a little bit inconsistent, but she started to go really well at the end of the winter circuit. With a couple months of being off at home and training the old fashioned way, she really grew up.”
The course was a true speed test according to Minikus, who knew he had to push hard to beat third place’s VanderVeen who has a reputation for speed.
“It was a nice course. It was a super fast and competitive jump-off. The whole thing read speed, speed, and speed,” explained Minikus. “There were some super fast riders and horses. We had Kristen VanderVeen with ‘Frosty,’ who I like to call ‘White Lightning.’ He’s freaky fast. Going early in the jump-off, I thought maybe that would be a disadvantage, but we got lucky that the jumps came up just perfectly. Our time seemed to hold on through all of the sharpshooters who were coming after me!”
Minikus’ Welcome Stake win came from a 37.099 second jump-off performance, edging out Shane Sweetnam aboard Hunters Conlypso II, the 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I x Cous-Cous) owned by the Dacantos Group, on a time of 38.592 seconds. Third went to Rowan Willis (Ocala, FL), guiding his own and Lucinda Huddy’s Diablo VII, a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Douglas x Lundy), through the jump-off in a time of 39.241 seconds.
Press Release TIEC