Minikus and Amex Z Win $72,900 Welcome Stake CSI4*-W at WIHS 2021

Todd Minikus and Amex Z. Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

Jump Media Press Release

The 2021 Washington International Horse Show continued on Thursday, October 28, with the start of jumper competition along with junior hunters. Taking the wins in the opening international jumper classes were McLain Ward (USA) on Catoki in the $36,600 International Jumper Accumulator class, and Todd Minikus (USA) on Amex Z in the $72,900 Welcome Stake.

Todd Minikus, last year’s winner of the WIHS President’s Cup Grand Prix presented by MARS Equestrian™, returned to WIHS with a vengeance but under slightly different circumstances. This year, he entered Tryon Stadium with Amex Z for the $72,900 Welcome Stake having had nearly a month off due to an injury.

“I had a horse rear and fall on me, and I haven’t ridden in almost four weeks,” shared Minikus, of Lake Worth, Florida. “The day before yesterday was the first time I’ve ridden [since the injury]. The horse came completely over on top of me and smashed my pelvis but I’m very fortunate nothing broke.

Ringmaster Steve Rector, Brooke Rainey, Todd Minikus and Amex Z, and WIHS President Vicki Lowell
Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

“I have to take my hat off to Brooke Rainey and Danny Balzani who take care of Amex Z and Jonathan Williams and Riley Delbecq who rode her the past month while I limped around,” he continued. “They did an awesome job of having her ready for me to ride.”

Minikus, who is known for going for broke in the jump off, did just that. In the end, Minikus and the 12-year-old Zangersheide mare by Andiamo Z owned by Bit by Bit Group bested a field of 41 horse and rider combinations. The first round produced 17 clear efforts, but with three riders electing to withdraw, 14 returned for the jump off. Minikus and Amex Z crossed the timers in lightning speed in 29.68 seconds.

“Well, usually my plan is always to go for it in the jump off,” laughed Minikus, who noted that once he felt good in the schooling ring and could tell Amex Z was ready, he knew he could step on the gas.

As he sped around the short course, he felt his horse was right on the money. “Amex Z really jumped awesome, and in the jump off she got down the six [stride line] so easy,” he explained. “I could tell when I turned, I was inside of everyone’s footprints going to the combination. I waited, waited, waited until the last minute to say ‘whoa’ in front of the combination and she really settled to jump A [of the combination] and I thought, ‘Golly, she’s on the game.’”

Though Minikus says he is still concerned about how he will feel tomorrow, he’s looking ahead to Saturday’s grand prix. “She’ll have tomorrow off, and we’ll go back at it on Saturday,” he said. “I’m not scratching.”

For their win, Minikus was awarded The Ben O’Meara Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Second place went to Canada’s Hyde Moffatt and Ariel Grange’s Donjo, the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by VDL Zirocco Blue. McLain Ward and Poden Farms’ Kasper van het Hellof, the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Emerald, took third.

Hear from Todd Minikus

Final Results: $72,900 Welcome Stake 

1 AMEX Z: 2009 Zangersheide Mare by Andiamo Z x Landaris
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Bit By Bit Group: 0/0/29.68

2 DONJO: 2008 KWPN gelding by Zirocco Blue VDL x Ahorn
HYDE MOFFATT (CAN), Ariel Grange: 0/0/31.95

3 KASPER VAN HET HELLEHOF: 2010 BWP stallion by Emerald x Hadise Van Het Hellehof MCLAIN WARD (USA), Poden Farms: 0/0/32.16

4 DARQUITO: 2011 Hanoverian gelding by D’inzeo 6 x Contefino 2
ANDREW BOURNS (IRL), Andrew Bourns: 0/0/32.86

5 TANAEL DES BONNES: 2007 Selle Français gelding by Watch me van’t Zorgvliet x Don Pierre
BRIANNE GOUTAL-MARTEAU (USA), Gerald Ford: 0/0/32.92

6 ARGAN DE BELIARD: 2010 Selle Francais gelding by Mylord Carthago*HN x Ahorn
LUIS SABINO GONCALVES (POR), Equivarandas, Lda.: 0/0/32.98

7 CORNWALL BH: 2008 Holsteiner stallion by Con Air x Cambridge
AMANDA DERBYSHIRE (GBR), Gochman Sport Horses: 0/0/37.65

8 VILLAMOURA: 2009 Selle Français mare by Diamant de Semilly
SYDNEY SHULMAN (USA), Jill Shulman: 0/4/31.62

9 ARPEGGI: 2010 Westphalian gelding by Arpeggio x Lancer III
BROOKE KEMPER (USA), Caroline Blum: 0/4/31.77

10 PLAY: 2012 Swedish Warmblood gelding
JESSICA MENDOZA (GBR), Leken AB and Tina Lofthammar: 0/4/33.17

11 BULL RUN’S PRINCE OF PEACE: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Cardenio x Contender
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC: 0/4/34.30

12 ROBIN DE PONTHUAL: 2005 Selle Francais gelding by Elf D’or x Calypso D’Herbiers*Ecolit
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), Katherine Gallagher: 0/4/34.96