Todd Minikus and I Am Nala Capture $25,000 Grand Prix in Wellington

Wellington, FL – December 14, 2016 – Todd Minikus of Lake Worth, FL, piloted I Am Nala to a top finish in the $25,000 #1 Education Place Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) during the ESP Year End Awards Show after completing the jump-off track in 39.846 seconds. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson of Wellington, FL, and Akuna Mattata finished in second place with a jump-off time of 40.102 seconds, while Deane Rogan of Ireland and Itile Horta rounded out the top three, finishing just behind Shahinian-Simpson and earning a time of 40.485 seconds.

Minikus and I Am Nala, owned by Two Swans Farm, bested the class 30 entries to take the victory, and outpaced a jump-off class of nine combinations. Minikus also guided Zephyr and Vita 24 to contest the short course and finished in fifth and sixth respectively. Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, was responsible for the course design in the International Ring throughout the week.

Todd Minikus and I Am Nala. PC: Mancini Photos

I Am Nala is a sure-footed talent in Minikus’ string and has proven herself throughout the 2016 competition year. While Quality Girl and Babalou 41 still hold the top honors in the barn, I Am Nala is quietly moving up the ranks in anticipation of a strong winter circuit at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

Minikus also captured the top title in the $10,000 #1 Education Place Stake Aboard Vita 24. The pair dashed through the track in 32.992 seconds just ahead of barn mate, and fellow winner, I Am Nala, who took second place in the class after crossing through the timers in 33.132 seconds. Derek Braun of Lexington, KY, and Lacarolus, owned by MRN Family Corp., rode to third place after completing the track in 34.862 seconds.

Todd Minikus and ring master Steve Rector in the presentation ceremony for the $25,000 #1 Education Place Grand Prix. PC: Mancini Photos

The class featured 33 entries and saw 12 combinations move forward to contest the jump-off track also set by D’Ambrosio. Minikus took over the ride on the mare, owned by Two Swans Farm last spring, earning top finishes at several venues throughout the spring and fall seasons with victories at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and Hampton Classic.

Jumper Highlights

Brittany Hildebrand of Houston, TX, and Antonis, owned by Mindy H. Hildebrand, rode to victory in the $1,500 NAL Child/Adult Jumper Classic after finishing the jump-off in 42.819 seconds. Sofia Jaramillo of Sunny Isles, FL, and her own Lambada, secured second place with a time of 43.968 seconds, while Cathleen Driscoll of Wellington, FL, and her own Blue Forever rounded out the top three after finishing with the fastest jump-off time of 38.353 seconds, but adding four faults to their score.

The $2,500 NAL Low Junior/Amateur Owner Classic was championed by Alonso Valdez Prado and his own Crocky Van Overis, as the pair dashed through the short course track to finish with a time of 38.347 seconds. Ashley Fleishhacker of Wellington, FL, and Jac’Potes, owned by Ashland Show Stables LLC, took second place with an efficient time of 38.924 seconds. Rogelio Pellerano of Wellington, FL, and his own Solero MS collected third place in the class with a time of 40.181 seconds.

Asta Torokvei of Toronto, ON, and her own Camara rode to victory in the $2,500 High Junior/Amateur Owner Classic after finishing the short course nearly three seconds faster than Catalina Peralta of Geneva, FL, and Conti, owned by Wendy Peralta, who earned second place. Torokvei finished the track in 39.119 seconds, while Peralta secured a time of 42.709 seconds and dropped a rail for four faults. Annie Phillips of New Canaan, CT, and her own Pele collected third place adding eight faults to their time of 40.949 seconds.

The $1,500 Low Child/Adult Jumper Classic presented by Equine Couture & TuffRider saw John Angus of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, ride to victory aboard Vertigo, owned by Gordon Munro with a speedy jump-off time of 27.265 seconds. Angus also followed up his win with a second place finish aboard Cantus D, owned by Sarah Warden with a time of 31.36 seconds. Jaiden Mackel of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and his own Nada Capulet added four faults to their time of 31.185 seconds for third pace honors.

Hunter Highlights

Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL, and Curb Appeal, owned by Monty Kelly, secured top honors in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby presented by Neue Schule after receiving a two round score of 179 from the judging panel for their efforts on course. Momrow also guided Belfast, owned by Monty Kelly, to second place with a two round score of 170. Olivia Parr of Houston, TX, and Sunset Drive earned third place with a total score of 168. Momrow and Curb Appeal earned a class high 89 in the first round and another high score of 90 in the second round to best her second mount, Belfast, by nearly nine points.

Margaret Oberkircher of Collegeville, PA, and Clever Conversation, owned by Southfields Farm, LLC, captured the champion title in the Amateur Owner hunter 3’3″/3’6″ Division ahead of Brittany Hildebrand of Houston, TX, and Sagaro, owned by Mindy H. Hildebrand.

The Children’s Hunter Division presented by UHealth saw Isabella Sica of Ridgefield, CT, and her own Choco Mousse take top honors for their performances throughout the weekend, while Esther Cusnir of Davie, FL, and her own Code Black finished in reserve.

The Low Adult Hunter Division was championed by Sarah Kruel of Wellington, FL, and her own Opulent, while Julia Holzberger of Fairfield, OH, and her own Pure Bliss collected reserve.

The USHJA 2’6″ Hunter Division saw Kelly Mullen of Franklin, TN, and Happy, owned by Warioto Farms, Inc., ride to the top of the division, while Mark Dean of Brookville, NS, and Karley, owned by Fair Play Farm, took reserve champion honors.

Raleigh Hiler of Sudbury, MA, and her own Chapman ET, were victorious in the Junior Hunter 3’3″/3’6″ Division presented by #1 Education Place after receiving top honors throughout the weekend. Giavanna Rinaldi of Wayne, IL, and Pappy Van Winkle, owned by Double H Farm captured reserve champion honors.

For more information on PBIEC and to see a full list of results please visit