Lexington, KY (May 24, 2016)— Todd Minikus made sure that the second week of the 2016 Kentucky Spring Classic was a memorable one. After Minikus and his outstanding mare Quality Girl won the opening $35,000 Welcome Speed CSI3* class and $35,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix CSI3* during week one, they returned to claim first place in the show’s main event, the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, during week two. After earning these three wins, the veteran show jumper will head back to Europe, where he is making his bid to be a part of the United States Show Jumping Team that will compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer.
Minikus and Quality Girl have a long history of success together. The pair has won many Grand Prix classes, including several at the Kentucky Spring Classic at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky in previous years. The 13-year-old Oldenburg mare (Quidams Rubin x Dobrock), owned by the Quality Group, has had a fairly light competition schedule this spring due to Minikus’ travel back and forth across the Atlantic for the Team USA Olympic Observation Trials held in Europe. In Europe, Minikus is working towards qualifying Babalou 41, owned by Two Swans Farm of Wellington, Florida. Meanwhile, he has left Quality Girl in the capable hands of his wife and manager, Amanda Minikus.
“I have got to thank my wife Amanda, who has been very diligent at working Quality Girl at home and giving her a couple of schools before we came to the Kentucky Spring Classic,” said Minikus.
There were 41 total entries in the Saturday night $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix, held in the renowned Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The course, designed by Olaf Petersen, was a challenging track with a tight time limit. Only three horse and rider combinations made it to the jump-off— Shane Sweetnam with Chaqui Z, Danielle Stransky with HH Donatella, and Minikus with Quality Girl.
“I was 19th in the original order and no one had gone clear. The course rode tricky between her and I, but we’re not short on experience. She went great and luckily for us it worked out in our favor,” commented Minikus.
Winning this particular Grand Prix also carried special significance for Minikus, as it was held in memory of the late Mary Rena Murphy, who was a strong supporter of Minikus during the early stages of his show jumping career. “Mary Rena was putting on shows at the Kentucky Horse Park when I first started coming here. She used to help me along quite a bit. She was an awesome lady and it makes me happy to win the Grand Prix with her name attached to it,” said Minikus.
Next, Minikus will catch a flight to Switzerland, where he will meet up with two more of his equine teammates, Babalou 41 and Vita 24, to compete in the CSIO5* St. Gallen horse show. Minikus and fellow American teammates, Margie Engle, Lucy Davis, Lauren Hough, and Reed Kessler, will all be vying for the opportunity to be a part of the Olympic team at the 2016 Summer Games. Quality Girl and Team Minikus’ American string of horses will meanwhile head to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, where they will compete in the $380,000 Tryon Grand Prix CSI5* when Minikus returns.
Minikus is quick to recognize that the success of his career is a team effort. “I want to thank my wonderful groom Shannon McDonald for all the care and effort she puts into making sure Quality Girl is always at her best,” said Minikus. “It really does take a village to make everything work like it should, and I am surrounded by an outstanding group of professionals who take top notch care of all of my horses.”
Todd Minikus Show Stables offers sales and training services just minutes from Wellington, Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) show grounds. To learn about the services Minikus offers or to follow the action as Team Minikus competes around the globe, check out Todd Minikus on Facebook and Instagram, or visit www.ToddMinikusShowJumping.com.
Photo: Todd Minikus and Quality Girl win the $130,000 Mary Rena Murphy CSI3* Grand Prix at the Kentucky Spring Classic in Lexington, Kentucky (Photo courtesy of Shawn McMillen Photography, www.shawnmcmillen.com)