Wellington, FL - 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.
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.
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.
For more information on PBIEC and to see a full list of results please visit www.pbiec.com.