Gladstone, New Jersey--Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL was named United States Equestrian Team (USET) Athlete of the Month for July following his victory at the $175,000 Cargill Grand Prix of the United States held at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, CA.
Minikus, who was the first alternate for the 2000 USET Show Jumping Olympic Team, and his horse Oh Star beat a field of thirty one international competitors which included the 2000 Olympic Individual Gold Medalist Jereon Dubbeldam of The Netherlands, the reigning World Champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil and Minikus' Sydney Olympic teammates Margie Goldstein Engle, Laura Kraut and Lauren Hough.
Minikus posted two clear rounds and the fastest jump-off time of 41.11 seconds. He was followed by Engle of Wellington, FL riding Hidden Creek's Perin, owned by Hidden Creek Farm, who posted the only other double clear rounds but with a slower jump-off time of 44.44 seconds. Third place went to Lauren Hough of Ocala, FL riding Clasiko, owned by the Clasiko Group, with four faults and a time of 45.32 seconds.
Minikus began his weekend by winning the $25,000 Bentley Motorcars Grand Prix on Friday evening, followed by Saturday's victory in the $35,000 Budweiser Speed Grand Prix Derby. In June, he won the $100,000 Rolex/U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Show Jumping Championship at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions, presented by State Line Tack, as well as the $50,000 Grand Prix of Roanoke.
Minikus was a recipient of a USET grant to represent the U.S. on a 1997 European tour. He is a frequent visitor to the winner's circle. He began showing at the grand prix level in 1985. He achieved great success with his grey Canadian Thoroughbred, Thrilling. Minikus rode Thrilling to four grand prix wins in 1989 and then took the show jumping world by storm in 1990 with an unprecedented sweep of all open jumper classes at the Washington International Horse Show, including the President's Cup. His record-setting performance earned him Washington's Ennis Jenkins Award as Leading Rider (he was both Leading Gentleman and Leading National Rider) to go with that year's Midwest Grand Prix Rider of the Year award.