Wellington, Florida – January 27, 2022 – Another action-packed day at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, took place on Friday, January 28, during the NetJets-sponsored WEF 3. The International Arena took no time to get into the swing of things as an impressive 62 combinations showed up for the day’s main event- the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 4*– and no one was able to best Todd Minikus (USA) and Amex Z, owned by Bit By Bit Group.
The $216,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI4* will run as scheduled at 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 29.
The WEF circuit hosts top international jumper and national hunter and equitation competition for 13 weeks through April 3, 2022.
The class was the only four-star event on Friday and drew a significant number of exhibitors to contest Peter Grant’s (CAN) one-round speed track. The time allowed was set at a comfortable 88 seconds which meant there was almost no difficulty with navigating through the final fence underneath the cutoff. Of the starting number, 29 horse-and-rider pairings managed to successfully answer all questions on the course while 19 duos suffered just one unfortunate rail. When Minikus entered with his long-time talented mount, Amex Z, it was clear the pair were not riding for second place.
“I was a little frustrated with how I rode yesterday,” Minikus admitted. “My mare tried to go super nice for me, and I rode a bit under par so I was definitely riding to make up for it today.”
He and the 13-year-old Zangersheide mare dashed over each obstacle, leaving all the rails in their cups and stopping the clock in an efficient 63.69 seconds.
“Currently she is the only one I have to compete at this level, and she is doing a great job of carrying the flag for Team Minikus,” he explained. “Any time she’s in a jump off or speed class, you don’t want to count her out. She has a big stride, and I often feel a quicker pace actually helps her focus a bit; she is definitely a winner, and sometimes it’s just luck of the draw whether she wins or has one down.”
Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) of Italy was one of the final few entries to perform with the Poden Farms’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Don Vito (Quaprice Z x Jus de Pomme), and, while he was still three seconds short of Minikus’ blazing time, he was good enough for second place in 66.00 seconds flat. Germany was the final country to be represented among the top three as Richard Vogel (GER) piloted Looping Luna, owned by Horse Management GmbH, into the third place position. Vogel and the eight-year-old Hanoverian mare (Lord Fauntleroy x Calido I) crossed through the timers only .06 seconds behind De Luca to secure the spot.
Final Results – $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI 4*
1) Todd Minikus (USA) & Amex Z – 0 / 63.69
2) Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) & Don Vito – 0 / 66
3) Richard Vogel (GER) & Looping Luna – 0 / 66.06
from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot