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Todd Minikus takes the top three spots in the $50,000 In the Woods Log Homes Grand Prix

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 11, 2008)--In honor of the Olympic Games that opened this weekend in China, former equestrian Olympian Todd Minikus finished in the three top spots in the $50,000 In The Woods Log Homes Grand Prix at HITS Saugerties.

Minikus, who was an alternate for Team USA in the 2000 Olympic Games, had the only three fault-free rounds on course designer Jerry Dougherty's first-round route to advance all three of his mounts into the jump-off where he grabbed the blue aboard Presidente for Sleepy P Ranch.

"He is 10 and we imported him from the Netherlands about a year ago," said owner Suzanne Porter, of Sleepy P Ranch. "The horse is incredibly careful with a great scope and Todd gives him the confidence to bring the best out of him. Todd started riding him in the Olympic trials this year and they have formed quite a combination. He is even going to ride him in the Masters this year in Canada."

"He's a big, honest, scopey kind of horse who just needed some direction," said Minikus.

The last time Minikus was in Saugerties with Porter's mount, he captured the top prize in the $50,000 Purina Mills Grand Prix to close out the HITS Saugerties Spring Circuit. Also during HITS-on-the-Hudson III, he had won the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix aboard Ultimo Van Ter Moude.

Minikus and Presidente went first in the jump-off and had a rail down midway through the trip to finish with four faults. He elected not to jump his other two mounts, Romy and Olinda giving owners the Diamond Group and Houlihan Lawrence each $8,750, respectively.

"We got some heavy rain and the fact of the matter is the footing held up great," said Minikus. "I had one go clear early in the class, one in the middle of the class and the very last one in the class."

"The course looked big enough," said Minikus. "It had a variety of combinations. It was nice."

Rounding out the top five in the class were Henrik Gundersen and Lauritz.com Colorado and Patty Stovel and Shandor 41. Each had time faults to finish in fourth and fifth place, respectively. With the $3,000 in prize money Stovel earned aboard her trusty mount, she continues to lead the USGPL Standings for the $100,000 USGPL Invitational Grand Prix to be held in Culpeper in late September.

Show jumping at HITS Saugerties now takes a short break, and will return for HITS-on-the-Hudson VII on Wednesday, September 3 with a full week of classes highlighted by the $25,000 Ariat Grand Prix on Thursday and the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix on Sunday.

For more than 25 years, In the Woods has been crafting log homes that nurture, inspire, and rejuvenate. They are passionate about meeting the needs of their customers and crafting log homes that embody the timeless beauty and insulating quality of natural wood. In the Woods custom designed and built the building housing the Veterinary Clinic and Farrier Stand at the HITS-on-the-Hudson show grounds.

HITS, Inc. is a special events management company primarily focused on producing hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS produced its first horse show circuit in Gainesville, Florida in 1982. Since that time, HITS has grown into a nationwide company with world-class hunter/jumper circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit http://www.HitsShows.com

PHOTO: 2008 Lili Weik Photography; Todd Minikus and his mount Presidente on course during the $50,000 In the Woods Log Homes Grand Prix


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