Inaugural $50,000 CN Palm Beach Jumping Derby This Sunday Promises Thrills and Exciting, Newly Created Obstacles
RELEASE: February 10, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Ken Braddick
The inaugural $50,000 CN Palm Beach Jumping Derby will be held Sunday, February 15 with some of the world's top riders racing around a 1,000-meter course that includes a Devil's Dyke and a newly created signature obstacle called the Palm Maze.
Built on top of the world-famous grass Polo Field One at the original Palm Beach Polo Stadium—considered by many to be among the finest grass surfaces for horse sports anywhere in the world—the course offers 19 obstacles (23 efforts) over water, through the Palm Maze, over a table bank and up and down a Devil's Dyke. The course has been built with jumps at a height of 1.45 meters (4 ft. 9 in.). In keeping with tradition, at least half the obstacles are natural.
The Palm Beach Jumping Derby will start at 3 p.m. Sunday at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center's (PBIEC) Stadium at the corner of Southshore Blvd. and Pierson Road in Wellington.
The event is part of the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival that is in the sixth week of 12 weeks of high-performance jumping, hunter and dressage competition.
Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC (ESP), the company that owns and manages the events at PBIEC, announced that admission is free but there will be $10 per vehicle parking charge or $25 per vehicle for parking along the interior rail of the course. Rail Parking can be purchased online at equestriansport.tix.com/Schedule.asp?OrganizationNumber=1848
. Rail parking is limited to the first 200 cars or golf carts.
Food and beverages will be available from 2 p.m. Following the class, ESP will host a President's Day Party.
"We're excited about creating this CN Palm Beach Jumping Derby as another opportunity to bring thrilling new events for both the riders and the public," said Mark Bellissimo, ESP Chief Executive.
"This represents another venue, 'The Stadium,' within the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center for both hunters and jumpers. The venue will be integrated into future Wellington show circuits to leverage the beautiful grass fields and give the horses fresh new jumps and courses. We expect the Palm Beach Jumping Derby to grow both in stature and prize money over the years into an event that becomes known around the world."
"This is one of the most amazing projects I have ever been involved with," said course designer Richard Jeffery of Great Britain.
"I had this clean canvas of a beautiful, long-established grass field to create a completely new venue and event with features that are distinctly Palm Beach. We have a Devil's Dyke, a table jump, a double Liverpool, a water jump, a hedge and, to reflect where we are, a jump between palm trees and the Palm Maze that we think will become the signature obstacle of this event. One of the most beautiful features is the newly created lake in the middle of the field that is integral to the design of the course.
"We did not have time to complete a bank, but when that is added it will be another jewel in a magnificent derby field.
Equestrian Services International, Inc. (ESI), owned and operated by Brett Raflowitz, who was responsible for building the competition arenas at the main PBIEC show grounds, built the obstacles in the derby course.
Some of the world's greatest riders have "dropped by" to review the course. Among them have been 1984 U.S. Olympic Team Gold medalists Leslie Howard and Conrad Homfeld, Britain's Peter Charles, Brazil's Olympic and World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa and Mario Deslauriers of Canada.
The Palm Beach Jumping Derby is the only event to be held at The Stadium during this year's FTI WEF. It was the venue for the inaugural Palm Beach Steeplechase over last Thanksgiving weekend.