Wellington, FL (January 31, 2012) – The 2012 World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach exceeded all expectations, from the first horse on center line in Friday’s Grand Prix to the victory lap following Saturday’s Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle. Top sport was represented by the world’s most exciting horse and rider combinations, some of them veterans, others rising stars. When the 2012 WDM Palm Beach Champion was named on Saturday evening, it was the experienced team of Steffen Peters and Akiko Yamazaki’s 14 year old Ravel of the US who succeeded in defending their title against 26 year old Charlotte Dujardin of Great Britain and the super-talented ten year old Valegro.
“I must say I have seen some wonderful sport tonight,” said WDM Managing Director John van de Laar following the Freestyle competition. “I would like to congratulate Steffen.” With the Olympics just six months away, van de Laar noted that the WDM Palm Beach gave a hint to the rivalries that can be expected in London. “I am very anxious to see what happens in London. To show a horse like Valegro here at the Masters in an Olympic year, I must say ‘two thumbs up’.”
An incredibly tight contest between Ravel and Valegro gave the WDM Palm Beach all the excitement that had been promised when some of the world’s top ranked riders and horses were invited to participate in the 2012 event, which is the only WDM competition to take place outside of Europe. Antonia Ax:son Johnson of the WDM series presenting sponsor, Axel Johnson Group, was delighted with this year’s WDM Palm Beach. “I would like to thank everyone for making this wonderful show possible, and for bringing it to the Europeans,” she said.
The WDM Grand Prix Special, which took place on Saturday afternoon, revealed two exciting prospects for the 2012 US Olympic Team. Adrienne Lyle and Wizard confidently won the class with athleticism and harmony, while Heather Blitz demonstrated that nine year old Paragon is already comfortable in the Grand Prix. There were several moments of brilliance in his second-placed performance, just three months after winning team gold and individual silver medals at the small tour level in the Pan American Games.
“It was great fun to judge here,” said Wim Ernes of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the FEI Ground Jury. “It was a great show, with good organization and top riders. We love to judge here.” The WDM Palm Beach is a show case for the best of the best in the international dressage world, and an opportunity for fans to get together and celebrate the sport at the highest level. VIP Table holders were treated to fine cuisine and wines at ringside tables during all three competitions. The sold-out Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, gorgeously decorated by the team at International Polo Club Catering, was transformed into the French countryside, complete with cypress trees and lavender against a backdrop of sunflowers and hilltop castles. GoodWray Productions put on a spectacular laser light show during the midway break for nearly 2,000 spectators.
The WDM Palm Beach would not have been possible these past two years without the generous support of International Polo Club Palm Beach, which became the presenting sponsor in 2011. “It was such a great event,” said IPC Palm Beach founder John Goodman. “I feel honored to be a part of it.”
“This is the part of the world where it happens,” said Ax:son Johnson who is now a home owner and resident in Wellington. “It’s the most wonderful place for horses and riders, and we love your go-for-it atmosphere.”
For those who didn’t attend the WDM Palm Beach, High Definition and 3D Blu-Ray DVDs of this year’s event can be purchased at www.internationalpoloclub.com. Eurosport will also broadcast a feature about the WDM Palm Beach on the February 22nd episode of Wednesday Selection.
Results WDM Palm Beach Exquis Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Steffen Peters (USA) Ravel – 83.700%
2. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) Valegro – 83.650%
3. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén (SWE) Favourit – 78.250%
4. Carl Hester (GBR) Wie Atlantico – 74.850%
5. Anja Plönzke (GER) Le Mont d’Or – 74.800%
6. Tina Konyot (USA) Calecto V – 73.025%
7. Ashley Holzer (CAN) Breaking Dawn – 71.325%
8. Minna Telde (SWE) Deinhardt – 71.000%
Results WDM Palm Beach Grand Prix Special presented by IPC Palm Beach
1. Adrienne Lyle (USA) Wizard – 73.244%
2. Heather Blitz (USA) Paragon – 72.044%
3. Todd Flettrich (USA) Otto – 69.933%
4. Pierre St. Jacques (USA) Lucky Tiger – 66.742%
5. Per Sandgaard (SWE) Lomumba Havdal – 64.889%
6. Victoria Winter (CAN) Proton – 63.889%
7. James Koford (USA) Pharaoh – 63.089%
8. Yvonne Losos de Muñiz (DOM) Liebling II – 62.911 %
Full results of the WDM Palm Beach can be found at www.WorldDressageMasters.com.
World Dressage Masters Palm Beach Fast Facts:
What: North America’s only CDI5*, and part of the richest dressage series in the world. Up to twenty of the world’s top dressage stars will compete for 100,000 Euros in prize money at the WDM Palm Beach.
When: January 26-28, 2012
*Gates open at 11:00 am each day for WDM Palm Beach ticket holders only. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the gate. Ticket holders are encouraged to arrive for Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle at 5:30 pm.
Friday January 27:
2 pm to 5 – CDI5* Grand Prix
Saturday January 28:
2 pm to 4:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Special
7:30 pm to 10:30 – CDI5* Grand Prix Freestyle
Where: Jim Brandon Equestrian Center – Okeeheelee Park South, 7500 Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33413
Producer: Wellington Classic Dressage – www.wellingtonclassicdressage.com – Noreen O’Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058
Official Caterer: International Polo Club Catering
Past WDM results, as well as complete WDM Rider Rankings can also be found on the WDM website: www.WorldDressageMasters.com
WDM Palm Beach Presenting Sponsor: International Polo Club Palm Beach
WDM Presenting Partner: Axel Johnson Group
WDM Official Partners: team EXQUIS, Moorland Investments and Moorland Stables, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe
WDM Official Supplier: Jerich International
WDM Global Media Partner: Eurosport
Media Contacts: Mason Phelps 561-371-0118 or Karen Robinson 604-318-3121