Wellington, FL - Preparations are under way to transform the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in West Palm Beach into a scene straight out of Provence, while the chefs at International Polo Club Catering finalize the dishes and wine pairings for this extravagant gala evening. "This is more than a dressage competition," says WDM Palm Beach producer Wellington Classic Dressage's Noreen O'Sullivan. "It is an experience. The venue is going to look outrageous. For those who know the Jim Brandon Center, they won't recognize it." As they watch top class competition at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach CDI5*, spectators will be treated to a complete Provençal experience.
A five course meal inspired by the food and wine of Southern France will be served at tables around the edge of the competition arena where 18 of the globe's most highly trained horses perform the Dressage Grand Prix Freestyle to Music on the evening of March 11th, the grand finale of the 2011 World Dressage Masters presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach. Among the riders to appear at the WDM Palm Beach are a number of Olympic and World Equestrian Games veterans, including the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Freestyle bronze medalist, Steffen Peters of the USA.
No stranger to dressage, IPC has hosted the highly popular Challenge of the Americas for a number of years.
When the WDM Palm Beach was in danger of being cancelled for 2011, the Goodman Family, International Polo Club Palm Beach and its members stepped in to save the American leg of the world's most prestigious dressage competition. In the kind of style that has become expected of any IPC event, no expense has been spared in making the WDM Palm Beach a unique and memorable experience for both participants and spectators.
"As a member of The International Polo Club Palm Beach, I am pleased and grateful for their support of the World Dressage Masters," says Tamara Gerber, who is herself a dressage rider. "It is significant not only for the dressage community, but for the community at large, that this very important international competition will be held in Wellington."
Mason Phelps Jr. has been deeply involved with countless events in South Florida, and he is excited to be part of the plans that are unfolding for the WDM Palm Beach. "International Polo Club is quite literally transforming the Jim Brandon Center for this event. By the time guests arrive to watch this world class dressage competition, they will feel as though they have stepped through the Looking Glass into Southern France."
The menu for the WDM Palm Beach dinner features both the tradition and gourmet splendor of France: from the charcuterie first course to the Deconstructed Suzette Crème Brûlée dessert and final plate du fromage. Each course will be paired with a range of French wines from France's premier wine regions - including Champagne, Sancerre, Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône. "Spectators arriving for the Friday WDM Palm Beach Freestyle will begin their experience in the South of France the moment they enter," says IPC Catering Founder and CEO, Aaron Menitoff. "An evening of incomparable equestrian skill, exceptional cuisine and wine, and social ambience promises to be a memorable experience."
The Friday evening event is not the only social opportunity for ticket holders, who are invited to attend the reception following the FEI horse inspection on the afternoon of Wednesday March 9th at the Jim Brandon Center, as well as the competitors' party following the Grand Prix competition on Thursday the 10th at the Mallet Grill at IPC. Following the competition and awards presentation on the evening of Friday the 11th, there will be an after-party with a premium cash bar and music provided by Miami's Deejay Smeejay, who is well known as IPC's Polo Sunday deejay.
In addition to 18 competitors from the US, Canada and Europe, Dutch Olympian and Team World Equestrian Games gold medalist Hans Peter Minderhoud will give a Master Class presentation before the Grand Prix Freestyle on Friday evening. Minderhoud, who specializes in helping horses make the transition from Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire to the Grand Prix level, will work with two or three horses and their riders in a demonstration of his methods.
The following rider/horse combinations have confirmed their intention to attend the WDM Palm Beach:
Steffen Peters (USA) - Ravel
Tinne Vilhelmsson Silfven (SWE) - Favourit
Ashley Holzer (CAN) - Pop Art
Tina Konyot (USA) - Calecto V
Michal Rapcewicz (POL) - Randon
Valentina Truppa (ITA) - Chablis or Eremo del Castegno
Anja Ploenzke (GER) - Le Mont d'Or
Christa Laarakkers (NED) - Ovation
Anne Van Olst (DEN) - Exquis Clearwater
Todd Fletrich (USA) - Otto
Pierre St Jacques (USA) - Lucky Tiger
Evi Strasser (CAN) - Quantum Tyme
Shannon Dueck (CAN) - Ayscha
Shawna Harding (USA) - Come On III
Liz Austin (USA) - Olivier
One wild card invitation - name TBA
The first and second placed combinations from the CDI3* Grand Prix test
For information about tables and tickets at the World Dressage Masters Palm Beach presented by International Polo Club Palm Beach, visit www.internationalpoloclub.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.
Wednesday March 9th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* horse inspection
Thursday March 10th, 1:00 pm: CDI5* Grand Prix
Friday, March 11th, 1:00 pm: CDI5*Grand Prix Special
Friday, March 11th, 6:00 pm: 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
Noreen O'Sullivan 561-227-1570 or John Flanagan 561-714-9058
WDM Palm Beach Presenting Sponsor: International Polo Club Palm Beach
Additional WDM Palm Beach Sponsor: Akiko Yamazaki
WDM Presenting Partner: Axel Johnson Group
WDM Official partners: Team EXQUIS, Moorland Investments and Moorland Stables, Nürnberger Versicherungsgruppe
WDM Official supplier: Jerich International
WDM series 2011: 425,000 Euros in prize money awarded at four individual events: Palm Beach (USA), Munich (Germany), Falsterbo (Sweden) and Hickstead (England).
Ticket pricing and information: www.internationalpoloclub.com Maria Feola at 561-282-5334, firstname.lastname@example.org - or Julie Pickens at 561-282-5343. Ticket prices begin at $375, including a five course gourmet French meal with wine pairings catered by International Polo Club Catering.
Parking: Valet if desired.
Media Contacts: Mason Phelps 561-371-0118 or Karen Robinson 561-383-1425