Olympic Rematch Set for 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas

Friday, March 27, 2009

Anky Van Grunsven and Isabell Werth Head Entry List for Dressage World Cup Final

LAS VEGAS, NV - March 26, 2009 - A showdown of Olympic proportions is setfor this year's Dressage World Cup Final at the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup™ Finals in Las Vegas, as Anky Van Grunsven of The Netherlands and Isabell Werth of Germany head the list of 15 riders from eight countries set to compete.

The Rolex FEI World Cup™Finals return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, April 15-19.  The Finals feature World Cup Finals in the two Olympic disciplines of show jumping and dressage.

Van Grunsven, the reigning Olympic, World, and World Cup Champion, is one of the most decorated riders in dressage history.  She has won the World Cup Final a record nine times, including last year, and also the individual Gold Medal at the last three Olympic Games (2000, 2004, 2008).  She is also the reigning World Champion, having won that title at the last World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany in 2006.

Joining Van Grunsven in Las Vegas is her longtime rival, Isabell Werth of Germany. Werth has won the World Cup Final on two occasions-1992 and 2007 in Las Vegas when van Grunsven was home in Holland after having just given birth.

The two rivals have traded places on the podium for years. Each has won eight Olympic medals. When Werth won Gold in 1996, van Grunsven took Silver. In 2000, the results were reversed, with van Grunsven winning Gold.  At the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Van Grunsven won Gold in the Grand Prix Freestyle, where Werth won Bronze, and Werth won Gold in the Grand Prix Special, where van Grunsven won silver.

Looking to crack the van Grunsven-Werth hold on the World Cup championship will be 16 other riders including three Americans, led by Steffen Peters of San Diego, CA who finished fourth in last year's Olympic Games in Hong Kong.  He is joined by Jan Ebeling of Moorpark, CA and Leslie Morse of Beverly Hills, CA.

The full list of entries for this year's World Cup Final is as follows:

Title Defender:
1  Anky VAN GRUNSVEN, NED                              IPS Painted Black
Western European League:
2   Isabell WERTH, GER                                             Satchmo
3   Adelinde CORNELISSEN, NED                           Parzival
4   Hans Peter MINDERHOUD, NED                        Exquis Nadine
5   Monica THEODORESCU, GER                            Whisper
6   Jan BRINK, SWE                                                  Briar
7   Jeanette HAAZEN, NED                                       Nartan
8   Minna Telde, SWE                                                 Don Charly
Central European League:
9   Mical RAPCEWICZ, POL                                     Randon
Pacific League:
10  Heath RYAN, AUS                                               Regardez Moi
North American League:
11   Steffen PETERS, USA                                          Ravel  
12   Ashley HOLZER, CAN                                        Pop Art
South America / Asia:
13   Marco BERNAL, COL                                         Diamore
Additional starting places or FEI Wild Cards:
14    Leslie MORSE,    USA                                        Kingston                     
15   Jan EBELING, USA                                             Rafalca

The 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Finals will see exciting equestrian action throughout its five days. Wednesday, April 15 will feature the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Warm Up I and II at 9:30am and the Rolex FEI World Cup dressage warm up at 1:30pm.  Thursday, April 16 will feature the Rolex FEI World Cup Dressage Grand Prix at noon and the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final Round I at 7:00pm.

Things begin to heat up on Friday, April 17 with the Las Vegas Dressage Showcase at noon as well as the official Retirement Ceremony for Brentina, the only U.S. horse ever to win the Dressage World Cup Final. Friday will also feature the second round of the Rolex FEI World Cup Jumping Final. Saturday, April 18 features the Las Vegas Jumping Grand Prix at noon.

Dressage competition concludes on Saturday when a new World Cup Dressage Champion will be crowned following the Grand Prix Freestyle at 7:00pm. Show Jumping concludes on Sunday, April 19 with the third round of the Rolex World Cup Show Jumping Final, and the determination of the next World Cup Show Jumping Champion.

Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world's best show jumping horses and riders.  Approximately 45 riders qualify from 13 leagues around the world.  In the 30 finals held through 2008, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times. 

The 2009 event will mark the eighth FEI World Cup Jumping Final to be held in the United States, following Finals in Baltimore in 1980, Tampa, Fla. in 1989, Del Mar, Calif. in 1992 and four in Las Vegas in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. three times, in 1995 in Los Angeles and 2005 and 2007 in Las Vegas.  The Netherlands has dominated the competition, winning nine titles, followed by Germany with seven.  The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald rode Brentina to the championship.

About Las Vegas Events

Founded in 1983, Las Vegas Events, Inc. has grown with Las Vegas as the city has emerged as one of the world's top special event and resort destinations.  A private, not-for-profit organization, LVE is funded by hotel room tax and serves as the exclusive major special events agency for the city.  Since 1991, Las Vegas Events has produced, presented or supported more than 480 events, which have driven more than 4.4 million visitors to the area, resulting in an economic impact of more than $2.7 billion.

Further information about the Rolex FEI World Cup™ Jumping and Dressage Finals, including information on purchasing tickets, is also available at the official website at www.lasvegasevents.com.