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Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI 3* Opens at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center

WELLINGTON, Fla., Dec. 2--Holiday & Horses CSI-W/CDI 3* opened Wednesday in the made over Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with about 200 horses competing in hunter and jumper classes. Dressage begins Thursday.

Competitors expressed amazement at the multimillion dollar improvements to PBIEC, especially seating around the showcase International Arena. Spectator seating for the International Club, VIP boxes, rider stands and general admission seating were all rebuilt from the ground up.

Opening of the show that features the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship was rated about perfect, under blue skies and the temperature reaching 70 degrees.

The $10,000 Dever, Inc. Welcome Stake was the only class held in the International Arena Wednesday.

Kent Farrington of Wellington, Fla. on Thunder-ball took first place ahead of Ireland's Shane Sweetnam on Amaretto d'Arco in second and Chris Kappler and VDL Oranta third.

About $5 million was spent prior to the 2008 Winter Equestrian Festival by Equestrian Sport Productions, the management company of the Wellington shows. ESP is owned by Wellington Equestrian Partners.

Another $5 million has been invested in recent months to complete renovations and improvements.

Holiday & Horses highlights, all in the International Arena, are:

-7 PM Friday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Speed Class

-7 PM Saturday - CDI 3* Dressage Musical Freestyle

-2 PM Sunday - Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach - Grand Prix and FEI World Cup Qualifier.

Prize money for the Rolex/USEF National Show Jumping Championship presented by Equine Motorcoach is $40,000 for the Speed Class, $60,000 for the Grand Prix and $25,000 for the top finishing U.S. rider.

In addition to the competition, there will be a children's fair, pony rides, Santa Claus and a tree lighting ceremony.

Hunter and jumper competition kicks off Wednesday while horses entered in the CDI 3* dressage will perform a veterinary jog.

PBIEC INFORMATION & TICKETS: http://www.equestriansport.com 561/793-5867 or http://www.equestriansport.com

THE FACILITY: The Palm Beach International Equestrian Center is home to the Winter Equestrian Festival and the site of the first outdoor Nations Cup held in the United States. The competition areas include the 360' x 280' all-weather International Arena, the Bertalan DeNemethy Arena, Mogavero Ring and Grand Hunter Field in addition to several other competition rings. The competition and warm up rings have all-weather footing. Amenities include the International Club, refreshment and shopping areas.

DIRECTIONS: From the Florida Turnpike south, take Exit #93, Lake Worth Blvd., and travel west, crossing over US 441. Travel five miles to South Shore Blvd., turn right on South Shore and proceed one mile to Pierson Road, then turn left at the light. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.

From Interstate I-95, take Exit #49. Travel west on Forest Hills Blvd. 11 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn left on South Shore and follow to Pierson Road. Turn right at the light on Pierson. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.

FOOD: A diverse menu of food and beverages is available at the vendor courtyard and at vendor areas around the International Arena, and are open during show hours.

SHOPPING: The vendor courtyard and individual booths around the International Arena offer equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry, home furnishings and more.

CAR RENTAL: Enterprise Rent-a-Car for your car rental needs. Call 1-800-593-0505 or go online to enterprise.com and use the WEF reference number 41W0087 and the PIN; win for a discount.

HOTELS: Hampton Inn and Suites Wellington

2155 Wellington Green Drive, Wellington, FL 561-472-9696

(Closest hotel, just two miles from show grounds)

Hampton Inn Lake Worth Road

8205 Lake Worth Road, Lake Worth, FL 561-472-5980

(New location just five miles from Wellington)

Hampton Inn West Palm Beach

Okeechobee Blvd. at Jog Rd.

2025 Vista Parkway, West Palm Beach, FL 561-682-9990

(Just 12 miles away at Emerald Dunes)

GOLF CARS: Dever, Inc., the Official & Exclusive Supplier of Golf Cars. Orders and information at http://www.deverinc.com or telephone Dever Inc.'s PBIEC office at 859-509-7265 or the home office at 800-714-2201.

Photo: Kent Farrington on Thunder-ball winning the $10,000 Dever Inc. Welcome Stake at Holiday & Horses CSI-W at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center Wednesday. Photo: J.L. Parker


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