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Sold Out PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby Crowns 2007 Champions

Loxahatchee, FL— The 24th annual PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby once again drew some of the sport’s best riders and thousands of spectators over four days. Each of the rings was sold out, from the national classes to the international CDI events, including nearly 40 Prix St. Georges and more than 20 Grand Prix rides in the CDI alone. Competitors were treated to a superb international judging panel, including O judges Stephen Clarke, Francis Verbeek von Rooy, Wojciech Markowski, Dieter Schüle and Anne Gribbons in the CDI classes. National riders even had the unique opportunity to ride before Uwe Mechlem, a “retired” O judge.

“Each year we try to bring some of the most respected judges in the world,” said Show Manager Evelyn O’Sullivan. “The riders in the national classes told us how thrilled they were to have comments from Uwe Mechlem, one of the most revered judges.” One of those national horses, Pikturesk, owned and ridden by Karen Williams and bred in the United States by Horses Unlimited, was the high score of the show, with a 75.60. The five-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Pik L also took home the High Point Training Level and High Point Hanoverian Awards.

Courtney King continued her Florida circuit winning streak by taking the blue ribbons in numerous classes at the Derby, including the $4,5000 Grand Prix Freestyle with Christine McCarthy’s Idocus. The 17-year-old KWPN stallion showed both consistency and brilliance as he danced to Broadway music and earned a 75.850%. “He feels younger and younger,” King stated. One of King’s goals with the handsome bay was making the piaffe even more on the spot, which she felt that accomplished in the freestyle. She commented, “I was thrilled with that.” The duo also placed second in the Grand Prix with a 70.083%.

In the CDI Prix St. Georges King piloted Francine Walker’s Rendezvous 3 to the win with a 72.450%. The 12-year-old Austrian Warmblood, Arabian and Thoroughbred mare had a colic scare shortly before the show so King had been taking it easy with her, yet in the warm-up, “she just kicked into gear.” The mare also finished fourth in the CDI Intermediaire I, which King won with Richard Malloch’s Dutch gelding Mythilus. The 13 year old by Ferro has a heart of gold, according to King. “He was really with me in the I-1,” she said. “I could go for it a little more.” The judges agreed, giving the pair a 74.250%.

And if this wasn’t enough, King was awarded a stunning 82.00 in the FEI 6 Year Old Class with Harmony’s Wyoming. In partnership with Harmony Sport Horses, King rides the Hanoverian gelding by Weltmeyer. King is quick to note that she is very fortunate to have a great group of clients, including several who have been with her since she was a child, that allow her to show.

Spectators were treated to a superb ride from Arlene “Tuny” Page and her World Cup Finals partner Wild One. The pair clinched the victory in the CDI Grand Prix with a convincing ride that earned a 70.50%. They returned to finish second in the CDI Grand Prix Freestyle with a 72.850%. While Page has been busy with other commitments in the past few months, she felt confident that her horse was coming into top form. She explained, “he had better energy in the hind legs and a better connection in the bridle.” Page is focused on the long term with Wild One and says that now that the Hanoverian by Wanderer is trained, it’s a matter of fine-tuning and bringing out the brilliance. “Practicing at home doesn’t replace going down centerline—not for one minute,” she says. “The expectations on this horse are high and I’m getting used to this.”

Another rider familiar with the pressure of a top horse is Carol Lavell. The Olympic medalist brought her longtime partner Much Ado to the victory lap in the Intermediaire I Freestyle with a 70.70%. They also were second in the CDI Intermediaire I with a 73.250% and fourth in the Prix St. Georges.

American Team Coach Klaus Balkenhol was an active presence at the show. He watched and helped numerous riders. With the World Cup Finals, the Pan American Games and a U.S. European tour just around the corner, Balkenhol was hard at work. One of his riders, Michael Barisone, claimed first place in the CDI Grand Prix Special with Neruda. The 11 year old KWPN gelding by Haarlem is truly starting to carry himself correctly yet retain the power and charisma that has wowed both judges and spectators alike. Barisone credited a great group of people, including Klaus and Judith Balkenhol as well as Jane and Salomon Suwalsky, with whom Barisone co-owns Neruda. Barisone hopes to spend the fall in Europe competing as he did last year, with long-term plans for “the events of next year.”

The 24th edition of the Derby not only featured great competition, but superb shopping at 28 boutiques, an autograph signing with Tami Hoag and top grand prix riders, and entertainment from Medieval Times. The show organizers promise that the 25th anniversary of the show held in 2008, an Olympic year, will be an event to remember. Complete information about this year’s Derby can be found at www.pbderby,.com. Visit http://www.PhelpsSports.com to learn how to subscribe to the premiere equestrian sports network.

About the Palm Beach Derby

The Palm Beach Dressage Derby is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. 2007 marks the 24th anniversary of this prestigious event. This show attracts the best riders from around the globe, including Betsy Steiner, Leslie Morse, Robert Dover, Cesar Parra, Lars Peterson, Arlene Page, Ashley Holzer and many more of the Who’s Who of the dressage world. The PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby is the main event in a two-show series that includes Dressage at Equestrian Estates in April as well as educational programs.

 

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