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Wellington to Host Palm Beach Steeplechase Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Saturday, Nov. 29

WELLINGTON, Fla., July 23--Wellington will host the Palm Beach Steeplechase as a Thanksgiving weekend feature of an expanded equestrian circuit at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

The day of five races over about 12 fences with total prize money of $200,000 on Thanksgiving Saturday, Nov. 29, will be the finale for the 2008 competition year sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), the governing body of the sport. The association will hold its annual awards dinner and other social events in conjunction with the Palm Beach Steeplechase.

This will be the first steeplechase to be held in Palm Beach in 23 years.

Terrier races, live music, wine tasting, antique car displays and a fancy hat contest will all be part of what is traditionally a day-long tailgate party and social event.

A celebrity race on the flat with no jumps that will include polo players and amateurs and is not associated with the NSA will also be part of the entertainment.

Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, the management company for dressage and hunter-jumper shows at PBIEC, announced that the steeplechase will comprise five races over a 2.25-mile course being constructed at the former Palm Beach Polo Stadium that is now part of PBIEC.

Mark Bellissimo, ESP Chief Executive Officer, said he hopes to create an annual event to attract both equestrians and non-equestrians.

"This Steeplechase will be a fun family-oriented event that we hope will engage the entire community," he said.

"The event adds another dimension of horse sport in our continuing effort to make Wellington the premiere equestrian lifestyle destination in the world. "

"We are excited about Palm Beach," said Lou Raffetto, NSA Chief Executive Officer. "The goal is to create an event and I have no doubt we can do that. The weekend will have something for everyone and we are expecting a great deal of participation."

The races will be held on the polo fields near the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road in Wellington. The association expects about 50 horses to participate.

Palm Beach Polo Club last hosted steeplechases in the spring of 1984 and 1985.

Raffetto said the association usually holds its last steeplechase of the year in mid-November in South Carolina but it welcomed lengthening the season.

"We hope this is a huge success and grows into a yearly event," Raffetto said. "We couldn't think of a better way to end the season."

The Palm Beach Steeplechase will be held a week before Holiday & Horses, an equestrian extravaganza of world class competition of jumping, hunters and dressage and exciting family entertainment at PBIEC. Holiday & Horses kicks off the five-week Holiday Circuit as a prelude to the Winter Equestrian Festival from Jan. 7 through March 29, 2009.

Further details of the Palm Beach Steeplechase and other ESP events will be announced as they become available and will also be posted on the ESP Internet site, http://www.equestriansport.com.



EVENT--Palm Beach Steeplechase

WHERE--The Stadium, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Cnr. South Shore Boulevard & Pierson Road, Wellington, Florida 33414

WHEN--Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008.

TICKETS & RESERVATIONS--http://www.equestriansport.com

EVENT COORDINATOR-Elizabeth Hedley

Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC.

14440 Pierson Road

Wellington, Florida 33414

Tel: 561.793.5867 Cell: 561.662.0072 Fax: 561.753.0394

 

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