The Palm Beach Masters Series®’ newest five-star event kicked off on Wednesday, March 11 at Deeridge Farms.
The Palm Beach Open CSI5*/CSI2* kicked off Wednesday morning at Deeridge Farms, as picture-perfect conditions welcomed competitors to the final event of the 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series®.
Many of the sport’s very best were spotted jogging down the venue’s grassy runway, as 110 CSI5* horses passed inspection, following the acceptance of 151 CSI2* horses Tuesday morning.
Chief among the group was the 11-year-old KWPN gelding Explosion W, who will make his debut at Deeridge Farms under Ben Maher (GBR). The pair is the world’s top-ranked combination in jumping, according to FEI Rankings.
Maher is also the fourth-leading rider on the prestigious Longines World Jumping Rankings. He’s joined at Deeridge by three others among that list’s top 10: Darragh Kenny (No.7), Beezie Madden (8), and McLain Ward (9).
Kenny (IRL) kicked off the 2020 Palm Beach Masters Series® with a spectacular win aboard Classic Dream in the $213,300 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington, Presented by Canadian Pacific, on Feb. 2. Kenny returns with that mount this week, about whom he said, “I think in the future, he’ll be one of the best horses in the world.”
Three weeks ago, Madden clinched a victory for Team USA in the $230,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA at Deeridge Farms, with an unforgettable jump-off aboard Darry Lou. This week, she’s back with the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, Chic Hin d Hyrencourt. Two other teammates from that winning squad, Margie Engle (USA) and Jessica Springsteen (USA), will also compete again at the Palm Beach Open. Engle brings forward Royce and Indigo, while Springsteen will ride RMF Zecile, Volage du val Henry, and Don Juan van de Donkhoeve.
Also during Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Week, Ward (USA) topped the CSIO5* $213,300 Longines Grand Prix with Noche de Ronda. Ward seeks his fourth five-star grand prix win of 2020, having recorded three such victories in Wellington since Feb. 8.
A total of 12 nations will be represented across CSI5* competition, which begins Thursday with the $10,000 CSI5* Palm Beach Masters Warm-Up at 10:00am ET.
The schedule is highlighted by the $300,000 CSI5* CP Palm Beach Masters Final, set for 1:30pm ET on March 15, 2020. Other CSI5* classes include the $36,000 CSI5* Suncast Welcome Stake; the $36,000 CSI5* NetJets Speed Challenge; the $72,900 CSI5* Palm Beach Masters Qualifier; and the $137,000 CSI5* Palm Beach Masters Classic.
For more information about the Palm Beach Mastrs, view results, and watch the action live, click here.