Palm Beach Dressage Derby Moves to Global Dressage Festival Grounds in Wellington

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Mark Bellissimo. © 2013 Ken Braddick/
Mark Bellissimo. © 2013 Ken Braddick/

WELLINGTON, Florida, Nov. 13–The Palm Beach Dressage Derby, the oldest and for almost three decades the most prestigious dressage event in Florida, is moving to the multimillion dollar Global Dressage Festival grounds in Wellington from its longtime home in neighboring Loxahatchee, Mark Bellissimo, chief executive of Equestrian Sport Productions said Wednesday.

Agreement was reached between ESP and Maryanne McPhail that controls the U.S. Equestrian Federation license through a private corporation that had staged the event at Maryanne’s Equestrian Estate show grounds. She will continue to own the license.

The USEF has to sign off on a transfer to the Global Dressage Festival grounds that would be held on the same dates as listed in the official calender, Feb. 26-Mar. 2 and would be added to the lineup of six CDIs that have already been assigned to the show grunds from January through the end of March.

The agreement is for an initial year with an evaluation by Maryanne McPhail to determine whether to extend the agreement beyond 2014.

ESP will create a McPhail Cup to go along with the array of traditional perpetual trophies that have been an integral part of the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.

Discussions between the two began after the Palm Beach Dressage Derby organization told a month ago that arrangements to keep the event at Equestrian Estates were being canceled.

“I think it will be good,” Maryanne told, “otherwise the Derby was just going to die, it was just going to shrivel up and die. We don’t want that to happen. We worked too hard to let that occur.

“We want it to go on and do well, maybe even be better.

“In some ways it will not be the same. It was kind of a family thing. Everybody pulled together, helped us. Everybody was pleasant. Tt was fun.”

The Global Dressage Festival CDI schedule, subject to approval by the U.S. Equestrian Federation:

Jan. 8-12 – World Cup CDI-W
Jan. 22-26 – World Cup CDI-W
Feb. 5-9 – CDI4*
Feb. 18-23 – Nations Cup CDIO3*
Feb. 26-Mar. 2 – Palm Beach Dressage Derby World Cup CDI-W
Mar. 12-16 – World Cup CDI-W
Mar. 26-30 – CDI5*