2013 Palm Beach Dressage Derby CDI-W Draws Competitive Field of Olympians
The prestigious Palm Beach Dressage Derby consistently attracts top dressage riders from around the world and its 2013 edition is no exception. The 30th year of the Dressage Derby, held 28 February - 3 March 2013 at Equestrian Estates in Loxahatchee has drawn an international cast of competitors, including many who have represented their countries in the Olympic Games.
The Dressage Derby's Grand Prix CDI-W features six Olympians who have competed for four different countries over the past two decades. Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén has represented Sweden an impressive six times at the Olympics, competing at every Games since 1992. In that time, she has had several top finishes, including 12th place individually at the 2008 Games and 11th individually in 2012.
Vilhelmson-Silfvén has racked up numerous wins in South Florida this winter. With Don Auriello, she rode to the championship at the Jan. 23-27 World Dressage Masters CDI5* and two wins at the Feb. 14-17 Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W. She and Divertimento, whom she will ride in the Dressage Derby, have put together a stellar string of finishes, placing consistently in the top three at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W, Wellington Dressage CDI3*, and Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W.
David Marcus of Canada made his Olympic debut in 2012 on Chrevi's Capital. Marcus, a relative newcomer to the international dressage scene, has quickly established himself as a top contender. He and Chrevi's Capital recently collected wins in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Freestyle at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival's Wellington Dressage CDI3*. Don Kontes, Marcus' mount for the Dressage Derby, has also had a successful start to his season, winning the Freestyle and taking second in the Grand Prix at the Jan. 23-27 Wellington Classic Dressage Sunshine Challenge CDI3*.
Jacqueline Brooks, who rode with Marcus on Canada's 2012 Olympic dressage team and also competed at the 2008 Games in Beijing, is bringing her London mount D Niro to the Dressage Derby. The pair has earned third place finishes in several Grand Prix competitions on the South Florida circuit this season, including the Grand Prix Special at the World Dressage Masters CDI5* and the Freestyles at the Wellington Dressage CDI3* and the Florida Dressage Classic CDI-W.
A third former Canadian Olympic team member, Evi Strasser, brings her extensive international experience to the Dressage Derby field. Along with her 1996 appearance at the Olympics, she has often represented Canada on the international stage and earned a team Silver Medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. Strasser will ride Action Tyme in the Dressage Derby.
Denmark's Lars Petersen also rode in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he earned an impressive 12th-place finish in the individual competition. He will ride Mariett in the Dressage Derby. Petersen and Mariett recently picked up wins in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge CDI3*.
Cesar Parra, who now rides for the United States, rounds out the elite group of Olympians competing at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby. Parra rode for Colombia in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but has since become a United States citizen. He and Van the Man won the Grand Prix Special at the Gold Coast Opener CDI-W earlier this season.
With such a talented group of riders assembled, the Palm Beach Dressage Derby promises to be a highly competitive event.