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Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club


TAMPA, FL - March 8, 2001 -Each year thousands of the nation's best equestrian competitors, including Olympic veterans and international stars, mark their calendars to be in Tampa in March. This year is no different, as more than 1,000 competitors will converge upon the city when the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival comes to town March 21 - April 1, 2001.

Not only will there be exciting show jumping action, but spectators can also enjoy the beautiful and stylish hunter competitions.Action begins at the Bob Thomas Equestrian Center on the Florida State Fairgrounds with the Tampa Bay Classic on March 21-25. The $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa presented by Kilkenny Insurance, the final qualifying competition for the $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, will be held on March 25 on the Grand Prix field.

The Tournament of Champions, March 28-April 1, will be highlighted by the $30,000 Ariat Challenge Cup Series Final. This final qualifying competition for the 2001 Show Jumping World Cup Final will be held March 29 at the indoor arena at Bob Thomas Equestrian Center.

The Festival's two-week stay in Tampa will be highlighted by the twenty-ninth annual $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune, held on Saturday evening, March 31 at the Raymond James Stadium. Thirty competitors are invited, with each rider competing aboard only one horse. Invitations will be issued to Florida's Schuyler Riley, the 2000 Budweiser American Invitational winner; the top four riders of the 2000/2001 AGA Rider of the Year Standings; and the 25 top money earners of the Festival's Grand Prix and CWEF Challenge Cup Series. The event benefits the Tampa Police Mounted Patrol.

Over the years only three riders have won the Budweiser American Invitational more than once and only two riders, Rodney Jenkins and Michelle McEvoy-Grubb, have had back-to-back wins. McEvoy-Grubb, along with Sundancer, was the only horse and rider combination to ever win two consecutive years. The winner's purse for the Budweiser American Invitational this year is $200,000 and Riley would love to be the first rider to take the winner's share of this record
Six-time American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Rider of the Year and 2000 U.S. Olympian Margie Engle of Wellington, FL, has been building momentum during the Festival's stay in Wellington. Most recently, she rode Hidden Creek's Laurel, a 13-year-old Dutch-bred bay mare, to defeat a field of 68 competitors and win the $75,000 Tommy Bahama Florida Open Grand Prix. That marked Engle's 95th career grand prix victory and solidified her chances for an unprecedented seventh AGA Rider of the Year crown. Other top U.S. grand prix winners in the first half of the Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington have included three-time AGA Rider of the Year Katie Prudent, of Middleburg, VA, and 1998 AGA Rider of the Year McLain Ward of Brewster, NY. Jeffrey Welles, of Pound Ridge, NY, will come to Tampa with the $75,000 Kilkenny International Cup win under his belt, while Aaron Vale, of Rembert, SC, has claimed victory in the $50,000 Bayer/USET Wellington Cup Grand Prix.

The Cosequin Winter Equestrian Festival will culminate with the $300,000 American Grandprix Association National Championship, presented by Budweiser, April 4-8 at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington. For further information please call (800) 237-8924 or visit
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