I’m sitting here at the Jim Brandon Center, waiting for the rather tiny GP Special of the WDM Palm Beach to get going. Between the flu (Edward Gal), scratching pre-jog (Aussie debutante Nicholas Fyffe), and bloody spur marks (Tina Konyot) there’s been rather a lot of drop off at this year’s event. Right up until jog day we were learning of new names (Diane Creech and James Kofford) being added to the start list to flesh this thing out. We are now down to six in the GPS, but tonight’s freestyle will be the full meal deal with eight competitors. The ‘French countryside’ decoration theme is back for a third straight year, but I do love sunflowers so no complaints.
I was a bit disappointed that this year’s lineup for WDM Palm Beach lacked the star power of, oh, say last year, when Valegro stole my heart and those of just about everyone who got to lay eyes on his awesomeness. The big draw this year was Patrik Kittel and Scandic, who didn’t disappoint yesterday with their own best ever score in the GP. Right behind him is Tinne with the last name I can never spell, the other Swede in the WDM. And even though there wasn’t a Damon Hill or a Parzival to break the 80% mark, it must be said that the caliber among the top half of the field was impressive. The top seven were all over 70% (you can see the scores here). If you compare to the results of last year’s WDM Grand Prix, that’s rather a strong set of performances, especially considering there was no Carl Hester or Ashley Holzer this year.
Somewhat less stellar is the accuracy of information being published in the press releases, but I already moaned about that yesterday on my other blog Straight-Up, so ’nuff said on that front – unless today produces another set of gaffes, in which case I will be more than happy to share them with you later. It’s 20 minutes to show time, so I’ll post this and be back with you after the class is over. Oh, by the way, all the WDM rides are available on live stream and then on demand at USEF Network.