After 40 years in Tampa, Florida and following the bold move to the East coast last year at Sun Life Stadium, one of America’s most iconic show jumping events, the American Invitational, has found a new home, this time as Friday’s main event on the world’s richest and most popular show jumping series, the Longines Global Champions Tour.
While the long-running Invitational has given up its stand alone stadium status, the exchange seems to be a be a good one for both the event itself and for show jumping in the United States, as the American Invitational will now be held before what is expected to be a sell-out, standing room only crowd and will have a host of star-studded international riders as well as the best America has to offer.
In addition to the stars of Europe making the trip for the Longines Global Champions Tour, expected to compete in this year’s American Invitational are three of the last five winners, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward and last year’s champion Beezie Madden, the three highest ranked riders on the U.S. Computer rankings and the three highest placed Americans on the Longines World Rankings. Madden and Ward have accounted for five of the last nine American Invitational victories and have been teammates on two Olympic Gold medal teams for the United States. Other past Invitational champions expected in Miami are three-time World Cup champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil, U.S. Olympic alternate Todd Minikus and two-time American Invitational champion Molly Ashe.
Some of America’s top ‘young guns’ will be there as well, highlighted by the last two American Gold Cup Champions Jessica Springsteen and Brianne Goutal as well as Nations Cup veteran and Central Park Grand Prix winner, Georgina Bloomberg. Paige Johnson, Katie Dinan, Wilton Porter and more are scheduled to compete on the beach.
The class will certainly have a different feel and atmosphere as it migrates from the wide open galloping tracks created outdoors in a major pro football stadium to what will be more indoor-like conditions in the new close-up and intimate atmosphere of the unique Global Champions Tour facility created especially for Miami Beach’s famed South Beach.
Visitor entry to the event will be free of charge to the public with 700 grandstand seats available as the 10th Anniversary season of the ‘Formula One’ of show jumping gets underway.
“The American Invitational has a long and distinguished history, and we very pleased to be hosting the competition on the Friday evening of our Miami Beach event,” said Jan Tops, the President of the Longines Global Champions Tour. “The founder of the Invitational, Gene Mische, was a personal friend who helped me to bring the very first Global Champions Tour series to Palm Beach in 2006. With the American Invitational, he has left a lasting legacy that Longines Global Champions Tour are proud to be associated with.”
Stadium Jumping President, Michael Morrissey said of the changes, “I’m looking forward to it. It gives us a chance to showcase a legendary show jumping event like the American Invitational to a whole new audience and a chance to really begin to build a lasting base of fans here in South Florida. What we lose in the grandeur of the stadium, I think we’ll more than make up for in the up close excitement on the beach in the Longines GCT Stadium. It should be a great class!”
The 2015 American Invitational takes center stage on Friday, April 3rd in Miami Beach.The feature class of the show, the $600,000 (€529,000) Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach Grand Prix, will be contested on the afternoon of Saturday 4th April on the sun-drenched sands. The event takes place during a year packed with celebrations for the City of Miami Beach as it marks its 100th birthday with a busy schedule of concerts and parties.
Source: Phelps Media