Trump Invitational rolls out red carpet for leading showjumpers

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Aerial view of the Mar-a-Lago Club during Sunday's Grand Prix.
Aerial view of the Mar-a-Lago Club during this year’s Grand Prix.

US presidential candidate Donald Trump is again bringing showjumping to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, early in the New Year.

The fourth annual Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex, will be held on Sunday, January 3, featuring the $130,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix CSI 2*, and the $10,000 Junior/Amateur Jumper class.

The Trump Invitational has quickly become one of the most special events on the equestrian calendar with ringside tables bordering two sides of the jumping arena. Guests are welcomed with a red carpet entrance poolside at The Mar-a-Lago Club, the former Marjorie Merriweather Post Estate built in 1924 and purchased and restored by Donald Trump in 1985.

The competition field at The Mar-a-Lago Club on the Intracoastal Waterway.
The competition field at The Mar-a-Lago Club on the Intracoastal Waterway. © Sportfot

The invitational is the only equestrian event ever to be held on Palm Beach Island. The Mar-a-Lago Club is one of the most magnificent mansions in the world, is in the national register of historic places, and is a designated US National Landmark.

The event will benefit the 2016 Great Charity Challenge (GCC), which has raised more than $7.5 million dollars over the past six years for more than 150 Palm Beach County charities. Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, will be the Chairperson for the Trump Invitational.  It will also serve as the kickoff party for the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, the 12-week circuit that runs at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on January 13 to April 3, 2016.

A fabulous theme highlights each year’s decorations as the VIP area welcomes equestrians and celebrities with a gourmet brunch buffet, special drinks, and the opportunity to watch equestrian sport at one of the most breathtaking venues in the world.

The Trump Invitational Grand Prix will showcase some of the world’s top riders in an FEI world ranking competition. World No.2 ranked rider Kent Farrington was the victor in the first two editions of the event, while Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut captured the top prize last year.

Farrington said he was excited to return to the event. “The riders always look forward to it every winter because it’s truly a unique venue to showcase our sport. Hopefully I can make it a three-peat in 2016.”

Event organizer Mark Bellissimo said more than $1.5 million was expected to be raised for local Palm Beach County charities.

Following the grand prix is a special invitational junior/amateur jumper class that will highlight some of the top junior and amateur riders in the sport.

Laura Kraut and Cedric have won the 2015 $125,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
Laura Kraut and Cedric, winners of the 2015 $125,000 Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

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