Wellington, Fla. – March 9, 2019 – Forty of the world’s best show jumping athletes and horses returned to the International Arena at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) on Saturday evening to battle it out in the $391,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI5*. Israel’s Daniel Bluman decided last minute to ride Over The Top Stables LLC’s Ladriano Z in Week Nine’s feature event, the third CSI5* grand prix of the WEF season, and his decision paid off as the pair flew to victory with the fastest double-clear performance.
Renowned Irish course designer Alan Wade built a tough but fair first round track consisting of 14 obstacles, which saw only five combinations jump clear to advance to the jump-off. The tiebreaker was extremely close as all five combinations finished within just tenths of a second of each other.
Wade’s seven-obstacle jump-off course featured a sharp rollback from fence one (a triple bar) to two (a tall 1.60m vertical) followed by a bending line to an oxer and another rollback to a vertical, where athletes then cut across the center of the arena to the A element of the double combination from the first round (a vertical) to an oxer-vertical double combination up the outside line going away from home before galloping over the final oxer.
Alex Granato (USA) and Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W, who recently claimed the $208,200 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington CSI4*-W at the Palm Beach Masters Series in February, were the first to return and had their eyes on the prize as they completed the short course with blazing speed. Their time of 37.096 seconds would ultimately be the fastest time of the night, however their rail at the oxer of the double combination cost them 4 faults, garnering them fourth place honors in the end.
Japan’s Karen Polle and Sari, owned by Kinoshita Group, were the early clear pathfinders in the jump-off, stopping the timers in 37.58 seconds, while reigning Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final champions Beezie Madden and Breitling LS, owned by Abigail Wexner, followed with another clear round in 37.768 seconds, just missing the leading time by two-tenths of a second.
Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) and Ensor De Litrange LXII, owned by Stephex Stables, were fourth in the order and posted the second 4-fault round in 37.415 seconds, which would be good enough for fifth place in the final standings.
Saving the best for last, Bluman and the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding left all of the rails intact and crossed the finish line in 37.413 seconds, taking over Polle’s top spot on the leaderboard to capture the blue ribbon, while Polle settled for second place and Madden rounded out the top three.
Bluman and Ladriano Z have been partnered together and competing internationally since the start of 2017. They won the first CSI5* grand prix of WEF in 2018 and later represented Team Israel at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, North Carolina, before finishing out the year with a win in the $85,000 GroupBy “Big Ben” Challenge at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in November 2018.
Thus far this season, the pair finished double-clear in the competitive $290,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America CSIO5* to help Team Israel earn the silver medal at the Palm Beach Masters Series and just one week later claimed round seven of the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup during the second CSI5* week of the 2019 WEF season during Week Seven.
International show jumping competition will pick back up at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center during Week Ten of WEF (March 13–17), which will highlight the $134,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI3* on Saturday. CSI5* competition will resume during Week Twelve, the final week of the circuit, March 27–31.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Daniel Bluman (ISR) – $391,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI5* winner
On Ladriano Z:
“Ladriano has started the season really strong. He jumped clear all week at the [Palm Beach Masters Series CSIO5*]. He was very strong that weekend and then he won the WEF [Challenge]. In the grand prix [during Week Seven] I had one down — it was a rider mistake. He felt incredible. I wasn’t actually supposed to show him this week but I thought, ‘I’ll just jump one more CSI5* week.’ He went incredible on Thursday. I had a really cheap rail very similar to the one I had in the grand prix before. Today he felt spectacular. In the first round, I think I gave him the best chance to leave the jumps up and he jumped flawless. The warm-up for the jump-off was as good as I could have a warm-up with him. I got to see Beezie [Madden], Karen [Polle] and Lorenzo [De Luca] go and I sort of had a plan in my head. I knew if I gave the horse the right chance we could maybe win the class and it turned out so I’m very thrilled.”
On prepping Ladriano:
“He’s been in great form. He feels fresh — actually a bit too fresh so I didn’t have to do much. I was just trying to be a better rider for him and get him more rideable. If I put him in the right spot, he is going to leave the jumps up. He’s a phenomenal horse — they don’t get any better than that.”
On the final combination:
“For me, I was quite confident he was going to jump it well because the last two mistakes he had were at an oxer in a combination at the back rail, which is really unusual for him. He’s a really careful horse so I actually rode it completely opposite to Beezie. I came in strong and a little deep with a lot of power. I was trusting the horse was going to jump up and be careful…it pretty much rode like a gymnastic after that. The circumstances of what happened in the last couple of classes allowed me to ride this way.”
On his string of horses:
“I’ve been blessed to have had a horse like Sancha [LS] for the majority of my young career, and now the opportunity to have Ladriano is a blessing. I think it would be unfair to say which is better — they’re both fantastic horses at different times in my career. To have a horse like Ladriano in the barn — it’s just a matter of me becoming better so that he can go on and win any grand prix in the world. I have to keep raising my level and getting to the best of my game so that he can continue to achieve success.”
Karen Polle (JPN) – Second place
“I’m so thrilled with her. We’re a relatively new partnership. I got her a little over a year ago, but we only started doing grand prix [classes] this past September so I’ve just been working on figuring her out. She’s been so consistent. This is her fourth grand prix she’s been clear in this season. I’m absolutely thrilled and so excited about her.”
On the jump-off:
“She was jumping really well tonight so I knew I could take a little bit of a shot at some of the verticals. I tried to be as neat as I could. I knew there were a lot of fast pairs behind me so I think I did the best I could with the stage we’re at in our partnership right now.”
On the final combination:
“I actually had the same plan as Daniel. I was planning to come in pretty positive up to the [double combination] but I ended up coming in way too hot. I was very lucky that my horse cleared it — that wasn’t exactly my plan.”
Beezie Madden (USA) – Third place
On Breitling LS:
“I really used this week as a prep for World Cup Finals. I do plan on taking him. The first day in the 1.45m, I went a little fast and then he went in the WEF [Challenge] and today. I’m really happy with that because I think he could’ve jumped another round or two tonight. I was really thrilled with his performance. I thought the first round he was excellent and in the jump-off I think I was right on it. When I flew across the middle and jumped that vertical so fast I thought, ‘I should take a little care to the double.’ I throttled down a little too much, but I couldn’t be happier with the way the night went. This is his last prep before World Cup so we’re good to go.”
On the double combination in the jump-off:
“I think part of the difficulty was the distance between A and B. It was quite short and B was a tall vertical. I think that spot in the ring particularly is difficult as well because the horses think they’re done — it’s the last line going away from the gate so they tend to get behind you and then you have to speed up again. My plan was to come in as together as I could at that oxer and I stuck with that plan because it looked like the ones that went in fast were not doing well with B.”
$391,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI5*:
Place / Horse / Athlete / Country / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Ladriano Z / Daniel Bluman / ISR / 0 | 79.17 / 0 | 37.413
2. Sari / Karen Polle / JPN / 0 | 79.53 / 0 | 37.58
3. Breitling LS / Beezie Madden / USA / 0 | 78.7 / 0 | 37.768
4. Carlchen W / Alex Granato / USA / 0 | 79.68 / 4 | 37.096
5. Ensor De Litrange LXII / Lorenzo De Luca / ITA / 0 | 79.26 / 4 | 37.415
6. Victer Finn DH Z / Eugenio Garza Perez / MEX / 1 | 82.61
7. Alejandro / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 4 | 77.38
8. Emmerton / Kent Farrington / USA / 4 | 78.75
9. Lucifer V / Nayel Nassar / EGY / 4 | 78.89
10. Hester / Lucy Deslauriers / USA / 4 | 79.1
11. H5 Quintol / Eduardo Menezes / BRA / 4 | 79.16
12. H5 Sunshine / Carlos Hank Guerreiro / MEX / 4 | 79.2