The highlight event of week 9 at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival, the $391,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI 5*, hosted the highest level of competition at the circuit, and it was Daniel Bluman (ISR) who rode to the win on Ladriano Z, owned by Over the Top Stables LLC. Over at the grass derby field of Equestrian Village, the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby had two winners in Havens Schatt on Happy Thought for the professional division and Sofia Roberts riding Small Gesture in the junior/amateur division.

Week 9 of WEF concludes on Sunday, March 10, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center with the $72,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI 5* and the $50,000 Griffis Residential Grand Prix CSI 2*. WEF continues for three more weeks through March 31.

Out of 39 entries in the opening round competing over a course designed by Alan Wade of Ireland, five found the key to a clear round and advanced to the jump-off. First into the jump-off was Alex Granato (USA) and Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W. They had the fastest time of the night in 37.09 seconds, but with a rail at the ‘a’ element of the double combination, they finished in fourth place.

Karen Polle (JPN) and the Kinoshita Group’s Sari went to the top of the leaderboard as the next combination in with a clear round in 37.58 seconds, but it would not be quite enough and they placed second at the end of the class.

“She was jumping really, really well tonight, so I knew I could sort of take a shot at some of the verticals,” Polle said of her jump-off ride. “I just tried to be as neat as I could. I knew there were a lot of fast pairs behind me. I think I did pretty much the best I could with the stage we’re at in our partnership right now.”

Polle has been riding Sari, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare by Ninio de Rox x Timorrak des Isles, for just over a year, but they have only competed at the grand prix level since September.

“I’m so thrilled with her,” said Polle, who was also named the Martha Jolicoeur Leading Lady Jumper Rider for the week. “I’ve just been working on figuring her out, but she’s been so consistent here. This is her fourth grand prix that she’s been clear in this season, so I’m absolutely thrilled and I’m just so excited about her.”

Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS were next in and despite an incredible slice across a vertical in the middle of a jump-off, they finished just off the pace in 37.76 seconds for third place.

“I’m just really thrilled with his performance,” said Madden of the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Quintero x Accord II. “I thought in the first round, he was excellent. 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 next and I throttled down a little bit too much, but I couldn’t be happier with the way the night went.”

Madden and Breitling were last year’s FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals winners, and Madden feels confident in how her top horse feels for this year’s Finals.

“I really used this week as a prep for the World Cup Finals,” Madden explained. “I do plan on taking him and so in the first day, even in the 1.45m, I went a little fast with him, and then I had the WEF [Challenge Cup] and today, so I wanted him to jump enough rounds in the week that I’m sure he’s fit enough. And I’m really happy with that. I think he could have jumped another round or two tonight. This is his last prep before the World Cup, so I think we’re good to go.”

With a rail in 37.41 seconds, the number 10-ranked rider in the world, Lorenzo de Luca (ITA) and Ensor de Litrange LXII, owned by Stephex Stables, slotted into fifth place.

Last into the jump-off were Bluman and Ladriano Z. With a huge stride and neat turns, they galloped easily over the jumps and came home in a time of 37.41 seconds for the win.

“Today he felt spectacular,” said Bluman. “[In the first round] he jumped flawless and then the warm-up for the jump-off was as good as I could have a warm-up for him. Then I got to see Beezie and Karen go, and Lorenzo. I sort of had my plan in my head and 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.”

The pair were the five-star grand prix winners during week 5 of WEF in 2018, and they also took the top spot in the four-star grand prix at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. When quarantine complications changed Bluman’s competition plan for his top horse, he decided to enter into this week’s show.

“I wasn’t actually supposed to show him this week, but I found out about quarantine restrictions for Mexico and then to go to Europe,” he confirmed, “so at the end I said, ‘If I’m not going to go to Mexico, then maybe we can jump one more five-star week here.”

Bluman’s cousin Ilan started Ladriano Z in FEI competition at the 2016 WEF, and he took over the ride the following year. The pair have had ten top-five finishes in FEI ranking classes, including their two major wins in 2018.

“I’m just sort of trying to be a better rider for him and get him more rideable and just figure out how to put him in the right spot because if I put him in the right spot, the horse is going to make the jump,” he said. “He’s a phenomenal horse. They don’t get any better than him. I have to get better so we can continue to win classes like this.”

Don Langdon, Managing Broker, Florida for Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said, “It’s just a great joy for all of us to watch these horses and riders compete. As a spectator, we were at the edge of our seats. We’re very happy and we’re very proud to be part of everything here at WEF. It means a lot for us to come out and support all of the riders.”

Bluman and Ladriano Z were presented with the Herman “Kappy” Kaplan Perpetual Memorial Trophy, and Ladriano Z’s owner received a two-night stay at the Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach and a bottle of Banfi Principessa Gavi courtesy of Banfi Vintners.

Final Results: $391,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI 5*

1 LADRIANO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Over the Top Stables LLC: 0/0/37.41

2 SARI: 2008 Selle Francais mare by Ninio de Rox x Timorrak des Isles
KAREN POLLE (JPN), Kinoshita Group: 0/0/37.58

3 BREITLING LS: 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Quintero x Accord II
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/37.76

4 CARLCHEN W: 2008 Mecklenberg gelding by Chacco-Blue x Continue
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Page Tredennick: 0/4/37.09

5 ENSOR DE LITRANGE LXII: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Nabab de Reve x Mr. Blue
LORENZO DE LUCA (ITA), Stephex Stables: 0/4/37.41

6 VICTER FINN DH Z: 2008 BWP gelding by Va Vite x Stakkato
EUGENIO GARZA PEREZ (MEX), El Milagro: 1/82.61

7 ALEJANDRO: 2009 Rheinländer gelding by Acorado’s Ass x Contanga
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Seabrook, SpyCoast Farm and Sweet Oak Farm: 4/77.38

8 EMMERTON: 2009 KWPN gelding by Silvio I
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington: 4/78.75

9 LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Dezi x Grandeur
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables LLC: 4/78.89

10 HESTER: 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Wandor Van De Mispelaere x Palestro
LUCY DESLAURIERS (USA), Lisa Deslauriers: 4/79.10