Making their mark in the second five-star event of the circuit were Danielle Goldstein and Lizziemary, who topped the $391,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival.
There were 37 entries, and six were clear and moved on to the jump-off over a course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio.
First into the ring were Nayel Nassar and Evergate Stables LLC’s Lucifer V. They laid down an efficient trip with no faults in 39.91 seconds, which would hold up for third place. Following them were Emil Hallundbaek and his horse Chalisco, who came home in 40.02 seconds for fourth place.
Nassar hasn’t competed in a Saturday Night Lights event at WEF in two years, so a return to the podium was encouraging for the 28-year-old rider. “It means a ton,” he said. “It’s my first Grand Prix under the lights in a long time in Wellington. This horse is a bit of a newer ride for me, so I’m just really excited that it’s going so well at this level. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season, and I’m just really pleased with how he jumped tonight.”
Alex Granato and Page Tredennick’s Carlchen W went in the jump-off next and brought the leading time down to 39.51 seconds, which would finish in second place. Mario Deslauriers and Wishing Well Farm LLC’s Bardolina 2 were clear in 40.75 seconds, and they finished in fifth place.
Granato and Carlchen W, an 11-year-old Mecklenberg gelding, have had a streak of top finishes in the past year, including a win three weeks ago in a World Cup qualifier. “In the last year and a half, he’s exceeded all of my expectations,” said Granato of the horse he’s ridden for six years. “He’s come so far, and he’s done a lot for and with me now. He’s on form, and now he just keeps stepping up to the plate for me. I’m thrilled about it.”
Goldstein and Lizziemary galloped into the arena, and with a daring inside turn from the first to the second “WEF wall” jump, they continued on a scorching pace to stop the timers in 37.76 seconds.
Last in was Kent Farrington on his and RCG Farm’s Creedance. They were fast in 38.65 seconds, but a rail in the double combination left them in sixth place.
Goldstein and Lizziemary won this same Grand Prix during Week 7 of last year’s WEF, and it was a great return to the winner’s circle for the pair that competed for Israel at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018 last September.
“It’s amazing to win two years in a row,” she said. “It’s a hard feat to win one year, let alone two years in a row, so I’m shocked and amazed and happy.”
Goldstein was thrilled with the big win.
“It felt like a long time coming,” she said. “I jumped the last couple of big Grand Prix [classes] clear, and I would have one down in the jump-off, or I’d have one unlucky fault, and it felt like I was at the edge and we were really close. This is not ideal weather; it’s sticky and hot, and she was breathing heavy, but she managed to pull it all together. Even in the warm-up, I thought she may be a tad empty, but she went in there and tried her heart out. It was really amazing.”
Sponsor Palm Beach Equine Clinic serves as the official veterinarians of the Winter Equestrian Festival, providing hospital and on-site services.