Wellington, Florida, USA – September 05, 2021 – The ESP Labor Day horse show concluded with a second victory from the week going to Lebanon’s Jad Dana (LBN). Dana and After Eight, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, edged out the competition in the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix to capture the lead spot in the victory gallop. The partnership mastered two tracks designed by Oscar Soberón (USA) as the fastest of five double-clear duos.
“My trainer, Leslie Howard, usually rides her, but she just had hip replacement surgery, so I’ve been riding and showing her horses,” explained Dana. “I clicked the best with [After Eight]. She’s been on a clean streak lately. Every Grand Prix she has done so far, she’s been clear. We were really close last week and the week before, and today was our lucky day!
Having competed in the two previous Grand Prix competitions at Equestrian Village together, Dana (LBN) and the 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare are no strangers to the Derby Field, but this was their first performance to land them at the top of the leaderboard with a jump-off time of 44.72 seconds.
“I think the real sport is on the grass. The horses like it and I think this is one of the most beautiful venues to show at,” remarked Dana. “The courses [also] really suited her. She has a bit of a short stride and since the lines walked a bit tight, I didn’t have a ton of options. I just had a fixed plan, and tried to stick to it and she was right there for me today. My plan in the jump-off was simply to go really fast from beginning to end.”
Of the six other pairs that returned for the jump-off, Elin Uppling (SWE) and Salamandra Baloubina, owned by Caroline’s Kids LLC, were the second-fastest, clearing the jump-off in 45.46 seconds. Alberto Michan (ISR) represented the third nation on the podium with a clear jump-off time of 46.69 seconds to secure third place with his own entry, Firewall.
As a final remark, Dana concluded, “I would really like to thank Leslie because there’s absolutely no one like her. She has believed in me and given me every chance to succeed. I would also like to thank the owners, Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, for allowing me to ride her and giving me a chance to do what I love to do.”
The 2021 ESP Summer Series will continue at Equestrian Village with ESP September, which will take place from September 16-19, 2021. Only two more events follow, beginning with the ESP Florida State Fall and Region 3 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Championship and concluding with the Rita & Irish Flynn Memorial. The ESP Fall Series will start soon thereafter. To view the ESP Summer Series Prize List, please click here.
Final Results – $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix
1) Jad Dana (LBN) & After Eight – 0 / 0 – 44.725
2) Elin Uppling (SWE) & Salamandra Baloubina – 0 / 0 – 45.466
3) Alberto Michan (ISR) & Firewall – 0 / 0 – 46.693
Source: Press Release from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Anne Gittens Photography