Wellington, Florida, USA – September 04, 2022 – The final day of competition at the ESP Labor Day Show boasted a day of top competition as riders from ten nations geared up for the highlight event, the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix. Representing Brazil, Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) flew through the timers with longtime partner Collin to win the class and lead the victory gallop.
“I’m very happy,” exclaimed Azevedo, who also won last week’s Grand Prix with HFG Quaman. “I was second a few weeks ago with HFG Quaman, and then I won with him, and now I’ve won with Collin. Collin and I have won a lot of classes together over the last ten years, and he’s a really special horse to me and my team. Today, he once again showed his qualities and abilities on the field.”
Held on the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village, the class showcased a diverse field of riders contesting the track, designed by Héctor Loyola (PUR). After the first round, the field was whittled down to just eight duos who were able to finish Loyola’s challenging grand prix course without any faults. Azevedo and Collin, owned by Santa Cecilia Stables, were second to test the jump-off and took a commanding lead in 43.28 seconds without dropping any rails. The rest of the pack chased down the frontrunners, but none could best their time, securing the win for Azevedo and Collin.
“I was second in the jump-off, and I knew there were a lot of good riders and fast horses behind me, so I took all the risks,” recalled Azevedo. “There was a line to a double that’s normally seven strides, and I did it in six. Then to the last jump I was quite fast. It all paid off.”
With their time of 44.66 seconds, Leslie Howard (USA) and Clip de La Haye Z, owned by Peter Howard and Laure Sudreau, clinched second place. In the irons aboard her own Vitus K, Sheer Levitin (USA) finished in a time of 45.25 seconds for third place.
Of competing at the summer shows in Wellington, Azevedo continued, “Last week I didn’t compete with Collin, but this week I decided to bring him out. I love being able to compete with my horses every week. That way, I can keep them going and in shape. Our next show is Kentucky, and this is great preparation for that.”
For the full results of the $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix, please click HERE.
Final Results – $25,000 Palm Beach Equine Clinic Grand Prix
1) Luiz Francisco de Azevedo (BRA) & Collin – 0 / 0 – 43.289
2) Leslie Howard (USA) & Clip La Haye Z – 0 / 0 – 44.666
3) Sheer Levitin (USA) & Vitus K – 0 / 0 – 45.255
Source: Press Release from ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Anne Gittins Photography