Israel's Daniel Bluman left his mark on Major League Show Jumping Toronto in 2021 and is back with the same plan in mind. He and Gemma W (Luidam x Unaniem), an 11-year-old KWPN mare owned by Blue Star investments, were best in a seven-horse jump-off in Thursday's $137,700 CSI5* 1.55m Cabana Coast.
Not an easy pair to beat in any circumstances, Kent Farrington (USA) and Creedance (Lord Z x Notaris) took second, while Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run's Risen (Utopie x Indoctro) rounded out the podium in third.
"When you put her in a class like this one, she’s comfortable at this height. Gemma is a real competitor, I love her very much and she is a mare that is very special to me. With all of these shows that have these very fast jump-offs, you need to have a horse that can win them, and she can," Bluman said.
Lacey Gilbertson (USA) wasn't in it to win it with inside turns and flat-out gallops in the Greenhawk CSI5* 1.45m speed, but Byzance Mail had other plans. The mare's small stature and quickness across the ground was the ticket for a victory, giving Gilbertson her first CSI5* win to date.
She and the 11-year-old Selle Français mare (Iowa 960 x Carthago) owned by Seabrook LLC beat out 20 other starters while representing their MLSJ team, Spy Coast Spies. Their time was nearly three second faster than the second-place finisher.
"She's really little. Her stride is really small. But, she probably has the biggest heart of any animal I have ever had," Lacey Gilbertson said of Byzance Mail.
Tomas Yofre (ARG) and Eliante Z (Ermindo W x Namelus R) took the runner-up spot behind Gilbertson, while Hunter Holloway (USA) rounded out the top three riding Dana de Kerglenn (Mylord Carthago x Diamant de Semilly).