Top Canadian is Erynn Ballard with Fellini S in fourth spot.
Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Ereina produced the only double clear performanceto edge two U.S. Olympic veterans and win the $72,000 CSIO5* NetJets Classic at the CSIO5* CP Palm Beach Masters Presented by Suncast. Bond’s win was her second of the weekend at Wellington, Florida’s picturesque Deeridge Farms, as she also took the top prize in Thursday’s $10,000 CSIO5* CP Welcome Stake.
Bond was the first to go in a five-horse jump-off over the 1.55m Alan Wade-designed course, and she jumped clear in 42.32 seconds. Bond said she might have left the door open for the four riders following her, but she explained that she no longer worries about who’s going after her; she just sticks to her plan.
“Lately, my strategy has been to do whatever I feel is right for me and my horse. I might not win as much, but I have been a lot more consistent,” said Bond. “I no longer think about who is coming after me. It’s a new concept for me, and today it worked out.
“I had a really good rub, and it stayed in the cups,” she added. “Sometimes, you get lucky. It just happened to be my day. I am really proud of my horse. This is the biggest class she has ever done. I couldn’t have asked for more from her.”
Four-time Olympic veteran McLain Ward (USA), the 2017 Longines FEI World Cup Champion, had the fastest four-fault round in the jump-off to claim second place with Tradition De La Roque. Ward thought he had a chance to take over the top spot, but things did not work out as planned.
“My plan was to beat Ashlee,” said Ward with a smile. “I got to see a little bit of Ashlee’s round. I thought it looked neat and fast, but not crazy. She went a little wide from (fences) one to two. The mare I have is quite fast, but I also knew that the long run to the double was a little bit of a bogie for her. I tried to set it up well, but it didn’t come off. I was thrilled with the horse, but it was not our day.”
Even though Lauren Hough had a rail down with Paloma for a third-place finish, the U.S. Olympic veteran still had a good day. She enjoyed a win in the morning’s $20,000 CSIO5* Palm Beach Masters Speed Tour class on Joblesse. The pair sped to the winner’s circle out of the field of 31 in a time of 54.33 seconds. Lorenzo De Luca (ITA) was second on Cheindira in 54.58 seconds, and third place went to Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Artillero in a time of 55.04 seconds.
“It’s always a thrill to win at such a beautiful horse show,” said Hough. “Joblesse is a mare that I just recently got back. I knew it was a quick class, but my mare is naturally very, very fast, so I went at her speed, and it worked out.”
The second of the three events in this year’s Palm Beach Master Series® culminates Sunday, Feb. 17, with the $230,000 CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America, the only qualifier in the U.S. for the 2019 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final in Barcelona, Spain, next fall.