March 9—Wellington, Fla.
Ashlee Bond recorded her first career five-star grand prix victory riding Donatello 141 in the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* on March 7 at the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Forty riders started in the “Saturday Night Lights” feature, four of which found the path to a clear round to advance to the jump-off over a course designed by Alan Wade of Ireland. Riding first in the jump-off, Bond and Donatello 141 rocketed through the course in 39.64 seconds to set the winning pace.
“My horse felt like he really jumped the first round so beautifully, and he is a naturally really fast horse, but he does have a bit of a smaller stride,” Bond said. “[Donatello] lightly rubbed the first jump, and then I was like, ‘Oh OK, I can push it a bit more than I was originally planning to,’ and it worked out today.”
Bond comes from California but rides for Israel, as does the second-placed finisher, Daniel Bluman with Ladriano Z, who finished just off Bond’s pace in 39.96.
In third was 23-year-old Lillie Keenan, who piloted Chansonette Farm LLC’s Fasther through the short course, stopping the timers in 40.61 seconds. Beezie Madden and Darry Lou rounded out the top four with a rail down.
“I was really happy with how I rode the first round, and I was really upset with myself for how I rode the jump-off,” admitted Keenan. “My horse is the best horse I’ve ever ridden, and I’ve ridden a lot of special horses. He’s ridiculously talented, brave, and has all of the ability. In the jump-off, I should have gone faster and believed in it a bit more, but I couldn’t have been happier.”