The Grand Prix Ring at HITS Thermal was set with 15 jumping efforts for 42 horses yesterday, and the outcome came down to fractions of a second. In an electrifying jump-off, Hidden Hills’ Ashlee Bond and her own Cadett 7 delivered the necessary speed and claimed victory in the $33,000 HITS Desert Classic, presented by Zoetis.
Course designer Florencio Hernandez of Mexico City, Mexico had 14 advance to the jump-off and 10 go double clear, but it was Bond and Cadett who sent sparks flying with their blazing pace and a final time of 43.33 seconds. “That’s Cadett doing what he’s really talented at; being able to run fast and leave the jumps up,” Bond said immediately following the class. “I can just pick up a nice gallop, and off he goes! He turns decently well, and he loves his job.”
Both Olympian Will Simpson of Westlake Village, California riding Monarch International’s Acorina and Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes on his own Caruschka gave Bond a run for the prize money - Simpson was second in 43.45 seconds and Menezes third in 43.86 seconds.
“She’s had a real attitude change. Now she wants to do it,” Simpson said of Acorina. When Monarch purchased the then 11-year-old mare last year she had yet to compete in a grand prix. “We got her from Rich Fellers. He was riding her in the meter-thirties. She’s getting better and better with every class. We’re looking forward to a great year with her,” Simpson, a 2008 U.S. Olympic team gold medalist added. During Desert Circuit I, the pair came in 10th in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix presented by Zoetis and won a Level 7 jumper class.
Menezes, who won the Desert Circuit’s first high-performance contest with Caruschka two weeks ago, was sanguine about their third placing on Thursday. “You do the best you can with your horse, and sometimes that’s first, and sometimes it’s third,” he said.
The Great American Time to Beat was initially set by the first pair out, Germany’s Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Octavia Farms, LLC’s Malou, clocking in a clear round in 46.12 seconds - a pace that held for three rounds, until Bond blew the lid off it. Ultimately, Michaels-Beerbaum settled for ninth with Malou and bested herself on Windward Farm’s Unbelievable, in sixth. Her student, Saer Coulter of Stanford, California, placed fourth on Copernicus Stables’ Graciella 50. Mexico’s Simon Nizri rode Cherla LS, owned by Club Hipico La Silla’s, to fifth.
The $33,000 Desert Classic was a qualifier for the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini Newport Beach, taking place March 17.
This photo has been added to your cart !Your shopping cart »