Tag Archives: Ashlee Bond

Ashlee Bond & Contefina LVF Begin New Turf Tour Grand Prix Winning Streak

Ashlee Bond and Contefina LVF.

Wellington, FL (March 1, 2021) – As the final February Turf Tour wrapped up on Friday at Polo West, the battle of the speed agents entered a new chapter, with California’s Ashlee Bond delivering her second consecutive win in the $15,000 1.40m Ridge at Wellington Turf Tour Grand Prix. Bond and an international group of some of the world’s best show jumpers have been vying for supremacy in the series. Last week at Black Watch Farm, Bond and Semilly SF won the 1.40m, edging out Darragh Kenny and ending his 3-week winning streak. During Turf Tour 8, Dutch Olympian Harrie Smolders, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, Ireland’s Jordan Coyle, and the USA’s Kim Farlinger thew their hats into the arena, challenging Bond and Kenny and promising even more exciting competition on Wellington’s most unique show circuit.

A tight race in week 8’s Turf Tour Grand Prix saw less than a second separating the top three spots. Ashlee Bond and her homebred mare, Contefina LVF (Contefino 2 x Southern Girl) delivered some serious girl power to Friday’s Grand Prix, blazing around the course in 32.421 seconds. Harrie Smolders and Calina (CI CI Senjor Ask x Carmelicius) were less than a tenth of a second behind her, going double clear in 32.495. Jordan Coyle and Centriko Volo galloped to third on 32.620 seconds. Nayel Nassar, Kim Farlinger, and Darragh Kenny rounded out the top 6, all with fast, double clear efforts over the course designed by Catsy Cruz.

Friday morning’s $3,000 1.30m Speed Stake was won by another international show jumper, Australia’s Riley Mackillop and Ha’czelle JSF (a.k.a. Hazel). Another great option for riders on the Turf Tour, the Speed Stake hones valuable “against the clock” skills and offers a great way to win extra prize money each week. “Hazel has been jumping really nicely and she was really well suited to the course today [in the 1.30m Speed Stake],” said Mackillop. “She loves jumping on the grass which makes the Turf Tour a great opportunity for us. Being able to come and jump around super courses on beautiful fields against top riders each week is really special.”

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Bond Breaks Kenny’s Grand Prix Win Streak

Ashlee Bond and Semilly F (Norah McCutcheon Photography/Jaqueline Porcaro Photo Group)

Wellington, FL (February 21, 2021) – Ashlee Bond’s super speedy and scopey Semilly F (a.k.a. Squishy) ended a nearly four week long winning streak by Ireland’s Darragh Kenny on Friday at Black Watch Farm. Bond broke Kenny’s 3 consecutive Turf Tour Grand Prix winning streak, while the Irish rider took second and third place in the $15,000 1.40 class. Kenny has also won the past two $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classics, and Bond is no stranger to victory on the Turf Tour herself, although this was her first win with the CDE (Copyright C x Brisa de Ibio) mare. Turf Tour 7’s competition wrapped up on Friday with nearly 53 entries in the day’s highlight Grand Prix, set on the stunning polo field at Black Watch Farm.

Brief showers punctuated brilliant sunshine and 80-degree temperatures. The spectacular footing and beautiful bougainvillea blooms were highlights of Black Watch’s spacious polo field, which was divided into two rings for the week’s competition. Bond and Semilly F put in a late in the day ride to overcome Kenny’s two top standings with Cicomein VDL and GK Casper. Semilly F raced around the course designed by Leopoldo Palacios to deliver a 33.008 jump-off time, nearly 2 seconds faster than Kenny’s time set earlier in the day. Kenny first jumped GK Casper (Canto 16 x Uleika) in the rain to a time of 37.034 seconds, only to be quickly overtaken by his Wednesday Rising Star Classic champion, Cicomein VDL (Chacco Blue x Pomein) on 35.226.

“I love how you can go to a show at a different location weekly, and compete in different arenas,” said Bond of her Turf Tour experience. “The beautiful and relaxed environment and multiple venue options is really important and beneficial to both horses and riders. It’s great for the horses’ minds, to ride with less pressure and in various locations. A training environment is not something you see often in a show, like you do in Europe, and it’s great to have such a series here in Wellington.”

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For more info, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Hunter Professionals Shine on Day Two of WCHR Week at WEF

Scott Stewart and Catch Me © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – February 18, 2021 – The first hunter champions of the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition were awarded on Thursday, February 18, at the sixth week of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). More than 20 championships were presented in the professional hunter divisions, with top finishers qualifying for Saturday night’s $50,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular, the highlight hunter event of the season.

The High Performance Hunters, sponsored by Antarès Sellier France, came to an end in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring on Thursday morning. Scott Stewart, of Wellington, FL, piloted Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Catch Me to the championship.

Stewart and Catch Me took home a blue ribbon in every over fences class and were third in the under saddle to earn the tricolor ribbon. The reserve champion title went to Jennifer Hannan, of Wakefield, RI, and her own Olympic Fire. The pair earned two seconds and two eighth place ribbons in the division.

Evan Coluccio, of Marshall, VA, claimed both champion and reserve in the High Performance Conformation Hunters. Coluccio rode The Lignelli Family’s Philadelphia Story, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding, to top honors with two firsts, a second, and a third place ribbon. Balmoral’s Pritchard Hill earned reserve champion with a first, second, two thirds, and sixth place ribbons.

Ashlee Bond and Imagine Save the Best for Last in the $6,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers CSI3*

On the grass Derby Field at Equestrian Village, Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Imagine, owned by Aurora Farms and Little Valley Farms, captured the Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers CSI3* to open FEI competition during Week 6 of WEF.

A total of 40 entries contested the two-phase track set by Catsy Cruz (MEX), which featured nine jumping efforts in the first phase, moving over to an additional six efforts in the second phase. With 15 passing the initial test, it was the best for last on the day as Bond and the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Emerald x Heartbreaker jumped double clear and posted the fastest time of 26.24 seconds.

“We got her when she was five,” said Bond. “It was a partnership horse for a while, but we bought them out at the beginning of last year because we really felt like she was something special and really suited me. I know her really well, and she’s just one of those horses that is so naturally careful. She doesn’t really know what she can or can’t do.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Bond Brings Grand Prix Winning Streak to Turf Tour 9

Ashlee Bond and Semilly F (Photo by Romeo Ghete)

Wellington, FL (March 10, 2020) – Ashlee Bond’s 1-2 finish in Friday’s $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix was just a taste of excellence to be put forth by the Israeli rider during week 9. Making the most of the Turf Tour’s exceptional grass field set at To-Kalon Farm March 4-6, Bond bounded to first and second aboard Semilly F and Imagine, before going on to win the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix CSI 5* on Saturday night with Donatello. Designed as a show for all levels of equestrians, the Turf Tour’s utopian atmosphere and gorgeous venues make it an ideal place to train, progress, and develop horse and rider relationships to their maximum potential.

“I love how you can go show at a different location weekly [on the Turf Tour] and go into different arenas in a beautiful and relaxed environment,” said Bond. “I think it’s really important to have shows like this as it is super beneficial for horses and riders to get in the ring without pressure. It’s also good for their minds. Training in a show environment is not something you get to do often enough like in Europe and I think it’s so important.”

Bond’s winning streak began during Turf Tour 8 @ Black Watch Farm, where she was victorious in that week’s $15,000 Turf Tour Grand Prix with Ace of Hearts. Going on to victory in Turf Tour 9’s Grand Prix, she finished on a jump off time of 37.004 with Semilly F. Aboard Imagine, a mare she began riding as a 6-year-old, the pair made their 1.40m show debut on Friday with a double clear and second place effort in a time less than a second behind Semilly F’s: 37.057 seconds. Third went to Irishman Riley Mackillop and Amigo, coming home in the jump-off on a time of 37.687, while fourth went to the USA’s Lauren Hough and Gemino, putting in a double clear and jump off time of 39.475.

Turf Tour 9’s courses at beautiful To-Kalon Farm, referred to as Wellington’s Napa Valley, were set by Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios, and featured a number of tests for both horse and rider. In the Grand Prix’s design, a triple bar followed immediately by two one-stride verticals tested the ability to collect and jump quickly after a wide-spanning oxer. Another challenge was a zig zag line featuring the Prestige Italia vertical, oxer to vertical double, and the bicycle skinny, a test of agility and athleticism. And finally, the last oxer in both the first round and the jump off was just a few inches wider than the other oxers in the field, requiring muscle memory override.

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For full schedules and prizelists, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Ashlee Bond Wins $401k Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5* at WEF

Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – March 7, 2020 – Ashlee Bond (ISR) recorded her first career five-star grand prix victory with Donatello 141 in the $401,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate Grand Prix CSI5*, on Saturday, March 7, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

Forty riders went to post 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 out of the first spot in the jump-off, Bond and Donatello 141 rocketed through the course in 39.64 seconds to set the winning pace.

Following Bond, 23-year-old Lillie Keenan (USA) piloted Fasther through the short course, stopping the timers in 40.61 seconds. They would finish in third place. Beezie Madden (USA) and Abigail Wexner’s Darry Lou put on the speed from the start, but an unfortunate rail for four faults in a time of 39.97 seconds relegated them to fourth place.

Riding out of the final spot in the jump-off, fellow Israeli rider Daniel Bluman and Ladriano Z finished just off the pace in 39.96 seconds to settle for second place.

For Bond, the ability to say she is now a five-star grand prix winner isn’t taken lightly. She said, “The feeling is surreal. It hasn’t really hit me, the emotions of tonight. Not only was it my first five-star grand prix win here, but it was my first five-star grand prix win ever. I’ve gone clear in a few, but winning it was not there yet.”

Havens Schatt and Anneliese Kolaska Ride to Top Honors in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Hunter competition continued at the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Saturday with the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Ninety-one professional, amateur, and junior riders took their turn on the grass field hoping to earn the blue ribbon. The class was split into two sections, one for 48 professionals and a second for the 43 junior/amateur riders. Havens Schatt rode Highlander to victory in the professional division, while Anneliese Kolaska rode Herr Drosselmeyer to the top of the junior/amateur section.

Schatt, of Georgetown, KY, returned to the handy with a first round score of 92.5, which put her in third place. After scoring a 93 in the handy, Schatt and Highlander rose to the top of the leaderboard with a total score of 185.5.

Kolaska returned to the handy round in third place with a first round score of 87. Kolaska and her horse Herr Drosselmeyer earned a high score of 90 in the second round for a total score of 177.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ashlee Bond Adds New Blood to Turf Tour Grand Prix

Ashlee Bond and Ace of Hearts (Photo by Romeo Ghete)

Wellington, FL (March 3, 2020) – The final week of February brought cool weather and great competition on the grass to Black Watch Farm. The Ridge at Wellington’s Turf Tour Week 8 saw debutant attendees and show regulars in the winner’s circle, while attendees enjoyed complimentary mini Moët & Chandons, hospitality, and superb turf footing for all levels of show jumping. Turf Tour Week 9 continues at To-Kalon Farm March 4-6, with a complimentary, open to the public wine tasting courtesy of To-Kalon’s owner Jeremy Nickel, magnums of wine for select class winners, and all the atmosphere and competition the Turf Tour is known for.

A field of 26 riders faced off on Friday for the $15,000 1.40m Turf Tour Grand Prix over a course designed by Mexico’s Oscar Soberon. Israel’s Ashlee Bond logged her first Turf Tour Grand Prix victory aboard Ace of Hearts with a jump off time of 32.315. Jordan Coyle and Stella Manship’s Chuckles finished second on 33.983, with Sloan Coles and Coldplay in third with a time of 35.510. The competition included some of the world’s top ranked riders, including Daniel Bluman and Lauren Hough. Bond, who also finished fifth aboard Donatello, rode for the first time at the 2020 Turf Tour during week 7 and stated that the show’s unique venues and training atmosphere was a huge boon for riders: “I love how you can go show at a different location weekly [on the Turf Tour] and go into different arenas in a beautiful and relaxed environment,” said Bond. “I think it’s really important to have shows like this as it is super beneficial for horses and riders to get in the ring without pressure. It’s also good for their minds. Training in a show environment is not something you get to do often enough like in Europe and I think it’s so important.”

An inclement weather forecast on Wednesday prompted a schedule change to hold February 26th’s classes on the 27th. Thursday’s chilly temperatures and abundant sunshine set the stage for Stella Manship to claim another win on the Turf Tour. The winner of week 7’s Turf Tour Grand Prix aboard Quarto Mail, Manship once again galloped to victory with the bay gelding at Black Watch’s $5,000 1.30m Rising Star Classic. Riding against a competitive field, Manship and Quarto Mail turned on the nitrous in the jump-off to finish on a time of 34.703. Her colleague Jordan Coyle rode Warnike to second in 35.681, and the speedy Kyla Makhloghi and Hurry Up B took third with 37.909.

For full results, visit www.HorseShowing.com.

For full schedules and prizelists, visit www.RidgeShowJumping.com.

Bond Records Brilliant Longines Victory in Del Mar

Ashlee Bond and Donatello. (FEI/JXB Photography)

Heading into a five-horse jump-off, Ashlee Bond (ISR) didn’t get to watch the riders ahead of her before entering the ring aboard 8-year-old Donatello.

“My mentality these days is just to go do what I feel is right for me and my horse in the moment,” she said. “Tonight, I just felt a little bit more confident.”

Bond executed her plan to perfection, galloping home to a dominant victory in the $100,000 CSI3*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Del Mar (USA). She and her partner of more than two years crossed the timers of Alan Wade’s (IRL) shortened course in 38.82 seconds. Nikolaj Hein Ruus (DEN) and Cadillac claimed second as the only other double-clear performers on the night, finishing in 43.27 seconds. Keri Potter (USA) and Ariell la Sirene finished third in the mare’s World Cup debut; they finished with 4 faults in 44.58 seconds.

“I’m a little speechless. [Donatello] is really a superstar.” — Ashlee Bond (ISR)

“Donnie” was making just his second World Cup appearance in Del Mar after debuting at the level in the North American League’s season opener at Vancouver. The quick win reaffirmed Bond’s belief in the gelding, for whom she has both World Cup and Olympic aspirations.

“As a 7-year-old, he really developed quickly,” Bond explained. “Then this year, everything I ask of him — it might take him a round or two to figure it out, but once he does, he logs it into his computer, and then he makes my job easy.”

Karl Cook (USA), who won in World Cup competition at Sacramento just two weeks ago, notched his third top five finish this season to maintain his strong lead in the west coast sub league standings of the North American League. He boasts 49 points. Bond moved into second place in the standings with 31 points, while Zazou Hoffman sits third with 26 points.

“Today, [Donatello] just proved that we’re on the right trajectory,” Bond said.

The North American League continues in Washington, D.C. (USA) on Saturday, 26 October 2019.

FULL RESULTS

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141 Win $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome CSIO4*

Ashlee Bond and Donatello 141. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL — February 27, 2019 — The eighth week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off on Wednesday, February 27, with a victory for Israel’s Ashlee Bond in the first international event of the week, the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome CSIO4*, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. In the second section of the $5,000 Lugano Diamonds Welcome CSIO4*, Roberto Teran (COL) and Dena-Sienne took the win under the lights.

Bond took the early lead in the class, entering as the third rider into the ring and holding the top position right through to the end. Fifty-eight other horse-and-rider combinations also took the field, but none were able to contest Bond’s speed and agility with Little Valley Farms’ Donatello 141.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Ashlee Bond and Chela LS Claim Big Longines Win in Thermal

Ashlee Bond (USA) and Chela LS. (FEI/Kristin Lee)

Thermal, California, USA, 12 February 2017 – Against a picturesque, California desert backdrop, the USA’s Ashlee Bond and Chela LS marked their official comeback to the top of world-class sport, claiming the victory with the only double clear in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Thermal.

And while the slowly setting sun created the perfect golden haze for Bond’s return – from having her first child just four months ago – the challenging light could also be blamed for others’ course issues, including that of second-place finisher Audrey Coulter (USA) in the jump off. Shadows at the Longines oxer caused a miscommunication between Coulter and her horse Alex, forcing the fence down. The pair ended on four faults and a time of 45.29 seconds. Third place went to Lane Clark (USA) and Balu U with eight faults and a time of 40.10 seconds.

A technical course, designed by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo, met the day’s competitors. The first to go in the order, Bond showed the way without dropping a rail. She did originally accrue a single time penalty but soon after, the time allowed was extended from 75 seconds to 79.

In the four-man jump off, Bond once again rode first and delivered a smooth round that could not be caught. The California native’s performances aboard the chestnut mare reminded the crowd of their storied, longstanding record that includes a $1 Million Grand Prix win and a win in FEI Nations Cup™ competition in 2014.

“Chela was off for a year and a half with a staph infection in her hocks and just started coming back last August with my dad,” said Bond. “We both came back at the same time – it just worked out that way, luckily.

“I had a conversation with my dad and Richard Spooner before the jump off, and they both thought I should put in a nice, smooth round. I haven’t done so many jump offs lately so I just approached it with picking up a nice rhythm and being smooth.”

Other top West Coast names missed the final round with unlucky rails that dropped throughout the course. Field favorites Christian Heineking (GER), Eric Navet (FRA), and Jamie Barge (USA) earned four faults apiece. But arguably the most heartbreaking first round came from Mexico’s Daniel Pedraza, who missed advancing to the jump off by 1/100th of a second.

Nayel Nassar (EGY) continues to hold the lead in the Western Sub-League standings. In the Eastern Sub-League, Kent Farrington (USA) is in the first position. The final event for the Eastern Sub-League will take place in Ocala, Florida on 12 March 2017.

Full results: http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2017/1289/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_725.html

Quotes:

Marina Azevedo (Course Designer): “It’s always challenging to build for this group. It’s hard to build a qualifier for World Cup because we have rules to follow and always I try to be nice, but little bit strong and like the riders to learn a little bit when they jump my course so this is how I try to build the courses on the field.

“The World Cup, the riders thought were tough more than today. The problem I think, I like to prepare the horses to arrive today to ride better. I had today very high in spread fences. The line was not very complicated but I think just a month before the World Cup, you have to prepare the horses to arrive at the top level. I think my job is to arrive at the big competition at the best level. I think you have a good track and spread and height and different fences. We decided today to put more flowers to make the ring a little bit different so the horses jump a little bit different.”

Ashlee Bond (1st): “I’m very overwhelmed. I’m trying not to cry. It’s been a really long road with Chela. She’s been out for a year and a half, she’s almost died twice, she had a staph infection so to have her back is unbelievable. That’s probably why that’s so emotional – and having a baby four months ago, I’m feeling really out of shape and a little heavier than normal. Getting back in, I’ve been feeling really rusty up until actually yesterday I started to feel better. Then today, in the first round, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe I’m getting all the kinks out.’ So it’s just being in this field and being able to have a good day today was a really good feeling.

“I’m not really there yet to lay it down in a jump off so I had to go clear and go decently fast. I didn’t think I was going to win today. It worked out, it happens sometimes when you’re lucky but it was just building. I’m building. I’m getting my feet wet again.

“Having a baby puts everything into perspective. Show jumping was my entire life, and now it’s my daughter and my husband and my family and this is second. If anything, it takes a little bit of the pressure off. You realize what life is really about. Yes, this win means so much, but at the end of the day, if you have a rail but then you go home to your amazing family and it’s okay. I think in the end, it will help me to ride better, oddly enough. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m excited to have our daughter here. And hopefully by next year, she’ll be understanding this and it’ll be a joy if she wants to ride and do the ponies. I’m really looking forward to making it a family affair.”

Audrey Coulter (2nd): “My horse Alex is amazing. He is so dependable. He’s one you can bring anywhere, always goes in the ring, and tries his hardest to win and he did that today. He was so good.”

Lane Clark (3rd): “I have a great horse, Balu U. I’ve had him for about one year. He’s had one season of grand prix. He’s got some big things in his future. I really wanted to work on his jump off pace. I’ve only recently started going quick with him. I’ve only done a couple 1.60-meter with him. I just worry more about trying to leave out strides, try to worry about having it feel like a real jump off, and not worry too much about the results. I’m really happy with him.”

Full Standings for Western Sub-League: http://results.hippodata.de/2017/1289/docs/longines_fei_world_cup_nal_wsl_standings_after_thermal_2017.pdf

FEI YouTube

Don’t miss a hoofbeat! Watch it all LIVE on www.feitv.org.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping – check out the latest on www.fei.org.

Social media: #FEIWorldCupNAL #RidetoOmaha #FEIWorldCupFinals #TwoHearts #Longines @LonginesEq

By Esther Hahn

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Ashlee Bond Clarke and Chela LS Take Home Richest Prize in Show Jumping

©Flying Horse Photography. Ashlee Bond Clarke and Chela LS jumping to the top spot.

THERMAL, CA (March 16, 2014) – Ashlee Bond Clarke admits that she had to keep her nerves and her emotions in check when entering the ring for the jump-off of Sunday’s AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, presented by Lamborghini Newport Beach, at HITS Thermal. She was, however, a picture of poise and control to the crowd of 4,000 spectators that looked on as she topped a star-studded field to win the historic event with Little Valley Farms’ Chela LS.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” she said. “This was the biggest track I have ridden on this mare, but she comes out every day wanting to win. It’s been all about finding that partnership for us and I think we have found it.”

Bond Clarke purchased the coming-10 chestnut mare from Simon Nizri in July and won the first grand prix of the season at HITS Thermal seven weeks ago. From there, Bond Clarke has seen the highs and lows with her scopey, yet opinionated mount. “She was really strong during the first World Cup week here and it took some time for us to figure it out and get the bridle right. We have been in the ribbons consistently since then,” said Bond Clarke.

Sunday’s order was a ‘who’s who’ of international show jumping with horse and rider accolades littering the list. The original order consisted of 39 riders who showed over a course designed by Marina Azevedo of Sao Paolo, Brazil. Fourteen obstacles and 17 jumping efforts made up the track, which boasted tall verticals, wide oxers and a formidable triple combination.

The course was really well-built,” said Bond Clarke of Azevedo’s work. “It was big, technical and scopey, but not unfair. There were faults everywhere and that’s the mark of a great course.”

A crowd favorite and East Coast challenger, Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, New York clipped the ribbon on clear rounds and jumped Coral Reef Via Volo perfectly for owner Coral Reef Ranch. One trip later, fellow East Coast contender Todd Minikus piloted Quality Group’s Quality Girl to secure a jump-off. Six more followed their lead and set the stage for an eight-horse jump-off.

Madden and Minikus both had a rail at the second-to-last fence of the shortened course – a tall vertical. East Coast hopes were not forsaken, however, as Kirsten Coe of Royal Palm Beach, Florida clocked a clear round in 46.86 seconds with Baronez, owned by Ilan Ferder, Lovsta Stuteri and Tal Milstein. “This course really suited my horse and my plan from the very beginning was to get a double clear and not try to ride faster than the speedsters behind me,” said Coe. “I just wanted to put some pressure and I did that – my horse performed great.”

The next clear round didn’t come until the last two trips of the jump-off when Nayel Nassar of Santa Clara, California and Bond Clarke gave the crowd a jump-off to remember. 2013 Zoetis Million victor and West Coast favorite, Nassar jumped his own Lordan to a clear round in 45.38 seconds with just Bond Clarke to follow. She put the speed of her big-strided mare to the test and crossed the timers in 41.16 seconds – more than three seconds faster than Nassar.

“Ashlee and I were joking about going one-two earlier in the week and if there’s anyone I don’t mind losing to, it’s her,” said Nassar who has jumped Lordan throughout the HITS Desert Circuit, but gave the gelding a break before the AIG Million. “I gave him the week off and didn’t even bring him to this part of the show grounds for about ten days, hoping the new jumps and the crowd would impress him today and they certainly did.”

A cross-country trip proved well worth the effort for Coe, Madden and Minikus as they took home their fair share of the prize money, rounding out the top five in third, fourth and fifth respectively.

After watching two West Coast riders jump to the top in Sunday’s money, HITS president and CEO Tom Struzzieri was pleased to see their efforts at HITS Thermal pay off. “To see the leading money winner of the circuit come out and win the big class was great,” he said. “It really validates this circuit – there were some pretty heavy hitters that came here from the east, but the West Coast stood their ground a produced great sport.”

Struzzieri said that the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping set out to do three things and it accomplished all of them today. “The sport was superb; we introduced show jumping to a lot of new fans and we satisfied one of the top equine sponsors in the world – AIG. I am really proud to be a part of it,” he concluded.

AIG, title sponsor of the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, was represented by Vice President David Hubbard, who is based in Los Angeles and made a day of it at HITS Thermal. “I feel like I am among friends when I come out to watch this sport,” he said.

Hubbard gave the unofficial nod after the class that AIG is interested in returning to be a part of the million-dollar event next year. “It’s a privilege to be associated with HITS, these riders and this sport in general,” he said. “We are looking forward to doing it all again next year.”

The AIG $1 Million Grand Prix put the final exclamation point on the 2014 HITS Desert Circuit and as the sea of spectators headed home and prize money checks went to the bank, thoughts turned to next weekend. The Great American $1 Million Grand Prix will debut at HITS Ocala as the second jewel of the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24. The million-dollar pilgrimage will now go east as riders, including Bond Clarke, set their sights on a chance to rewrite show jumping history.

About AIG
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading international insurance organization serving customers in more than 130 countries. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG offers successful individuals and families complete personal insurance solutions-including equine liability. Its Private Client Group safeguards homes, automobiles, excess liability, fine art, collectibles, yachts and more. Additionally, AIG meets the complete needs of equine owners by offering both farm and equine mortality coverage.

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

HITS, Inc. • 319 Main Street • Saugerties, NY 12477-1330
845.246.8833 Tel • Media_Info@HitsShows.comHitsShows.com