Del Mar, CA – The FEI CSI2* $35,000 1.45m Gold Tour Speed Stake welcomed forty-eight horse and rider combinations on the grass Grand Prix Field at the Showpark Racing Festival. Riding for Little Valley Farms, Ashlee Bond masterfully piloted Donatello 141 to a victory. Bond galloped in seventeenth in the order, edged out the leading time held by Eduardo Menezes, and could not be caught by the following 41 entries.
Eight horse and rider combinations went clear over Ivan Tagle’s track, which included three combinations, a fan oxer, and many related bending lines. Menezes and E2 Stables’ Dimitri were fault-free in a seemingly unbeatable time of 76.29 seconds. Bond, however, executed tidy turns and a smooth track, to finish over a full second faster in 75.07. Thrity-third to go, Shawn Casady and Cicomein VDL slipped into second place, clean in 76.12.
Donatello’s scope, speed, and confidence is outstanding, especially considering his young age. “I usually wouldn’t push a seven-year-old into these types of classes, but he just feels so confident and ready. Every time I’ve asked him to step up, he’s done it with ease and today was no different,” explained Bond. “I definitely wasn’t planning on going fast and taking the win. I really can’t believe I just won that class.”
Looking into this talented Westphalian gelding’s future, Bond plans to keep him at this level for the rest of the season and then aim for ‘the million’at HITS Coachella next March. “I have high hopes for him and think he will be able to do the World Cup Finals in 2020,” she said. “So I just want to make sure he maintains this level of confidence.”
Still to come at the Showpark Racing Festival is a USHJA National Hunter Derby on Friday and the FEI CSI 2* Gold Tour Grand Prix on Saturday.
Photos by Captured Moment Photography