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Bond aces it

New mom wins grand prix with thrilling jump-off

Special to the Horsetrader - August 1st, 2017 - Show & Event News


Ace of Hearts win

Ashlee Bond celebrates the win with her husband Roy and daughter Scottie, along with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

capturedmomentphoto.com photo

DEL MAR — After laying down an unbeatable jump-off round in a speedy 36.65 seconds, Ashlee Bond clinched the win in the $25,000 Markel Insurance Grand Prix aboard Little Valley Farms’ Ace of Hearts. Third to go, Bond stopped the clock two seconds faster than the previous double clean. Tina Yates did ride ACE Equestrian’s Caesar faster than Bond, but with one heartbreak rail finished with four faults and fourth place.

Renowned course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela designed the grand prix track, which challenged riders over three double combinations plus a variety of technical questions. Eleven riders incurred time faults, three of whom would otherwise have been clear.

Bond had the right strategy for the first round.

“Timewise, I always plan like I’m riding a ‘Leopoldo course,'” she explained. “So when I am, we’re usually within the time, no problem.”

Palacios set a jump-off with two tight rollback turn options, one right after another. All six riders opted for the first rollback turn and the first three to return were double clear, each one faster than the next. Bond was the first to attempt the second inside turn, did it with ease, then maintained a strong gallop to claim her speedy time and the title.

About her winning track Bond said, “In the jump-off, I was just going to land and see where I was for the second inside turn. I landed and it was right there on the inside track.”

Bond and Ace of Hearts celebrated their victory without their usual ground man, her father, Steve. Far West Farms’ Kost Karazissis stepped in to support Bond from the ground today. Since she rode with the Karazissis family for the first 10 years of her career, the connection came naturally.

“Kosti knows me very well, and we’ve remained very close throughout the years,” she said. Bond called her dad on FaceTime, though, to share her glory.

For her win, Bond was presented with an embroidered SmartPak cooler and an engraved pewter plate. She is certain to be a fierce competitor in Sunday’s $30,000 Summer Festival Grand Prix.

Running concurrently was the $5,000 Interactive Mortgage Under 25 Series Qualifier. As the only rider to qualify for the jump-off, Delaney Flynn emerged victorious riding Grace Jacobsen’s Milan IV. Emma Waldfogel and Chandler Meadows both left all the jumps up, but picked up faults on the clock, finishing second and third respectively.

Flynn and Milan IV’s story is a unique one. Only a pair since right before the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit this year, the young rider brought the Holsteiner gelding along from the 1.10m division to the 1.30m division by the end of the eight-week circuit. Just over six months after their start, the duo are competing successfully at 1.40m. Earlier this summer, Flynn and Milan IV contributed to the USA’s Team Silver at the Junior Nations Cup in Canada.

“With this horse it feels a little more special than with any other grand prix that I’ve gone clear in, because I’ve put so much work into him,” Flynn said.

MORE ONLINE: Http://bit.ly/1708A_Blen


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