The youngest kid in the neighborhood raced past all the big kids on Saturday night at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. With Ashlee Bond in the irons, it was 8-year-old Donatello who bested a field of 37 starters to earn the champion trophy, the Longines watch, and valuable points towards qualifying for the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I was speechless,” said Bond in a post-event press conference. “He’s really a super star.” Bond has had the bay Westphalian gelding since he was six years old, and she said that he’s one of those horses who just seems to understand the sport and his job.
“I’ve never had one be so easy at this level so it’s really nice,” said Bond. After the Del Mar win, Bond moved up to second place in the standings of the FEI North American Western Sub-League.
The Alan Wade-designed course proved quite challenging, with only five clear rounds advancing to the jump off. “[Alan] builds to the world standard and I think we proved we have enough riders here who can handle that,” said Bond.
The Del Mar event was the 5th out of 14 North American League qualifying events, which will culminate in the finals in Las Vegas April 15-19, 2020.