Wellington, Florida, USA – March 12, 2021 – McLain Ward (USA) and Catoki owned by Marilla van Beuren, Bob Russell, and McLain Ward (USA), flew to their second victory of the week in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m Classic CSI 5* on Friday, March 12, in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) as competition continues as part of WEF 9, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®.
Topping a field of 53 in the starting order over a speed track set by Alan Wade (IRL), Ward and Catoki, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Catoki x Cartello B), left all the jumps up to fly across the finish line in 52.33 seconds, nearly three seconds faster than the runner-up.
Erynn Ballard (CAN) put forth a speedy effort in an attempt to catch the winning time, coming close for a second-place finish aboard Ronja, a 10-year-old Swiss Warmblood mare (Conteur x Czandor) owned by Ilan Ferder. The pair stopped the clock in an impressive 55.50 seconds.
Rounding out the top three was Patricio Pasquel (MEX) with his own mare Yoga Santa Rosa with a time of 55.87 seconds.
Ward and Catoki had already topped the podium during week nine, with victory in the $37,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m CSI 5* on Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s been incredible here this year,” said Ward of his winning mount. “He felt great on Wednesday, so I knew he was in good form for today. He’s starting to know when the bell goes [what to do] a little bit in this ring, so it was a little bit out of control I thought. I was a little bit faster than I meant to be, but he’s such a careful horse, I got away with it.”
“We joke that in all of these classes, if you take a pull [on the reins] you’re eighth,” laughed Ward, referencing the quality of competition during this year’s winter circuit. “I had a plan and actually changed it to the second combination. I ended up doing seven strides instead of eight because I got just the right line on the jump before, and it worked out. He’s just such a quick horse that you’re just trying to slow down a little bit at the fence.”
The ninth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival continues with CSI 5* competition, along with a concurrent CSI 2*, until Sunday, March 14, and features the $50,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 2* on Saturday afternoon and the $401,000 Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix CSI 5* as part of “Saturday Night Lights,” with a special opening ceremonies which includes the induction ceremony for Olympic gold and silver medalist Leslie Howard and Olympic judge and long-time FEI Steward General David Distler into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame. The week concludes with the $73,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI 5* on Sunday. Feature classes are available free live and on-demand on the livestream.
Final Results – $37,000 Bainbridge Classic CSI 5*
1) Mclain Ward (USA) & Catoki – 0 / 52.33
2) Erynn Ballard (CAN) & Ronja – 0 / 55.5
3) Patricio Pasquel (MEX) & Yoga Santa Rosa – 0 / 55.87
Source: Press release by Kate Pettersen, Sabrina Brashares and Summer Grace / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot