Catherine Tyree Rides Bokai to Victory in $50K CSIO5* Suncast® Grand Prix Qualifier at Palm Beach Masters

Catherine Tyree (USA) rode Bokai to the win over a 35-horse field in the $50,000 CSIO5* Suncast® Grand Prix Qualifier, outpacing two of show jumping’s superstars in a three-horse jump-off.Todd Minikus (USA) placed second on Chaventyno and four-time Olympic veteran and reigning Longines FEI World Cup™ Final Champions Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS finished third.

Catherine Tyree (USA) and Bokai. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

“Going first, I knew I had Beezie and Todd behind me, and both are very fast. So, I thought I would give it a good shot. I knew there were only three for the jump-off, and I was guaranteed a top three finish no matter what, so I really wanted to use that to my advantage and gain experience going fast at this level. I’m finally getting comfortable at that,” said Tyree. “I was really happy with my horse and how everything played out. He was really great in the jump-off. He fought for me, and I really appreciate it when he does that.”

Minikus, however, did not appreciate it. He also was clear over the Alan Wade-designed jump-off course but crossed the Longines timers a little too late. He finished the shortened track in 41.74 seconds, just behind Tyree’s 40.60.

“He didn’t turn very well after the oxer, so I got carried wide at the vertical. That was probably where I couldn’t catch Catherine,” said Minikus. “These girls look like they’re very nice girls, but they’re not. They were supposed to play ‘old guy wins’ this week, but so far they’re not doing that.”

Madden and Breitling LS had eight faults in the jump-off. However, she was not disappointed with their performance.

“Right now, my plan is to use Breitling in the [CSIO5* Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ USA] on Sunday, so I didn’t want to put the pedal to the metal too much. I just wanted to give him a nice round again,” said Madden. “I felt his first round was good, but he hasn’t showed a lot lately, so I wanted to give him one more lap around and make sure he was confident and paying attention. I was happy with the way my jump-off went, and hopefully it will be a good result on Sunday.”

Tyree competed at the Palm Beach Masters Series® two years ago, and she is happy to be back at Deeridge Farms. “The Jacobs family has been involved with the sport for so long, and it’s really something special that they plan this as their way to give back to all of us,” said Tyree. “They put on a great event, and I feel very lucky that we have it as an option, and every time that I have been here, it’s been nothing but great and run very well, so I’m very happy to be here.”

Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Donatello won the $10,000 CSIO5* CP Welcome Stake. Photo by Kathy Russell Photography

In the morning, the $10,000 CSIO5* CP Welcome Stake was won by Ashlee Bond (ISR) and Donatello, who finished the speed track in a class-best time of 55.25 seconds. Second went to Colombia’s Roberto Teran Tafur riding Dena-Sienne in 56.46 seconds, and third was U.S. Olympic veteran Margie Engle on USA Normande, who finished in 57.15 seconds. Bond went late in the lineup, but she was unaffected by the strategy of the other riders and stuck to her original plan.

“I did not change my strategy,” said Bond. “I’m on a young horse; he’s just coming eight. I know him very well; I’ve had him since he was six. I just kind of go out there and do my own plan, and if I win, great, but I just kind of feel that I have to stick to what is comfortable for me. That’s what I did and today, and it worked out!”