Some people hope for chocolates on Valentines Day. Or flowers. Catherine Tyree (USA) gifted herself a $16,500 paycheck.
Riding veteran partner Bokai, Tyree topped a 35-horse field in the $50,000 CSIO5* Suncast® Grand Prix Qualifier at the Palm Beach Masters in Wellington, FL.
One of only three to qualify for the jump-off, Tyree and her “fire-breathing puppy dragon” bested three-time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden (USA) and show jumping maverick Todd Minikus (USA) with a double clear in 40.60 seconds.
“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, who also won last week’s CSI2* in Wellington with BEC Lorenzo.
“I was really happy with [Bokai] and how everything played out,” continued 25-year-old rider. “He was really great in the jump-off. He fought for me, and I really appreciate it when he does that.”
Decidedly less appreciative was Minikus. He also posted a clear over the Alan Wade-designed jump-off course but crossed the Longines timers a second too late (41.74 seconds).
“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 to finish third.